Before we get into what Mud'N'Race is, let's take a minute to remember why I started this project. This blog post is the 6th instalment to the OPOL Project series and it can be easy to forget why I started it and what direction I am going in here.
I am fascinated by the many different ways we choose to spend our time in nature but at the same time often forget to take care of it properly. Of course, there are the real outdoorsy people who take time to understand the importance of leaving no trace as they throw themselves at the feet of Mother Gaia for the full-body experience. There are also way too many people who live in a bubble of self-happiness or surviving life, that enjoy getting out to their local forest, beach, cliffs or commons but forget to take their rubbish home or disrespect wildlife and communal use facilities. These are the people that concern me and I hope to show them how magnificent the world is and to take a second before they flick their cigarette butt or soda can on the ground.
What is Mud'N'Race?
In short, it is a mountain bike group that holds a yearly competition at 'Det Hvide Spor' (The White Track) in Bidtrup Forest, Denmark. The race I photographed was in May 2019, pre-Corona. The event in 2020, unfortunately, had to be cancelled due to COVID19 restrictions. If you live in and around Lejre Kommune in Denmark and want to know more about the group, feel free to check them out on Facebook.
Now the fun part! Let's get cracking on seeing some dirt busting off-road mountain biking.
To say I was in my element nestled down in the undergrowth of the forest snapping away at the competitors is an understatement. It was incredibly fun following the track through the forest, which I hike and mushroom hunt in a lot throughout the year but never biked in. Looking for those perfect shots framed by leaves or as close to the action as I can get without losing my face or disturbing the bikers.
The competition was divided into different categories based on gender and distance, with an award ceremony at the end showering the winners with gifts and applause for their efforts and triumphs.
The event was really well co-ordinated with not only the competition but also laying on food and drink for all attendees and competitors. There was a great atmosphere as people came together over a shared interest, competed, laughed, cheered and showed me how nature and humans can enjoy the same space if we just make room for one another.
We use nature in so many different ways to bring happiness to our lives and keep ourselves fit, social and mentally on the straight and narrow. Many of us are lucky to have beautiful places to explore right on our doorsteps, imagine if that was taken away. Forests that we take our families to, parks that we picnic in, mountains that we climb, imagine if that was removed from our lives, destroyed and something else put in its place. We would undoubtedly protest, start a petition, complain to our local authorities. However, nature doesn't have a voice and in its silence we see corporations exploit, damage, ravage and plunder, mainly for the needs of our ever growing population. When nature does stand up and say 'Enough' it is often catastrophic. I would rather not see natures wrath and instead find a way we can live in a balanced environment between humans and animals, air, sea and land. As our numbers grow we have to turn our thoughts to living a sustainable life and that responsibility lies within our own hands, in the choices we make on a daily basis.
I would love to hear your thoughts on topics raised in this blog. Have you had enough of hearing about sustainability? Do you feel like it is too late for us to make any meaningful impact to turn things around? Would you happily sacrific nature to have the luxuries in your life? Do you feel any impact of climate change on your own favourite outdoor activity? Feel free to leave a comment below or share with your friends who may also have concerns about climate change, deforestation or maybe just love mountain bike pics.
Thank you for reading and I'm looking forward to sharing the next location in this project with you soon.