Olympic Mountain bike course and trails
Since the games we have retained and adapted the 2012 Olympic mountain bike course which is now open for everyone to try.
The Olympic Mountain Bike course is 5km long made from crushed sandstone and was designed to test the best athletes in the world. It consists of almost 1.7km of climb per lap and has a number of sharp technical decent and climbs.
The course has been split into three trails, Blue, Red and Black with blue being the easiest and black being the most difficult.
If you take a look at the map below, the shaded blue contains the mountain bike trails. These are trails are for cycling only and are one directional and there are “No entry” signs on the trails so please do not go backwards up a trail.
This facility provides a series of rolling features and berms to test your ability to ‘pump’ speed from the trail. Older Children can change their weight distribution on the bike to generate speed from the features by pushing downwards with their arms and legs on the back sides of the features without having to use their pedals. However it can also be used younger children on balance bikes to improve their skills whilst learning to ride.
This area is designed to help you develop and practice your bike handling skills and improve your riding technique. The Skills Area is graded ‘Orange’ which means it is suitable for off-road cyclists ranging from beginners to experts. There is a Teaching Area and 8 features for people to try: Rock Steps, Berms, Tabletops, Drop-offs, Rock Causeway, Technical Climb, Rock Garden and Rock Rolls.
The majority of the Olympic mountain bike course is classified as red apart from the 6 black features. These tricky features are severe and it is recommended that only expert rider attempt these.
The Black features, in order of appearance are:
The most technical line at Triple Trouble takes the line on the rider’s right. Firstly riders need to negotiate two low rock step-ups that will prove tricky to ride at speed. Once the rider has negotiated these, they arrive at the drop itself – an almost 1m vertical drop, landing onto a long, steep sloping rock slab, before rolling back onto the trail. Riders will have to master the entry to the section in order to hit the drop at just the right speed.
The right hand line at this section takes riders down a long steep rocky technical channel, lined with walls of boulders, and 2 drop offs and some tight technical turns. Riders will need to be skilled in handling their bikes through tight, steep, rocky terrain in order to master Deanes Drop.
The North Shore Gap Jump
This short section takes in a section of elevated wooden boardwalk but with a twist. After negotiating the steep entry to the boardwalk, riders must jump across a gap in the boardwalk to land safely on the other side and continue with the lap. Riders will need excellent balance in the air and good timing to gain speed from the landing to carry into the following section.
Oak Tree Drop
Riders must opt-in to this short cut section under an ancient Oak Tree giving a rider valuable time savings. After hopping over 2 rock step ups, the rider must ready themselves for an extremely steep rocky roll down that feels almost vertical.
Leap of Faith
Upon entering this section riders have the choice to take the easy line to the left or opt-in to the difficult technical line on the right hand side. Riders will need to trust in their riding ability in order to ride off the steep tree root covered drop off, clear the gap to reach the steep downhill landing before a tight left hand berm to leave the section. Crucial seconds can be shaved off your lap times with this tricky technical section.
The last black feature to complete the Olympic course is an opt-in feature again to the right of the feature. It is a steep decent consisting of large flat rocks which once completed goes straight into a berm at the bottom and into the start/finish loop. Like all our previous features, care must be taken and ability judged accordingly to complete this tricky Final Descent.
The green trail is a multi-use trail where pedestrians have priority.
The green trail surrounds the northern perimeter of the park and bisect’s the marsh, reaching as far as Benfleet station to the West and Hadleigh Castle to the East.
They are made of (grey) crushed limestone and should be shared between cyclists, walkers, pedestrians and horse riders (where signposted).
This route is approximately 9km and is more accessible to families but does contain some steep climbs and decent.
The all-ability trail is 1.3km long and has a gradient of less than 12:1 for its duration making it more suitable for people with physical disabilities. The all ability trail takes in several stunning views of the Olympic Mountain bike trails, Hadleigh Castle, the country park and the Thames Estuary.