Pics: John Brooke/Sleepmonsters.com
After super cold temperatures mixed in with snow and sleet we managed to even out our weather record by having a summer event in the middle of April. The Exposure Lights Big Night Out and the Spring Marathon where blessed with great weather and perfect riding conditions.
With almost 1,400 starters over the weekend the 1st round of the series catapulted itself to the top of the participation leader board of the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series.
The event opened its door at roughly 11am in the morning and without much ‘warming up’ the event village and the registration filled up quickly and developed a real buzz. T-shirts, shorts and flip flops where seen in numbers close to the summer event in 2006. With the weather being surprisingly summery the event village spread out onto the finish area as well as inside the marquee. Due to having an event on Saturday lots of riders were running around preparing themselves for the night outing, topping up lights, checking out the latest in light technology at the USE stand or simply enjoying some carb-loading provided by the new event caterer (known to some from last year’s Merida TransWales). At 7.30pm everybody lined up to get any last minute instructions and crossed their fingers during the draw for the two Exposure Light Joysticks kindly donated by the event sponsor Exposure lights and presented by Rory Hitchens.
Rory reports:In its third year now, the Exposure Lights Big Night Out certainly delivered a perfect night’s riding. John Lloyd’s new course was enjoyed by over 250 riders of the night and it was all smiles as dry dusty trails and mega descents (longest over two miles!) brought the riders home excited and clean to the welcome of tea and cake. Exposure Lights have done more than any other lighting brand to bring innovative night events to the scene and ELBNO is now the favorite season opener to the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series. We would like to thank all those that rode this year, specially the “night virgins” out for their first ever night ride, let alone night endruo! Also big thanks to all the marshals and organisers for making this such a great event again. The first five riders home were all using Exposure Lights but better than that for me was the compliment a fellow rider paid me on Sunday’s 75km marathon when he told me his newly purchased Joystick light was the best bit of kit he’d used for ages and what a great ride he as a result in the Big Night Out. We look forward to more night adventures with the Merida Team next year. Enjoy your summer night rides folks and remember – half of you life is in the dark so Expose yourself and “Own The Night”
After the lucky winner was established almost 300 riders rolled out of the White House farm and up into the hills checking out the newly designed course for 2007. Only 1hour and 40minutes later the first lights came back down the finish stretch. Super dry conditions and temperatures around 8 degrees made it a super fast ‘night experience’. The last rider came over the line just under 3.5 hours – and was welcomed home with an excellent ELBNO Buff and a much loved cup of tea and piece of cake.
After a short night for some – most of the ELBNO riders took part in the following morning’s Spring marathon – the warm April sun greeted everybody on Sunday morning. With almost 300 day entries on the line the field for the Spring marathon looked massive and almost counted 1000 riders. Three distances were up for grabs with the highlight for most being the extended single track sections around Llaneglwys Forest. After last years introduction of the Mini Marathon (approx. 25km course) at the April event nearly 150 riders decided to go for this course lengths. Listening to the various interviews when riders came over the line the majority of the Mini Marathon riders were riders who never done a marathon or any other event before. The weather stayed stable throughout the day with temperatures of near 25 degrees and superb riding conditions. It felt like a real summer event and made everybody look forward to the remaining events of the season.
The event village was nice and busy with the newest and latest from most of our sponsors: Merida Bicycles, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Sortimo, High5, USE, Schwalbe, Ergon, Tourism Partnership Mid Wales, Cycle Active, Buff, CrankBrothers, Lizard Skin, Memory Map, Topeak, Fizik, Formula, Gore Bikewear, Fibrax and last but not least Exposure Lights. Without their help and dedication the 2007 series would not be possible.
By now a fixture on the Marathon series the CycleActive guys had another great weekend with booked out skills courses on Saturday and lots of kids enjoyed the excellent riding tuition on Sunday. As the Saturday rides get more and more popular we can only recommend entering yourself in advance if you want to get your free skills class at the next event. There are always two levels of skills ride to choose from, they last for about 1.5 hours and they depart on the Saturday of each marathon weekend at 12pm, 2:30pm and 5pm. Numbers are strictly limited to ensure good learning, so email email@example.com now to reserve your space. You’ll also get a goodie bag from skills sponsor Buff and a voucher off any full CycleActive training course in The Lake District.
Photos and website updates
Once again Jon Brooke was out taking pics on the course. Pics of (nearly) every rider – searchable by rider number are available from http://sleepmonsters.co.uk/photoshop.php. Jon took lots and lots of images so have a look and see if you can find yourself on there.
Bad Goisern event
With Easter out of the way and the first marathon under our belt the summer seems to be coming closer and closer. And summer means Bad Goisern time. If you haven’t been to the ‘Merida Marathon on holiday’ in your ‘marathon career’ maybe this is the year. Big mountains, clean air and thousands of other likeminded bikers from all over Europe – what a great combination! Check out the details on the event and on the accommodation deal we have organised for you on the Bad Goisern page: http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/events/bad_goisern.php. There are some super cheap flights and a very interesting package deal to be had as well. Check the Bad Goisern page for details.
Next marathon – Penrith, 11-13 June 2007
Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to the first round of the Merida Bikes MTB marathon Series in Builth Wells, as the next one is only a few weeks away. Round 2 is heading north to our new event in Penrith (http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/events/cumbria.php) where the Merida marathon will be held as part of the Cumbria Bikefest (http://www.lakedistrictoutdoors.co.uk/newsdetail.cfm?newsid=26) on the 7 – 13th June 2007. We have had lots and lots of entries through for this event with more coming in every day. If you are interested in riding this new and exciting marathon we can only recommend to be quick. Also please keep in mind that only Merida Marathon riders get free camping (see: http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/events/cumbria.php for details). To enter please go directly to the entry page http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/entry_forms/entry_forms.php to secure your entry for this great ride.