What do you need to know about THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS?

What’s happening with THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS 2021?
THE EX will take place from the 10th to the 12th of September 2021 and will be presented in partnership with MERIDA.

We’ll be back with a bang with everything you know and love about THE MERIDA EX, with a few new twists to keep it fresh. Those twists include around 5-6 new trails and some night enduro stages supported by Exposure Lights.

Entries to the 2021 event have all sold. No further entries are available at this point.

Can I sponsor THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS with my brand or business?
Yes, please! We’re looking for sponsors for 2021’s event right now and can offer some great opportunities to showcase your products.

Please contact us.

Where can I find results for THE MERIDA EX?
2019 results for THE MERIDA EX Enduro are online here.

What is the event postcode?
The postcode for THE MERIDA EX Enduro is TA24 8HL

How do I enter THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS?
The 2021 event is current sold out. Except for a handful of people, all 2020 entries have been moved over to the 2021 event. If you are currently entered, but you have to pull out, please contact us on ride@the-ex.co.uk and we can look into the options.

Should we have any free spaces nearer the time, we will contact the riders on our reserve list first, before we make any announcements on our social media channels.

Cancellation policy?
If you cancel up to a month before the event, your entry fee minus £50 (handling fee) will be returned.

Alternatively, you can transfer your entry to another rider providing you will be able to let us know their details at least a month before the start of the event. If you have to cancel in the month leading up to the event, then we will not be able to pay your entry fee back or transfer your entry to another person.

Can I enter on the day?
Sorry, no. THE MERIDA EX is pre-entry only and open to just 80 riders in advance.

Why does the race cost £300?
THE MERIDA EX isn’t your usual one-day event. It’s a three day, all-inclusive mountain bike adventure. We’ve created three days of incredible mountain biking that you couldn’t otherwise access and limited the numbers to keep it really special. We’ll put on evening entertainment, bicycle demos and an Expo area, we’ll feed you, water you and provide all the drinks. There’s even an uplift each day to start you off.

What accommodation is available?
Camping, meals and drinks (alcoholic and otherwise!) are provided in the entry fee for THE MERIDA EX. Just bring your tent, camper-van or motorhome, and you can pitch at the race village. There will be onsite toilets, showers and a comfortable, quiet, sheltered and flat field for you. Sorry, there are no hock-ups, but we have lots of charging points for your phone, GPS or eBike battery.

For an additional £40 per person (or £30 per person for two sharing) you’ll arrive to a fully pitched tent with a sleeping mat.

If you’d prefer a roof over your head, Exmoor has all manner of rental accommodation within easy reach of the site. We’d prefer you to stay onsite and cheers the day’s riding, but that’s your call!

What food and drink are provided at THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS?
THE MERIDA EX is an all-inclusive event, so we’ll feed you and water you for no extra cost. We’ll provide hearty breakfasts and evening meals each day with more than enough food to power you on.

A typical breakfast will include porridge, bacon/sausage/egg baps, fruit, cereal and proper coffee.

An example of an evening meal would be lasagne with jacket potato, green salad, sweet potato chips and potato salad. And Luffy’s legendary crumble and custard or fresh fruit for pudding.

There are vegetarian and vegan options available. Please let us know in advance of any other special dietary requirements.

During each day, we’ll provide a vintage tea stop on-course to keep you motoring on through the stages and well-fed and watered. There’s plenty of cake, sandwiches, cream tea and tea, coffee and water.

You should be well fed throughout the event, but you may still want to pack some bars, gels and snacks to make sure you can get around each day.

The event is open from Thursday lunchtime/afternoon onwards. All food and drink are part of the entry fee from then onwards.

Catering is provided by Ian Luff (Luff Bus) and friends.

What is the racing format?
THE MERIDA EX is run as an enduro race. Each day you will ride a set, waymarked route and link together several timed, competition ‘stages’.

Timed stages will be predominantly downhill, and the aim is to go as fast as you can from start to finish. You’ll meet various obstacles as you race – including jumps, drops, berms, rocky sections, steep chutes etc.

The timed stages will be linked together by an un-timed route that includes climbs, descents, singletrack and lots of fun and non-competitive trails.

We will use a dibber system for timing which will be explained to you on the day.

