Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Exposure Lights Big Night Out 10/04/11
   Paul and Graeme up for this one. This will be the 3rd year in row Graeme has done this event and the 2nd for Paul. Its turning out to be one of our faves.
   Loaded up the Vito on Friday evening (now we have a van we seem to take way more gear than we need) and headed down the M4 to Wales (after sitting in traffic on the M25 for ages). We arrived about 10:30, setup the tents and had a well earned beer or two. The next day we pretty much spent it fettling with the bikes and just prepping for that evenings ride. After last years start line debacle with Paul’s brake, he was determined to make sure his Scott Spark was perfect. We soaked up some sun for the rest of the day then later that afternoon we tried out a new prerace dinner of Chinese Chicken with Egg Fried Wild Rice, which seemed to go down well.
Graeme Report
We lined up on the start line around 7pm as asked, however the race didn’t get underway until nearer 8pm due to the perfect sunny conditions (its April and I’m in Wales, shouldn’t it be raining?). The pace van lead us off the start line and along about 7km of roads to the 1st climb. Paul and I kept up with the van in the front group, slipstreaming in the pack.

As soon as we went off road the trial went skyward, straight up! It was the same climb as last year but it was a tough slog up onto the top of the hill. Once up the 1st part the trail flattened a little and the climb was a lot easier. It was very dry out, however some of the grass we were riding was a bit draggy, this could be down to the new Rocket Ron tyres I was running at both ends which were super grippy.

Once we got to the top it was a nice contouring ride not dropping to much height whilst we came back along the hill. The path ran along the top of some cliffs which was a bit unnerving once you realised they were there, then the trail went down. Rollercoaster all the way to the bottom, missing the mounds of heather and clearing the odd drop off that came out of nowhere. A short blast back up the hill and it was time for another downhill. This was superfast with 2 rather large drop offs near the bottom. Completely railed this section and took both drop offs at full pelt, which was ok on the 1st one but I landed the 2nd one quite hard. The trail led out to a road and onto the rest stop. Time for a cheese roll and some treacle cake, just what was needed.

Next up we had a rather long road section which we took at a moderate pace. This led us to the 2nd and last major climb up onto Aberedw Hill. It was a long slog up to the top, but I left it in one gear and span up. Once and the top I knocked it back and waited for Paul to catch up. It was a nice ride along the top, with the moon shining and the lights of Builth in the distance, eventually the track pointed down and it was another rollercoaster. Took a few people along here, then I was out on my own. It was fast along here with some rather thin sections of trail that dropped off to the side. I wasn’t wearing any glasses so my eyes were watering and I could hardly see. After a sharp hairpin near the bottom it finally spat you out onto the road. Wow, that was worth the climb.

I span gently along the road waiting for Paul to catch up, then it was off road again and up a shortish climb (this was the 1st climb on Trans Wales 2009 if I recall) into a muddy track at the top. This was the only wet mud we’d seen all night, so we took it easy, I’d already done 24miles and had a clean bike, didn’t want to get it muddy in the last couple of miles.

After crossing the main road the trail ended up in some singletrack through the woods behind the campsite. This was a bit different to other years and made a good end to the ride. Once through this and jumping the rather nasty out onto the track, it was a sprint to the line. I could see a rider a way ahead and beckoned to Paul to gun it with me to catch him, so we went for it. The 2nd to last corner coming back into the campsite was a gravel 180o left hander with some nasty looking rusty farm yard machinery on the outside. I took the inside line here, barely holding traction and sprinted to the finish. The guy I was trying to catch had the same idea, so it was last of the late brakers into the final bend and cross the line, that would be me then.

After a quick shower, it was off to the bar for a well earned pint or two, just what was needed. Katie said it was the 1st event I’d crossed the line with a smile on my face in a long time, well since this time last year. Every year I’ve done this event it’s been great and is definitely one of my faves of the season.
Graeme   82/188  
Paul        84/188