The final event of the Merida 100 MTB Marathon series brought the 2004 season to a successful close in Ruthin on 18-19 September. The weather gods were once again smiling on the 1,100 MTB marathonists who had made their way up to pit themselves against the mighty Clwydians, all of whom helped to make this year’s series a great success. In all, over 4,000 riders took part in the four events of the season.
Although this year’s season only came to an end a few weeks ago, next year’s is just waiting around the corner and 2005 will see the series growing even more. The four well-established events of Rhayader, Builth, Selkirk and Ruthin are going to stay in the series but there will also be one extra event – the Merida Spring Enduro in April, also featuring the first ever Night MTB Marathon, the “Exposure Lights Big Night Out”. But more about that in a minute.
The established events will all see reworked courses and, in particular, Rhayader and Ruthin will both see major changes. The event in Rhayader will see a reworked start (either rerouted or staggered) to avoid the bottleneck situation, plus the addition of new trails and areas that the Rhayader event has never touched before. Unfortunately Ruthin does not have a big climb to spread the riders out far enough to prevent a bottleneck so next year will see a staggered start to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Builth will have some fine tuning but nothing is going to happen to the course in Selkirk as it was praised so much by everybody for being just perfect. Word of advice on that one: If you’re thinking of entering Selkirk better make sure you get your entry in early as we expect that event to grow immensely.
The first marathon of the season will take part on 9-10 April 2005 (the weekend after the NEC Bike Show – come and see us there) somewhere around Builth Wells (final location TBC). But this one isn’t just a marathon – it has a little twist. Together with Exposure Lights we are proud to announce the first ever night marathon, the Exposure Lights Big Night Out.
You can tackle this 50km, fully waymarked course in a pair or solo armed with front and rear lights. The event will be limited to 500 riders and will require experience in night riding as well as endurance riding. There will be a compulsory checklist (please expect to be checked) which will guarantee the best possible preparation for every rider to tackle this little adventure. The first 100 entries will be provided with a free loan of the new Exposure Light Enduro set. With a burn time of up to 16 hours that will easily get you through the night. Besides the Exposure Lights Big Night Out there’s also a normal day marathon on Sunday, with two different courses and will offer everybody the chance to blow the cobwebs out after the long winter break. There will be a £10 discount for everybody keen enough to do both marathons (night and day).
Here’s the complete list of the Merida 100 MTB Marathon Series 2005 and their locations:
- 9-10 April 2005: Night Enduro “Exposure Light’s Big Night Out” and Merida 100 Round 1, Wales (exact location TBA)
- 28-29 May 2005: Merida 100 Round 2, Rhayader
- 2-3 July 2005: Merida 100 Round 3, Builth Wells
- 9 July 2005: Merida 100 “on holiday”, Bad Goisern, Austria
- 30-31 July 2005: Merida 100 Round 4, Selkirk
- 17-18 September 2005: Merida 100 Round 5, Ruthin
The new issue of the MTB-Marathon Magazine (everybody who’s ever taken part in one of the 100 events will receive a free copy) will go to print around New Year and will be full of features about the 2004 series, training planner, diet tips, technical tips and lots of other useful to know things from the world of MTB-Marathon riding. The www.mtb-marathon.co.uk website will also be updated in the next few weeks and will see a comprehensive winter and spring training plan so that everyone can get into shape early or sustain their fitness level through the cold months.
The site will also have tips and further details about the Exposure Lights Big Night Out and a straightforward way of entering the 2005 events. The first entry form will be available around New Year but if you want to make sure you get one as soon as it comes out just send your SAE to: Merida 100 MTB Marathon Enduro Series, Attn: John Lloyd, Builth Wells Cycles, Smithfield Road, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3AN.