After Sunday’s stout opening stage of TransWales, there were a lot of tired and sore riders in the campsite down the road from Nant yr Arian. Certainly the editorial arse was complaining in no uncertain terms about having to sit on a saddle again. But a couple of miles on the road to the forest centre gave everyone a bit of a warm-up and let such issues settle down a bit.
Monday morning was when the actual racing started, with a team relay special stage around Nant yr Arian’s splendid swooping singletrack (with a dollop of high-level moorland track for variety). Each team’s first rider tackled the first (mainly downhill) half of the stage before handing over to their team-mate for the (predominantly uphill) second half. Solo riders obviously did the whole thing.
The special stages are the only bits of TransWales to be timed, so after Monday morning’s loop the opening positions have been decided.
It’s good news for the SheCycles.com women’s team of Kim Hurst and Heather Dawe – they’re leading their category. In Team Men, it’s Mojo Suspension (Ryan Beavis, Jonathan Pugh) in top spot, while Renell and Steven Brennan (MTB-Marathon) lead the mixed category. The Veteran leaders are Tony Gray and Mike Hayward of X-Cumbria Cyclists.
The Bikemagic teams are doing reasonably well, with John and Barbara 4th in Mixed and Mike and Dave running 33rd in Team Men.
In the solo categories, Sally Lee (Extreme Endurance)
is winning the women’s category and Philip Spencer (Bikin’ Cyprus Int’l) the men’s. All the category leaders will be wearing the variously-sponsored leaders’ jerseys on Tuesday, so Kim and Heather will be resplendent in Buff tops.
With the special stage done and dusted, it was time for a linking stage – 33km to Machynlleth across some truly spectacular countryside and on some fantastic trails. Everyone we’ve spoken to (and that’s a lot of people – we’ve never known such camaraderie at a bike event) loved it.
Tuesday sees us heading for Coed y Brenin, 75km away, before the second special stage – a night time trial on CyB’s legendary singletrack. We’ll let you know how we get on…