08/08/2023 - Ard Rock MTB Festival 2023

Ard Rock 2023

A couple of weeks ago we returned to our favourite event of the year, Ard Rock MTB Festival.

Cotic CC Ride Ard Rock 2023

With the weather forecast looming large, we packed all the clothes and a whole bunch of demo bikes into the rental van and set off north to Swaledale. An annual fixture in our calendar, it's brilliant to see how the event has grown into the beast it is today, and this year was a fine vintage despite challenging conditions at times.

We set the stand up on Thursday and jumped on our bikes for a spin on the demo stages. One of which was a stage Paul and I had raced a couple of years ago, a proper top to bottom run with rocky corners, steep chutes and flat out grassy turns. This year was Cy's first Ard Rock since 2017, and even then he never got chance to ride any of stages. Something tells me after riding the demo stage this year he might be strapping a number board on his bike next year! A lovely pub tea in Reeth set us up nicely for the weekend.

Cotic stand Ard Rock 2023

Friday was a busy one. Shorts and T shirts all round, and I barely left the stand all day. Lots of demo customers and plenty of bike chat, the day flew by. It was ace to see so many wild Cotics, from pre-longshot Rockets with custom paint jobs to the latest gen 4 RocketMAXs all enjoying the Epic race and practising for Saturday and Sunday's races. Thanks to all you Cotic owners who dropped by the stand, we love seeing the bikes putting smiles on your faces.

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Despite a bleak forecast, the weather held out on the Saturday, and it was another big day of demos and people checking out the Cotic range. As has become tradition, we held a Cotic CC owners ride late afternoon on the Saturday. We got rained on a little bit, but it was warm enough grinding out of the valley floor that we barely noticed. The loop on the opposite side of the valley to the race stages has become one of my favourite rides of the year, a lovely stretch of rocky singletrack down a gully which gets better every time. I heard my front wheel clang a rock not long after passing Darren's camera lens, followed by the hiss of air and the spattering of sealant. Thankfully it held til the bottom and I managed to plug the tyre. One of the riders wasn't so lucky though. It's always a hazzard of riding in the Dales.

Punctures fixed, we rolled on, scattering sheep and hopping over puddles. Riding fast open singletrack in a big train with the festival village in sight never gets old. Beers and chatter back at the stand rounded off a lovely afternoon before the rain came in.

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That rain never relented, Sunday was very moist. Riders coming off the hill looked like they'd been away at war, but we still had some hardly souls braving the conditions to ride demo bikes, kudos to them!

Demo set up Ard Rock 2023Ard Rock 2023

As always, Ard Rock did not disappoint, I wish there more events like this in the UK, with world class trails and great festival atmosphere. I hope they manage to book some sunshine next year though! We'll be back regardless.

Thanks again to Vicky at The Laurels for the warm welcome and delicious breakfasts, thanks to the Ard Rock team for having us and thanks to everyone who came by the stand to chat, check out the bikes and take them for a demo ride.


Ard Rock 2023

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