Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Trek National Marathon Championship / MBR Big Welsh Weekend 08
Off to Margam Park for this one, the MBR Big Welsh Weekend 50km race. Just 2 of us up for this one, which now seems to be a regular part of the calendar for us. Headed down Friday night, got there around 11pm, had a few beers then sleep. Up bright and early to go for a guided ride with the MBR guys. Well that was the plan, got to Afan a little late, so we done the Whyte Trail on our own. That trail rocks and we decided it was runs like that, that are the reason we go MTBing. Saturday night we went to the “Pasta Party”, watched some trials riding and got some free beer off the MBR crew.

Graeme Report:

As seems to the theme recently, we decided to line up at the front. The whistle went and we were off and I went for it (a tad to early in hindsight). The first climb was full of the usual congestion where people jump off their bikes right on the line your taking, but at no point did I have to wait for anyone. I forgot how much climbing there really was in the race and by the 2nd climb I was already suffering, oh well, neck a Go Gel and carry on. After the main climbing bits the course opens out and there is some gravel fireroads for a bit. Some guy and I got in a little mini race on the downhill bit of this, he overtaking me and visa versa on each corner. When we got to the end of that section we were both grinning from ear to ear and had a chat about how good that was. The next section after a short blast up hill is a technical muddy, rutted, at points rocky, off camber downhill that sorts the MTBers form the roadies. After passing a good 15 people I see Dave standing on a corner waiting, with a broken bike, oh dear that’s the team mate and main rival out. Rest of the lap was pretty uneventful. However on the 2nd lap I completely blew out. Cramp set in right at the beginning of the lap and the rest of the lap I had to keep stopping and stretching. Not good, I could see loads of people overtaking me. After necking a SIS Smart Gel I got a 2nd wind  and didn’t have to walk anymore. It was no good though as the places had gone. It was just a slog to the end, no way was I giving up. Coming into the Stadium Section Dave was waiting to cheer me over the line. Cheers!

Dave Report:
Just me and Graeme attended this one, 3rd year in a row for me and one of my favourites!  Saturday was guided ride day, though MBR were asking people to meet at Afan this year and our late arrival meant we missed the group so it was just the two of us.  We decided to take on the ??Whyte?? trail, 1st time on this one for me, and definitely one I’ll be repeating.  It started with a tough and tricky single track climb that just seemed to go on forever, but seeing as we were over taking people all the way up it flew by!  We were rewarded with an awesome descent, taking in jumps, drop offs, tight twisting corners and long stretch of ‘north shore’.  I absolutely love the trails here, and hitting this stuff reminded why I enjoy riding in Wales so much!!

We kept it fairly short on Saturday, so headed back to the campsite to take in the trials rider show (awesome tircks, I don’t know how these guys do it!!) the free MBR pasta and some beers (fuel for the race, honest!).

Sunday morning and race day came, and I felt well prepared for the race ahead.  Was bizarrely organised, so headed down to the start line early, getting onto the 1st row of the grid for the start.  Graeme and I got off to a flier, keeping pace with the early starters and making it through the early single track sections and climbs without the queues we experienced and Enduro 6.  The course seemed pretty much the same as previous years, so I got into my pace on the long climbs, knowing it was going to be a tough few hours with 3 long, hard climbs on each lap.  Then, Disaster struck!  Only 3.5 miles in I clipped a rock on one of the climbs which somehow flicked up and managed to wedge my derailleur into my rear wheel and cassette, bending the gear hanger in the process.  Attempts to dislodge it on the side of the trail failed, so I ran and rolled my way to the feed station.  Further attempts to get sorted also failed, so I rolled and ran my way to the end of the lap where I retired.  Managed to shower and change before Graeme finished, so took a couple of quick videos as he came over the line looking very tired. 

A disappointing and expensive weekend; new chain, cassette, derailleur and a frame repair to look forward to before Passportes!!



Race Time

No Laps



Graeme Spreadbury







David James







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