How time flies!
It has been a while since I’ve posted, but I only want to highlight the really good, not my day to day comings and goings. Compared to last year I am generally doing less on the training front and more on the getting out and having fun, so not too bad really! This isn’t to say that I am not putting the miles in, it’s just a little less organised and more off the cuff. I have also done a lot more running recently, some people thinking I am training for a marathon, but currently it’s just for something else to keep up the fitness. I am finding that is really is helping the aerobic fitness. To sum up the last couple of months I have been working a fair bit, hunting out road climbs to use for hill reps and checking out some new trails, which is good fun. It all plays a part in building up to a MTB Marathon.
So the last round was tough in Rhayader, it was a fair bit of forest tracks with a lot of slip ‘n’ slide descents that I found great fun where others really struggled and preferred the climbing! This round is brand new, so everyone apart from the locals are going into this with a sense of intrigue and anticipation, hoping that it will be worth the journey (for some this is a few hours). I had an easy trip (South Wales is just a cracking place to live). This meant that I had time on my hands and I finally had the whole weekend off, so I thought I would make the most of it!
Action packed weekend
It began with a cheeky Newport Parkrun, got a PB with 22:15 for the 5km run, so that kicked off the weekend in good style.
This allowed me to feel less guilty having a mini veggie fry up (fried eggs, beans, veggie sausages on brioche buns (fancy hey!). I was in complete chill mode and having packed the night before all that was left was to drive down. I couldn’t however just go straight to the venue and twiddle my thumbs for hours, especially when there is the Quantocks on the way and I had heard there was a bit of biking to be done there. I had heard of Triscombe, but that was about it, so a quick google and a nice MBR route popped up, stating it was one of the 20 best trails in the UK. I got the map downloaded, love having a Garmin, though it is a bit more interesting off road, hunting down the right trail. I am not the best at Nav anyway so exploring a new place on my own can be interesting to say the least!
First challenge was to find the start (fail!). I found a random car park up a road, it was close enough, but not the start, ah well. Garmin can navigate you anywhere you like! A quick roll down a road, and I was at Great wood, hopefully heading the right way. The downside to just copying the route I didn’t pay attention to which way the route actually was going, oops. It only tells me if I’m off course, but that did help a little I suppose. I won’t bore you with too many details, but I have to say it was lovely, sun was shining, the views were stunning after the steady climbs.
Then there were a couple of sweet natural descents that I would love to go back and do again! They just flowed with a couple of log drops snuck in, roots and rocks to manoeuvre, just fun. I will be back to this area! The only downside I see here is if the weather turns it is pretty exposed and also the amount of D of E groups looking lost, quite amusing actually. I know I only scratched the surface of what is there, but what I found was good and it was lovely to get away from trail centres onto the natural stuff. It was a 35km loop with a 1000m of climbing, a little more than planned as I may have diverted off on the wrong path a couple of times!
Here’s my route, mistakes and all: https://www.strava.com/activities/627711488/embed/b3c8bb8c863b0dd7d434762d29085ae95f48881b
The anticipation for the Marathon would be more of the same with faster rockier bridleways with some lush single track chucked in for some fun, apparently there could be a descent that may catch people out, starts off nice and gets rockier, could be interesting. It is another new location so you do take the trails as they come, but enjoy it at the same time.
Check out the next blog to see how the MTB Marathon unravelled!