“Brutal” is one of the words that have been used to describe today’s linking stage on day four of TransWales. Other words have also been used, while many riders just display reactions ranging from a weary shake of the head to slightly manic grins. One thing we’ve all had in common is being absolutely filthy at the finish – substantial rainfall during the day made for distinctly splattery conditions, especially during the second half of the stage in Dyfi Forest.
Just on paper the 75km stage looked tough, with a substantial 3,000m of climbing. In practise it was even harder – the opening section followed the MBR trail at Coed y Brenin, which isn’t the most energy-efficient way to cover distance. It’s good fun, though. Some of the technical sections proved too much for a few riders, especially when fatigue and trail dampness were thrown into the mix – BM mixed team Jon and Barbara spent half an hour tending to a rider who’d flipped over the bars and landed on his face, and there were plenty of other crashes.
The middle section was largely straightforward, if hilly and exposed. And then it was into Dyfi Forest, which packs an apparently infinite supply of fireroad climbs (that ordinarily would be straight forward middle-ring stretches but which, after four days of tough riding, all too often mutate into granny gear trundles) interspersed with sphincter-testing loose, rutted and of course wet descents.
Thankfully the weather cleared just as we completed the final plunge into the valley, giving the field the chance to try and dry some kit off – we’ve never seen so many soggy shorts on one fence…
Results from Tuesday’s TT
As far as the actual competition goes, the results are in for Tuesday’s night time trial. Handily for anyone attempting to send daily reports from a mobile phone, the special stage winners are also the overall leaders, which saves a lot of typing.
The solo leaders are Sally Lee and Philip Spencer. The SheCycles.com duo Kim Hurst and Heather Dawe are leading the women’s teams and Ryan Bevis and Jonathan Pugh (Mojo Suspension) are leading the men’s. The mixed leaders are Renell and Steven Berren and the Vets leaders are Bernard Wragge-Morley and Nick Percival.
And the BM teams? Jon and Barbara are holding steady in 8th in the Mixed cat, while a not-too-shabby 21st in the night time trial has nudged Mike and Dave a few places up the Team Men standings to 29th.
We’ve now passed the halfway point of TransWales, but there’s still a long way to go. Tomorrow (Thursday) we have a relay special stage on the Climachx trail, followed by another 70+ km linking stage. With any luck our legs’ll hold out…