Olympic mountain bike venue will open to public after Games

Hadleigh Farm, the venue for the Olympic mountain biking cross-country events, will be opened to the public after the Games after a planning application was approved.

A Castle Point Borough Council planning department spokesperson confirmed to BikeRadar that the plans, originally proposed by Essex County Council and landowner The Salvation Army, had been greenlit.

The park post-2012 will not just be geared towards mountain biking but the whole community. The cross-country course, currently set-up to test the skills of the world’s best cross-country racers, will be adapted to make it suitable for all abilities, while a wider network of trails and paths will be developed for cyclists, runners and walkers.?

A new visitors centre will be built which will house a caf?, changing rooms and equipment hire as well as a space where the Salvation Army can base a training centre.

As well as the adapted mountain biking course, there will be a separate ’skills area’, a space measuring 2,850 square metres with rock obstacles and jumps. Plans suggest it will be built within an individual area rather than interconnecting trails.

A beginners section measuring around 500 square metres will see a looped section of trail built for children and adults looking to practice basic mountain biking skills.

Over 300 people turning out to hear the outcome of the planning application and while its approval is fantastic news for mountain bikers, not everyone welcomed the news. One local resident urged the council to reconsider the plans for the? trails that will cover the entire park, with objections including a desire to “retain the country environment” and that “blind bends” on the trails “creates potential accidents between horse riders, dog walkers, hikers and walkers, with cyclists”.

There is no news yet on when the park will re-open to the public.

Plans show the current mountain biking loop will be adapted while extensive building throughout hadleigh park will make it suitable for mountain bikers of all abilities:

The Olympic mountain bike events begin on Saturday 11 August and the women’s race with the men following the day after. For a full guide on the events, take a look at our comprehensive guide or check out the course video below.

2012 London Olympic mountain bike course improved

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Organisers of the 2012 London Olympic Games are making a few changes to improve the mountain bike course in Hadleigh Farm in Essex. It will get more passing room, more technical features and more climbing, according to the BBC. 

The changes come after organisers took into account feedback from racers following last year’s Olympic Test Event. Racers had said that the course was too flat and too narrow.

“It is wider and higher than for the test vvent and with the stunning setting of Hadleigh Farm, we are looking forward to a world-class Olympic event,” said Debbie Jevans, LOCOG’s Director of Sport to the BBC.

Passing will be increased at a few places on the course, including on the switchbacks on climbs. In addition, organisers have lengthened the main climb and added another technical feature into it.

The man-made course will be 4.7km long. On the first lap, racers will do a special start loop with extra passing and another climb added to it. Fifty elite men and 30 elite women will compete in the Olympic mountain bike races on August 11 and 12 respectively. Some racers are expected to return to test ride the revised Olympic course shortly after round 2 of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium on April 15-16.

Video: Riding the Olympic course before it was changed

Cyclingnews’ guide to Olympic XC mountain bike racing

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Mountain biking is a relatively young Olympic sport. First included in 1996 in Atlanta, it has also been part of the 2000 Games in Sydney, the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2008 Games in Beijing. Although the ever-evolving sport encompasses a variety of disciplines, only cross country racing is part of the Olympic mountain bike experience. Those who favour marathon, short track or gravity racing are out of luck.

Many of the world’s fastest cross country racers will line up at Hadleigh Farm in Essex for the 2012 Olympic cross country race. The women will race on Saturday, August 11 at 12:30 pm local time while the men will take to the off-road track on Sunday, August 12 at 1:30 pm.

To read the full in-depth feature, click here. 

Olympic mountain bike course could become trail centre

The Olympic mountain bike course at Hadleigh Farm in Essex could be developed into a trail centre, if local people get their way.

Asked what they’d like to see done with the Salvation-Army-owned site after the London 2012 Games, nine out of 10 residents questioned said they saw cycling as either quite important (13%) or very important (77%). Eighty-seven percent said visitor facilities should be improved.

The Hadleigh Farm Legacy Consultation questionnaire, sent to 40,000 local people by Essex County Council, also asked what sort of users the mountain bike course should be developed for – from elite riders through to families and groups. Residents said the trails should be made accessible to as many different levels of rider as possible.

Councillor Stephen Castle, cabinet member for education and the 2012 Games, said: “As we’d hoped, the people of Essex are keen to maintain the mountain bike course and open the venue up to the wider pubic for a number of different uses. We’re committed to making the most of the opportunity of hosting the London 2012 mountain bike events to create a legacy for not just Hadleigh but for Essex.”

Mr Castle said the council would work with the local community and other stakeholders to develop plans over the coming months. This includes holding a series of consultation workshops to determine the priorities of specific community groups, including walkers, runners, horse riders and nature/history buffs as well as cyclists. Plans for the site are expected to be finalised in early spring 2012.

You can check out BikeRadar’s video of the 2012 Olympic cross-country course below: