The organisers are ready. The hills are ready. The sheep are ready. In one month’s time it’s time for Bearded Man to kick off the 2012 Black Mountains 3 Day (or BM3D for short).
Now in its second year, the BM3D is a three day, three stage, mountain bike endurance event set in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
It’s going to be hard
Taking in at least 4355m of climbing over its 160km length, it’s a hard event. It’s an extremely rewarding event. The route takes in all that the Black Mountains have to offer. There’s some pretty unforgiving terrain in places and some tough technical trails to deal with.
Riders will find themselves in some amazing scenery and epic landscapes. Riders will traverse moorland, forests, valleys, hilltops and scale steep cliffs both ways. There will be some hike-a-bike sections, although the fitter the rider the less of this there will be. The BM3D is very different to multiple lap endurance races.
“Having the opportunity to show riders the outstanding riding and scenery in the Brecon Beacons was one of the highlights for Bearded Man’s trail crew. Putting on a fully serviced event like the Black Mountains 3 Day has been a lot of work, but the response we got from riders has made it all worth it. The atmosphere and spirit of last year’s event was brilliant. Seeing the state of the riders on Sunday afternoon I was sure we had achieved our objective of hosting a tough weekend of riding – fortunately everyone was still talking to me which was good,” says David Warren, BM3D organiser.
It’s going to be easy
BM3D is an event with a difference. It’s an event with quite a few differences. One vital difference is the fully-supported nature of the event. The riding will be more than demanding enough for competitors so the organisers Bearded Man make everything else as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Arriving at the finish of each day’s stage, competitors will have everything laid on for them. Hot showers, mechanics, bike wash, massages, tailored nutrition and, most appreciated of all, the pre-pitched tented village.
“I enjoyed the entire weekend so much! The course was long enough to make it a challenge, technical enough to make it enjoyable, signposted very well to never get worried and the scenery so gorgeous that it was hard to believe I wasn’t on holiday somewhere. I really hope it will take place again next year and me and along with everyone else I spoke to during the weekend.” – Emmy Hoyes, BM3D competitor.
The BM3D route
The entire route will be clearly marked with signage. In case sheep decide to eat some of the race tape it’s recommended for riders to use a GPS if possible. Marshals will be located at critical points on the route to ensure the safety of both the riders and the public. There’ll also be roaming marshals moving along the route in case of emergencies and to help with any problems or issues. There will be at least one full feed station available on each day’s stage. Due to the length of the stages there’ll also be free chain lube available at these stations too.
Stage 1, Friday June 29
The weekend kicks off in style with an early evening Time Trial around the Myarth Woodland in the Glanusk Estate. Incredibly fun riding to be had in the woodland. Some steep climbs and twisty singletrack winding through the trees. The start is literally right at the tented village so there is no neutral section to get to the start.
Stage 2, Saturday June 30
The BM3D ‘proper stuff’. Over 70km of trails. More than 2300m of climbing. The real meat of this stage begins at around 15km in so riders will be nicely warmed up by then. The real gem of this day’s route is the cheekily challenging Mynydd Du forest trails. The subsequent Hermitage climb between Mynydd Llysiau and Waun Fach will test riders’ mettle. This year the route heads over Llangorse to take in a great 7km descent. An epic day is an understatement.
Stage 3, Sunday July 1
Not as much climbing as Stage 2 (a ‘mere’ 2055m) but at 76km Stage 3 is the longest day of the BM3D. This day’s route is all about two high points. At the 27km mark riders will be rewarded with an awesome view overlooking Talybont reservoir, arguably the best view of the whole BM3D. The other high point of the day is the infamous Gap and its rocky demands. The route finishes with one last hurtle around Myarth Woodland before heading back to camp for a well-deserved rest and celebration.
“I had an amazing time! From the second we arrived to when we left everything was sorted. The atmosphere at the event (on the trail and in the village) was brilliant. From the great food, top coffee and the massage team it was just excellent, that’s without mentioning some if the best trails I’ve ridden. I am so pleased to have taken part! One of the toughest, most ridiculously fun weekends I’ve had in years.” – Aidan, BM3D competitor.
Find out more about BM3D and enter online
There’s loads of information available on the BM3D website. Entries are available online there too http://blackmountains3day.co.uk