Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Big Welsh Weekend 50km 30/06/10
   All 3 of us up for what was our annual trip to Margam Park (missed last year) and 2 supporters. Quick blast down the M4 and we arrived around 10pm on the Friday night. In the morning we woke up to rain, great this was gonna be a good weekend. Katie and I went to try out some Demo Bikes as there were loads of manufacturers there. Katie rode a Specialized Safire and a Santa Cruz Superlight. I rode a Specialized Enduro Expert and was most impressed. Straight line10” high ruts without even flinching. Bit heavy for XC though. After a disappointing “Pasta Party” that eve, we decided to get some Chinese Take Away and settled in with a few beers. Sunday morning we woke to no rain and a bit of sunshine.
Graeme Report
   The 3 of us lined up on the start with the mountains of Margam Park looming in the distance. The gun went and we were off. The course had changed for this year and we went straight up the side of the hill where we used to come down. This was a sharp slog of a climb and not very pleasant. Oh well granny ring to the top and then more up hill, this was gonna be brutal. I checked back and saw that Paul and Dave were just behind me so went into the 1st downhill. This was a bit muddy on the 1st lap and very slippery, well on dry tyres anyway. This lead us down into a short fireroad climb, then down a short piece of singletrack, across a stream and climb out the other side. This was a wet rocky climb but doable on drys, if people walking got out the way! A lot of people seemed to get off on this climb and walk it, oh well “rider coming through”.

   Once at the top of this piece of singletrack we were into the 1st of 2 long fireroad climbs. I could see Paul and Dave about 30yds or so back so eased off a tad and waited for them to catch me up. Once out of the trees near the top of the climb we rode together for a few seconds, then split again. Over the top it was a long fireroad that was slippery on the 1st lap especially over 30mph which lead into a piec of singletrack, across another stream and a short climb upto a nice downhill. This had a thin smooth section at the side which everyone was riding slowly down. On the other side it was rough and rocky, oh well  the Epic can handle this, straight down the rocky side, much quicker.

   This lead us into the 2nd long fireroad climb. On the first switch back I could see Dave and Paul about 80yds down below, I shouted something encouraging and continued on the climb. Eventually you ended up at the top of the mountain overlooking Port Talbot and over to Swansea. The route took a turn down the mountain here along a rocky path and a short climb into some woods. From here we diverted into a new section of woods and joined a section that I remember from the old course.  This was a long muddy, rutty downhill that seemed to slow a lot of people up. It turned into a rocky descent and was ace, made that long climb worth it.

   From here it turned into a section that used to be a climb. It was just not wide enough to overtake down here which held me up a bit. Across another stream and up a short sharp climb. Katie and Emma were waiting here to cheer us on after they’d trekked up and over the mountain. About a 1/3 of a way up the hill the route turned left and back down the hill to the Start/Finish arena. This was a loose, gravely but flowy section. Oh well that’s half of it over now lets do it all again.

   By the 2nd lap the course had dried out loads and was getting dusty. I plodded on and kept a reasonable pace. Katie and Emma were this time at the bottom of the 1st downhill. A pretty uneventful lap for me, although kept being overtaken by people on the hills then would take them again on the downs. Towards the end of the lap I felt my legs starting to cramp up a little bit, so eased it off a little. On the last downhill (whilst trying to catch the guy in front of me) my bike slipped at about 30mph and I had to put a leg down, this cramped up straight away. Ouch, then my other leg cramped and locked in the extended position. I had to use the cramped up leg to free the other one by pedalling, eventually both legs were free but I couldn’t move them. Ahhhhh, I was about 500m from the line and still rolling. My legs finally came back to life and I just managed to pedal over the line. Ouch that really hurt.

   Once over the line I looked for our supporters, but they were no where to be seen, oh well not the 1st time I finished a race and the support crew aren’t there J. Oh look there they are over by the ice cream van getting ice creams. I shouted my order and got a well deserved 99. Paul came in about 10mins after then Dave crossed a little later. We all agreed that was a good race and a glorious day. Thanks to Katie and Emma for coming along to support and for the ice cream.
Race Time 
Graeme Spreadbury
Paul Plowman
David James 
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