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Round one of the Vertebrate-sponsored SMBO Spring Series is this weekend!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fancy winning one of our mountain bike guidebooks and having an enormous amount of fun in the process?

‘Obviously! But how?’, you ask.

Simple – enter one of the Scottish Mountain Bike Orienteering’s events, which we’re particularly happy to be sponsoring in 2013.

If you’ve never entered a mountain bike orienteering event, you’re missing out. That’s not just a glib statement for publicity either – they’re ace. You’ll want to get on it soon though – the first SMBO event is next weekend, on the 30th of March at Aberfoyle near Stirling.

Vertebrate Publishing sponsor SMBO

Here’s how mountain bike orienteering events work:

At the start of the event, you’ll be given a map with a number of checkpoints marked on it. Each of these has a certain point value. The aim of the event is to pick up as many points as you can within a time limit, ideally taking in the best descents and swoopiest singletracks in the area along the way.

Checkpoints that are hard to reach (ie. miles away or atop particularly tough climbs) will have high point values. Those that are easy to find, low values. So – do you put your head down and go for the big prizes, or just play it safe and settle for the easy money?

We’d ‘go big’. But how big? How big is big? What if you bite off more than you can chew and run out of time? You’ll need to modify the route home. Do you take the long, but fast-riding forest road or the more direct but tougher bridleway? If you’re late home you’ll be hit with a penalty and lose points … Route-planning and on-the-spot decision making are key.

Of course, you might prefer to stay close to home, have a leisurely afternoon out and pick up an easy point or two. That’s the beauty of these events. You can do as much or as little as you like. We’ve gone hard, gambled on big points and come up short, sprinting home to make time limits. We’ve planned routes purely around fun descents and nice scenery and accidently done fairly well. We’ve discovered new trails and been surprised to find that even road miles are electrifying when there are points at stake And like every competitor, we’ve gone home and pored over our maps to work out where we might have taken a better route.

Spread across Scotland, the SMBO’s events are a great way to discover the country. Always featuring great courses, you’ll find yourself thinking hard, riding fantastic trails and generally having a blast. This year, they’ve got a whole load of new locations to get lost in, and they’ve split their series in two – giving spring and autumn series instead of one long event. Compared to most bike events these days, they’re dirt cheap too – at only £15 an event.

It’s a long way from Sheffield to Scotland, but we’re going to be doing our best to get up there and get lost at least once this year!

The first round is this weekend, near Stirling. If you can’t make that, here are the rest of the series dates:

Spring Series

30th March - Aberfoyle
20th April - Mugdock Park, Glasgow
26th May - Creiff, Perthshire
29th June - Aviemore
Autumn Series (Dates TBC)

September - Wark
October - Craigvinean at Dalguise
November - Fife

There are one or two more locations and dates to be confirmed so keep an eye on the website!

Entry Class Price

Adult Solo £15.00
Youth Solo £9.00
Adult Team £12.50 (each)
Junior Team £7.50 (each)
Generation £10 (each)

BMBO membership is required, with day licence for just £1 or sign up online for £6 for the year including a fantastic 15% off at Cotswold Outdoor and other benefits!

Check out the SMBO website for more


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