It’s not about the bike, Lance Armstrong once said, but that’s clearly not the case in mountain biking: it's all about the bike.
More to the point, it's about the choice of bike. You'd think a stage race over the lumpy and squelchy Welsh countryside would force a selection of bike, with everyone on very similar machines. But, as we found out during a walk around the campsite of the 2011 TransWales, camera in hand, it's quite the opposite.
There was an exotic mix of carbon and titanium, rigid and full suspension bikes on display. You couldn't pigeon hole all the different flavours of mountain bikes here even if you tried.
We spotted rigid singlespeeds and 29er carbon hardtails, 120mm lightweight trail bikes and traditional race-ready hardtails with flat bars and bar ends and lots of 2x10. Longer travel trail bikes with burly builds too, and lots of riser bars and chunky tyres. But not that many mudguards. Odd considering it always rains in Wales.