THE MERIDA EX is ridden ‘blind’, meaning that none of the riders has the chance to pre-ride the stages, and the stages are not announced before the day’s rider briefing.

What will the riding be like?
Exmoor’s riding is some of the best and most varied mountain biking in the UK. There will 35-45km of riding a day for three days with approx. 1,500 – 2,000m climbing each. All of the off-road riding will be natural, unsurfaced trails.

The trails boast a massive variety, from flat-out rocky moorland gallops to tight, technical, rooty threading. We think that we’ve designed an event that is physically tough and a good test of skill and bike handling … without making it too demanding that your average rider can’t ride it.

We haven’t had any complaints yet!

How fit do I need to be?
There will 35-45km of riding a day for three days with approx. 1,500 – 2,300m climbing each. That will include several timed stages a day where you’ll be pushing hard to beat your mates.

You can expect THE MERIDA EX to be physically demanding with long days and big climbs. There will be an uplift each day to start the day, feed-stops and water stations to keep you fuelled and our team will be on-hand to scoop you up if you decide it’s too much.

What bike should I ride?
Any well-maintained mountain bike will make it round THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS. In the past, we had hardtails, full-suspension bikes and every combination of travel, geometry and tyre shape imaginable.

Bring the bike that will get you up the big climbs and down the technical descents and that you know won’t let you down. Tubeless is strongly recommended as are some decent, tough tyres that can take a beating on the rocks.

In 2019 we included a specific eBike category for the first time into our event. The category was very popular and fitted perfectly into THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS. The eBike category will return in 2021. There will be charging facilities for your battery/batteries at the event. We offer the option to carry a 2nd battery to the feed stop and offer a ‘battery top-up’ at the feed station as well.

What clothes should I wear?
Exmoor is on the coast and is definitely ‘proper’ mountain biking. There’s plenty of exposed moorland, lots of windy, cliff-tops, splashes through streams and the weather can be as unpredictable as anywhere else in the UK.

There will be times when you’re a long way from base-camp and from the nearest village. We’ve booked the good weather but … nothing is guaranteed!

Wear the clothes that you would normally wear for a big day out in the hills. Sturdy, technical shorts and jersey are recommended. Long sleeves will help with wind and snaggy bushes. A decent, packable, windproof and waterproof jacket that you can store in your bag is a must.

Full face helmets are allowed but are not compulsory. You should wear a sturdy, well-fitting pair of knee and elbow pads on all timed stages. Good quality mountain biking gloves are also recommended.

Goggles are welcome but, please, absolutely no tear-offs.

What kit should I ride with?
A hydration pack is absolutely essential for THE MERIDA EX. You’ll need to carry everything that you will need to safely and comfortably complete a long day in the hills in changeable weather. There are feed stops each day, but they’re often mid-way through the day and at the end of some big climbs.

We’d recommend spare inner tubes and a pump, a good quality waterproof and windproof jacket, plenty of water, tools (Allen keys, chain tool, powerlink) and some food to keep you going between feed stations. Powerbars and gels are recommended but please, take your litter home.

First aid staff will be onsite all weekend, but we’d recommend riders carry a First Aid kit.

A fully charged mobile phone is recommended, but the signal can be unpredictable.

What kind of lights to I need to bring for the night stages?
New for 2021 are our Exposure Lights ‘night enduro stages’ which will take place on Friday night/evening. We have deliberately chosen some more ‘flowy’ stages for our venturing into the night. However, we still recommend bringing some powerful night riding lights. Ideal would be a bar-mounted and helmet light. We expect the riding time (including the climbs and ride over from the venue) to be around an hour. We also recommend a rear light for the ride over and back to the venue (on public roads). We might have lights available for hire/test — more details nearer the time.

Are eBikes welcome?
Yes, eBikes are very welcome to ride THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS. In 2019 we included a specific eBike category for the first time into our event. The category was very popular and fitted perfectly into THE MERIDA EX powered by SHIMANO STEPS. The eBike category will return in 2021. There will be charging facilities for your battery/batteries at the event. We offer the option to carry a 2nd battery to the feed stop and offer a ‘battery top-up’ at the feed station as well.

For any other questions please contact us.