Here we are on the M6, dog at my feet and husband to my right. Blasting some tunes I’ve never heard before over the gusts coming from the open window since we don’t have any air-conditioning. Three days of packing the van with easy-up gazebo, stock, bikes, clothing for every weather possibility and about a gazillion coat hangers, and we’re actually en-route to my favourite weekend of the year, Fort William World Cup, “Home of the Brave”.
We’re driving up in our big red camper van, which has taken us on countless adventures all around the UK and in Europe, but it definitely feels most at home heading North. Fort William World Cup weekend is a special beast, when 25,000 mountain bikers descend on the small town in the highlands. There’s a buzzing atmosphere, everywhere you look there’s someone you recognise and if you keep a keen eye out you’ll be sure to spot your favourite MTB heroes wandering through the crowds.
Here are my tips for surviving, and getting the most out of, the best weekend on the mountain bike calendar:
- Embrace the weather as it happens
The operative words here being as it happens. Don’t check the forecast, but pack for any eventuality – rain? wind? hail? tropical heat? Check.
2. Expand the term “weather” to include “midges”
Oh, you’ve been treated to blistering heat? Don’t relax, here’s an infestation of winged creatures to keep you on your toes. Their proper title is “the highland biting midge”. Three guesses as to what it does.
3. Bring cash
The expo village at the Nevis Range is second-to-none, with all sorts of brands flogging their wares for you to treat yourself to as a memento from the weekend. Roomer has it this year there’s wifi, but still, bring more cash than just for your lunch
4. Enjoy the journey
The drive from down South takes in some of the most beautiful scenery in the whole country, don’t rush through, and try to peel your eyes away from your phone while going through Glen Coe. Maybe stop and go for a dip in Loch Lomond?
5. Come and say hi
We’ll be there from Friday (setting up) so drop by and check out the 2018 kit – who knows, we might have some cheeky wee deals going on too!