The fifth day of TransWales kicked off with the third special stage, a team relay around the Climachx trail near Machynlleth. One rider rode the first half, the other the second. With the loop being mainly up then mainly down, the main tactical decision was which rider should do what. The solo competitors, of course, just had to do the whole thing.
While the Team Men and Women result held no surprises (Mojo Suspension’s Ryan Bevis and Jonathan Pugh and SheCycles’s Kim Hurst and Heather Dawe respectively), there were some new names in the other categories. The Pembroke Pedallers (Maggie Bichard and Max Jeffries) were the fastest mixed team, while Velo 95 (Ian Muir and Bob Moor) were top Vets. Joanne Carritt and Phil Spencer were the fastest soloists.
With the day’s competition over with, all (ha!) that remained was the 65km ride to Llanafan. Despite being relatively short and promising a mere 1,800m of climbing, it was still a tough stage, not helped by a couple of wayward course arrows that had large chunks of the field going the wrong way. That all sorted itself out, though. The weather was a stouter obstacle, inevitably coinciding with the time at which the bulk of the field was right out in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately the route passed through Nant yr Arian, giving us not only a dose of purpose-built singletrack but also a welcome tea-and-cake opportunity. From there it was just a splendid descent, evilly steep climb and a few km of tracks to the campsite.
Going in to Day 6, all the overall leaders remain the same except that the Pembroke Pedallers have knocked MTB-Marathon off the top of the Mixed podium – that one looks like going right to the wire.
Day six features an 80km/2,800m climbing linking stage followed by another special stage – it’s going to be a long day…