We Head to the Wilds of Shropshire to Catch Up With Double World Cup Winner and Former Team MBUK Racer Marc 'slugger' Beaumont and Find Out How the Local Scene Has Influenced Him as a Rider.
As my knife slices through poached egg and sourdough bread, I can’t help but think I’ve landed on my feet with this assignment. Ludlow Food Centre is famous among foodies, and as I eat my breakfast in the cosy cafe, I can see why. Sitting next to me is two-time DH World Cup winner Marc ‘Slugger’ Beaumont. I’m here to find out what’s made him such a dedicated and flat-out rider. Marc’s a regular here, and he curses when he realises he’s left his loyalty card at home and missed out on a free dinner, with the amount we’ve just put away.
Ludlow is a mountain biker’s paradise. You’ve got Bringewood, Hopton and the surrounding woods, all within riding distance of each other and all offering different challenges. It’s long been home to one of the most thriving scenes in the UK, and Marc, who’s lived here his whole life, has been involved since a tender age. “It’s the people that make it good,” he says. “The group that I go riding with, they keep me interested in biking.”
As a young lad, Slugger spent hours in the woods, pushing his limits on his first bike. “It was a secondhand Trek 820 Antelope,” he remembers. “It didn’t have very good stuff on it. It was black with a green and white fleck. It’s still in Dad’s shed.” He loved to get his hands dirty, constructing tracks and features to ride. “I was never afraid to build stuff,” he says. “Like, we had a corkscrew, an over/ under! We built it in the summer holidays, it took us three weeks. Who builds stuff like that any more? We built rhythm sections, we had dirt jumps. I always built stuff and I still do because I get bored with generic trails.”
These days, Marc does his digging at a secret spot near the small town of Craven Arms, where he grew up. As we pull up, it’s obvious why he’s chosen this place – these hills have hosted nationallevel races, and being here brings back memories for him. “I’d go to Hopton or down to Ludlow and ride national-level tracks, but on a little crappy rigid with cantileverbrakes,” he says. Today he’s on a 160mm-travel Saracen Ariel with hydraulic discs, but the tracks have evolved too, so they’re able to quench his appetite for technical and awkward riding.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Hard Way
A 79-mile ride across the Highlands? Doesn’t sound too difficult – until you add a ton of camera gear, diversions down steep single track and riding one-handed
Pick Of The Tops
Team jerseys change every year, but some linger in the memory, because of who wore them, what they did in them or just how rad they looked! Here are some favourites from across the eras...
Girls, Girls, Girls
The boys had better watch out – the women’s MTB scene is going from strength to strength
£2,799 Fat and slack but definitely not lazy
Cotic BFE Silver Special
£1,929 Cotic’s aggro hardtail gets fully stretched for full-gas riding
Wind Hill Bikepark,Wiltshire
Nestled in a corner of the Longleat Estate, Wind Hill offers a unique experience for riders wanting to get some air and improve their technique
Vitus Sommet CRX (2017)
£2,999.99 Top-fun steed that shames a lot of ‘superbikes’
Swarf Contour Prototype
From approx £2,000 (frame & shock)* Forgiving, supple and confidence-inspiring short-travel speed machine
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650B
£3,500 Latest Stumpy is a super-smooth trail bomber
Saracen Kili Flyer Elite
£3,499.99 ‘Longer and lighter’ evolution improves UK all-dayer
PENTAGON RECONSIDERING HUGE JEDI CLOUD COMPUTING CONTRACT
The Pentagon is reconsidering how to make a massive shift to cloud computing, officials said Monday, suggesting it could scrap the so-called JEDI contract potentially worth $10 billion that was awarded to Microsoft Corp. but is mired in legal challenges.
GERMAN WATCHDOG BANS FACEBOOK FROM PROCESSING WHATSAPP DATA
TESLA TO STOP ACCEPTING BITCOIN FOR CAR PAYMENTS
Electric car maker Tesla will stop accepting Bitcoin as a payment, CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Wednesday, citing environmental concerns.
The Language of Love
I could no longer communicate with my husband. But someone could…
CHINA SAYS XIAOMI REMOVAL FROM U.S. BLACKLIST “BENEFICIAL”
China’s commerce ministry on Thursday welcomed the removal of Xiaomi Corp. from a U.S. government blacklist, a day after the U.S. reversed a ban on U.S. investments in the smartphone maker that was imposed under former President Donald Trump.
Q&A Nikki DeLoach
Her Hallmark movies end happily ever after. How this actress finds hope in the real-life story of her father’s dementia
KENTUCKY PLANT BENEFITING FROM LATEST APPLE INVESTMENT
Apple deepened its ties to a Kentucky plant on Monday by awarding another $45 million to support Corning Inc.’s work to supply glass for the tech giant’s iPhones and other devices.
My husband gave me a sledgehammer for my birthday. Yes, a sledgehammer. Turns out, it was exactly what I needed
FACEBOOKBACKED DIGITAL CURRENCY PROJECT DIEM SHIFTS TO US
A once-ambitious Facebook-backed digital currency project — formerly known as Libra, now called Diem — is shifting operations from Switzerland to the U.S. and said it plans to launch a cryptocurrency tied to the U.S. dollar later this year.
“Put It on the List”
I went over everything Alex needed to do while I was away. Burp the pickles. Water the plants. Drain the compost. All he said was…