Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Exposure Lights Big Night Out 07/04/12 
   Dave, Jon and Graeme up for this weekend.  4th year in a row the team has been here. Due to various Easter Weekend commitments, we all travelled up separately.

   Katie and I headed off early Good Friday, after arranging to meet Jon and Pauline in the Maccy D’s where we exit the M4. With just Katie and I in the Vito and only going for one night we still managed to fill it! Once we’d met up with Jon we convoyed over to Coed Trallwm near Beulah to try out the trail centre there. I’d ridden part of this during Trans Wales 09 & 11 so seeing as it wasn’t far from Builth we thought we’d give it a go. We also had Katie and Pauline’s bikes with us so we could all ride it. We completed the “blue” route as a group and then Jon and I went and rode the black one. It was graded blue however it wasn’t exactly a beginner’s course but everyone got through it ok. The black run was rather short but a good fire road run to the top then some nice challenging singletrack all the way back to the car park. Once finished here we headed over to Builth to setup camp.

   Camp set up and a couple of beers later it was time to head into Builth town for a curry. After a very nice dinner and a pint or 2 at the pub it was time for bed.

   Next morning Dave and Rosie arrived. We spent most of the day fettling with the bikes waiting for the evening ride to commence.  Fitted a new Ragley Wiser bar to Jon’s bike (710mm wide!!!) and played with the gears way too much. Dinner of homemade chinese chicken with rice and peas for a protein and carb kick and we were ready, well almost. Dave had a quick change of mind on his tyres 20mins before we were due to line up. All hands to deck for a quick swap of his mud tyres for drys and we were ready.

Graeme Report

   As always with the Exposure Big Night Out the start was delayed due to the light and good weather. We lined up on the start in the 1st 1/3rd of the field eagerly anticipating the off. This was Dave and Jon’s 1st marathon event (although Dave had done Trans Wales). The gun eventually went and we were off, cheered on by the girls. We kept in the front group, slip streaming like peloton pros all the way along the road out of Builth. Seeing as this event wasn’t a race as such we’d agreed we ride together (no one wants to be alone up on the dark moors by themselves). The field strung out a bit on the road to the 1st climb. Dave debagged his coat at the bottom and we all plodded our way to the top. It was a long climb, not that technical, just rather steep. Once it levelled out a bit near the top I sat back and waited for us to regroup as a team. Suddenly Jon’s light fell down and started pointing backwards so we had to stop and retighten the clamp.

   Once over the top, the course contoured along the side of the hill right next to a cliff edge, this was a brilliant section that kept your senses on max. I left Dave and Jon along here and railed the whole section, then into the 1st downhill of the ride. Jumping off the rocks at the side of the trail, half remembering the course form last year, this was excellent. Arrived at the bottom for the short slog half way back up the hill. I span up here in 1st sitting up waiting, I knew we weren’t far from the half way point so didn’t stop. In the next downhill section I caught a rut as the path changed from single to double track and high sided massively into a bunch of stinging nettles. Ouch, apart from the stings though I was ok, so on with the rest of the downhill. The drop off was coming up and could see the cameraman waiting there. Took it at full chat and got a good landing. Now it was just a coast to the halfway stop.

   I got some cake from the stall and munched on some of my malt loaf whilst waiting for Dave and Jon. Dave came in a few mins behind me, but where was Jon. A few more mins went by and we started to get worried. Luckily he came in not much later; his light had kept falling off. We swapped the clamp for my one as it had an adapter for Jon’s new 31.8mm bars and I fitted his clamp to my bike. We ended up spending a lot of time at the halfway point (over 30mins) which put us on the back foot a bit.

   The next section was along a road section, up to a farm where the road turned into a rocky bridleway. I sat back and span along here chatting to someone. We all got to the top as a team then it was a swift downhill section, railed it! Into another climb when suddenly I find myself all alone with nobody in front of me and nobody behind me, turned the lights off for a proper sense of wilderness, didn’t like that too much so switch them back onto full. Dave and Jon joined me at the top of the climb, then a short open field downhill section into the woods. Rooty singletrack though here and I was loving it. Nailed it as much as I could until I washed out on an off camber root, no probs though, dust off and back on it, excellent. The singletrack eventually double backed on itself and spat us out on a fire road, we were grinning from ear to ear. Tight downhill/contouring singletrack, that’s off camber and full of roots in the middle of the night, excellent!

   The route then took us contouring along the side of the hill on some off camber singletrack. It was easyish going, but quite technical in places. The low hanging tree and the bottom of a stream crossing took me out, ouch again! We span along here eventually descending the hill on a very muddy section getting covered from head to toe, most of the ride had been dry up to that point. It also decided to start raining, no matter though as we were now on the road back to the finish. It took a slight detour down the cycle path next to the river, then ejected us on the road outside the show ground. Jon started upping the tempo readying for a sprint finish, which made m nervous, no way was I being beaten over the line.

   As we turned into the show ground Jon cut the corner and went for it, lucky we caught his back wheel and I sprinted straight up the hill. I backed off so we could finish together, but again they came sprinting towards me. Hammer down then and over the line. Excellent, what a ride.

   We got a team photo and our T-Shirts for completing the ride, then headed off to the barn for a well-deserved cuppa and some cake. The girls informed us they’d had a good time whilst we were out on the mountains getting to know the local taverns of Builth! Katie and I had to leave that night, so a 4 ½ hour trip back home, we eventually got home @ 5pm! As always this is definitely one to do again.