Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Kona Mash-Up 05/12/09
Graeme Spreadbury
   Just me up for this race (that’s becoming a familiar term!) out to Glyncorrwg. Katie and I left Friday evening and had a relatively free run to South Wales. We had the tent setup and a beer in front of us at the Drop Off Café by 10pm. So glad this was open as it was chucking it down with rain and it didn’t letup for the whole weekend.

   Up bright and early (no need for an alarm as rain on tent kept us up most of the night) and across to the Drop Off Café for breakfast and to sign on. The format of the race is to complete 5 timed sections of the trail, set in the Whyte Level and Skyline trails at Glyncorrwg. You can complete each section as many times as you want, with your fastest time counting.

   I set off just after 10 with the plan to complete the 2 sections on the Skyline trail first, then climb back up, complete the Whyte Level trails second, then backup again and have ago at whatever I fancied. It didn’t quite go according to plan! I left Katie at the bottom of the trail and she was going to hike up to Windy Point with a back pack full of spares food etc and wait at the makeshift café up there.

   Despite giving my bike a service before the weekend, the rear brake failed on the 1st climb. This made things pretty hairy even on the climbs. By the time I got to the 1st timed section (Darstadly & Mutley) my brake leaver came all the way to the bar and had no effect. Oh well, as it was up hill gun it and see what happens. So I did. Its surprising just how much you use the rear brake, not just to brake but to steer and control the bike. I gave it my all, but with no brake, didn’t have much confidence. In the mean time Katie was hiking up to Windy Pint with my spares and tools, so I took the decision to go and attempt the 2 sections on the July Trail. With no back brake riding was quite hairy and I decided if I swapped the pads from front to rear that may solve the problem. No such luck. After the “Joyrider” section I winged my way back to Windy point just by heading in the right sort of direction. When I got there I met Katie and replaced the rear pads. One of the marshals came over and told me I had 10mins to get to the start of the Jetlag section and pointed me in the direction of a shortcut.

   New pads made no difference, so I done the “Jetlag” section with no rear brake, great, got overtaken before the end, not in a good mood. Climb back up to Windy Point and to do the last 2 sections. By this time I wasn’t bothered about the speed just wanted to make sure I finished the course. On the way up my rear tyre burped and I had to stop and refill the air. At the top I stopped and met Katie for a bit of refuelling and a rest.

   The last 2 sections were within the Whites Level Trail and the whole trail is one of my faves in the UK. It was very frustrating to line up at the start of the “Windy Point” trail knowing my back brake wasn’t working and I’d have to take it easy. Nothing really eventful happened as I just wanted to get back. I rode all the way back down to the Glyncorrwyg MTB Centre where I met up with Katie and a waiting beer.

   We spent the evening at the end of season party in the Drop Off Café. It was a good night with great food and flowing beer.

   Definitly one to do again, just make sure the bike is in full working order. Actually take the spare bike, I never seem to have any troubles when I have the spare bike waiting!