How *NOT* to watch the Fort William World Cup
We've been heading up to Scotland for the biggest event on the UK MTB calendar for 17 years now, and we've learnt a few things the hard way. Follow this advice at your peril!
1. Rush hour on Friday evening is the best time to set out for Fort Bill, especially if you're facing an eight-hour mission from Down South. The traffic is never that bad and getting stuck behind a caravan on your way round Loch Lomond gives you a great opportunity to soak in the scenery.
2. If you forgot to book accommodation and all the B&Bs are full, don’t worry – there are plenty of riverside camping spots where you’ll be surrounded by the native wildlife (midges).
3. Well rested from a night under canvas, fuel up for a big day on the hill by sampling the local delicacies – square sausage, haggis and a battered Mars bar, washed down with a litre of Irn-Bru.
4. When you get to the race site, make it your mission to blag as much free stuff as you can. Team mechanics love being asked for stickers while they’re working on a bike – it gives them a nice break.
5. Scotland is renowned for its settled weather, so be optimistic and pack light, as a waterproof will only take up valuable beer space. Flip-flops are the perfect track-walking footwear, offering great traction, all-day comfort and a secure, bog-proof fit.
6. The best place to spectate is on the outside of corners. You might end up with a face full of roost, or become a crash pad for an out-of-control racer careering off track, but the photos will be so worth it.
7. Failing that, pro photographers always know the best places to stand, so position yourself just in front of them, camera phone in hand, to best capture the action.
8. Sun cream is for wusses, and you want to end the weekend with a rosy red glow. Leave the cream at home, take your shirt off and apply free stickers to your torso for a nice even tan.
9. Saturday night is your chance to meet the locals. Nicely dehydrated from a day in the sun, get straight on the beers once you come down the hill. The Scots really enjoy it when you imitate their accent and make Braveheart jokes.
10. One last pint in The Crofter won’t hurt. The fresh air (galeforce winds) up on Aonach Mòr will clear your head on Sunday morning. And if you start to feel a bit nauseous on your way up the hill, the gondolas have windows.
11. A good time to go around collecting pros’ autographs is right before their finals runs. They’ll be easy to find on their turbo trainers near the start and are usually really receptive to having a poster thrust in their face while warming up.
12. Sunday evening is your chance to party with the pros. Locate the nearest racer and ply them with pints while you shout in their ear. Make sure you tell them all about your bike – they’ll be fascinated.
13. The sign of a good weekend is waking up on Monday morning with a solid hangover, no voice left and a hearty red hide. It doesn't matter if you missed all the racing – you can always watch the replay on Red Bull TV. You may look like a chicken pox sufferer with your midge bites, but you’ll be stoked to do it all over again next year!
This year's Fort William World Cup takes place at the Nevis Range over the weekend of 1-2 June. Buy tickets here. And don't forget to swing by the MBUK stand for exclusive Ts and Mint Sauce mugs, plus the chance to win a Trek Session bike and check out our Great British Hardtail. See you there!