Last weekend saw the sunny opening of the Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon Series powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, where more than 1300 riders turned up to ride some fantastic trails.
Exposure Lights Big Night Out
With the weekend being a busy one in the UK cycling calendar expectations were conservative but the Exposure Lights Big Night Out opened had once again almost 300 riders on the start sheet.
With darkness setting in slowly everybody lined up to get any last minute instructions and at around 7.45pm the Exposure Lights Big Night Out finally got on the road. The conditions out on course were superb and super fast but due to the more demanding route and the extension in length in comparison to the previous year the fastest rider took almost 2 hours to complete the 43km loop.
With a high quality field and everybody out there wanting to prove themselves the leader position was hard fought over all the way to the finish line. The 1st rider made it back into the event village in 1 hour and 56 minutes picking up the unique ELBNO T-shirt while the list rider took 4 hours and 22 minutes to complete the course.
The lights in the hall finally went out at 1am highlighting the clear and cold night. Sunday morning came and the riders (campers and Sunday morning arrives) were again greeted with glorious sunshine.
Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon
At the slightly later start time of 10.30am (to give all the night riders who wanted a second ride more recovery time) almost 900 riders lined up to tackle one of the three single track packed courses on offer. Even with the strong winter keeping riders from getting their ‘spring legs’ in time for the event the long distance remained the most popular distance of the weekend.
Due to the high calibre field and the super conditions out on course the approx. 75km long ‘middle marathon’ was completed in just 3 hours and 15 minutes with the last rider crossing the line to pick up the well deserved event T-shirt after just over 7 hours .
In particular the final sections through Cefndyrys Woods (situated on the back of the event venue and featured in the final stage of the TransWales 2010 and 2011) was loved by the riders as it served them with a heavy load of twisty single track before rolling descending towards the finish line.
Upcoming dates for your diary
Missed the first round? Fear not, there are another four events throughout the year to choose from.
- Llandovery - 21-22nd May - (CycleOps Power Road Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
- Marshbrook - 2-3rd July - (CycleOps Power Road Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
- Selkirk - 23-24th July - (CycleOps Power Road Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
- Ruthin - 17-18th September - (ELBNO Night Marathon to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
More info and to enter, go to www.mtb-marathon.co.uk