Anything 4 A Ride MTB Club / Race Team
Day 2 17/09/09 Llanidloes – Machynlleth
   7am rise again, yawn. Breakfast of porridge this morning, feel hungry already, not good. Dodgy stomach so missed the rider briefing. BBC TV crew to see us off this morn. Think the excitement got to the everybody’s head as the whole race took the wrong turn out of town and had to all turn round a go back the right way. Dave and I were actually at the front of the pack for a km or 2.

1st part of the stage up to the Water Stop was all on road. I left Paul and Dave along here and didn’t bother stopping to refuel (it had only been 40mins). The course dipped off into the woods and across the first river crossing. Managed to ride this without getting wet feet although almost come off after hitting a rock in the middle. Next section was a slog up and down some fire roads through the forest, coming back out onto the road we’d left earlier. At the end of the road, Katie and Emma we’re waiting to cheer us on. I missed the next turning and ended up heading off down the wrong road, until they shouted at me. Whoops, they caught that on camera. After a ride up and over the moor, then down a steep trail to cross a river and walk up the other side it was time for lunch. This was another exposed spot up on top of a hill next to a lake. Peperami (snack of champions) plus a Ham and Cheese sandwich and I was ready to go again.

The downhill from lunch was pretty wet and rocky, with big slabs of rock. Many people tried to either go down the side of the trail or walk it, which was not the best option. Straight down the middle, it’s the only way. I was glad of the Michelin All Mountains as they stuck to those wet rocks like a limpet. Then some steep downhill to a road section. A real slog along the road for a few miles, til the road pointed up hill, then across some moorland. It seemed like forever until the final Water Stop. Banana and refuel and it was off to an almost unrideable uphill section. Some fireroad after this, lead us up to beginning of the 1st Special Stage on the Climax trail.

I necked a ZipVit Cafine Energy Gel and went for it. Legs were really heavy and I got taken pretty quickly. On the 1st section of singletrack I clipped a rock on a corner at the rear tyre burped out a lot of air. I had to stop and pump it back up a bit (this cost valuable mins). The rest of the trail I rode at a sluggish pace until the final downhill, where I tried to nail it. I went straight over the bars on the rock garden, but managed to run it out so no damaged and only the bike went down. Straight back on I railed it to the 2nd to last corner where I went “man down” again, blast right in front of the photographer. Just round the corner were Katie and Emma waiting to cheer us over the line.

I declined to wait for Paul and Dave as there was still a couple of miles to go before then end of the day and time was ticking by. I got back to camp with 30 mins to spare. Again I arrived to no sign of the girls (who were still waiting for Dave and Paul at the Special Stage), but at least the tent and fridge were there. Paul come in about 40mins later, 10 mins over the limit with Dave a further 20 behind him. It was a tough ride and one of the toughest and certainly longest I’ve ever ridden in one day on an MTB.

Mine and Katie’s turn to cook tonight. Sweet & Sour Hong Kong style chicken which went down a treat along with a beer or to. Again it was early to bed just after 9.