The whole Simcock family (Phil, Jaqqui, Ciara and Iona) along with Jason Miles and Mike Sudder all took part in the Ruthin mountain bike marathon at the weekend – Phil rode the 25K route with the kids, Mike opted to tackle the 50K route and Jacqui and Jason both took on the 75K route.

The sun shone, the feed stations had plenty of cake and jelly babies and everyone completed the challenge safely.

Jacqui had a better experience than her wet and windy ride at the Church Stretton event…

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“I am very pleased to report there is no drama involved in my round up of the Scott MTB 75K Marathon at Builth Wells. This is a positive as the two other Scott rides this year have been eventful for one reason or another so this was definitely third time lucky!

The event started in glorious sunshine and this remained for the whole event. After a bunch start rolling along the roads, I had been warned of the hard first climb and it did not disappoint. It was a cracking pull up to the final top section on the moors.

Once out of the way, and quite literally being warmed up, I dropped into an more regular rhythm to tackle the sharp ups and downs of the first 40K or so, over single track, roads and bridle paths. This was predominantly over more open fields, moors and bridleways so the sun’s heat was really beating down.

The technicality of the trails seemed easier than other Scott marathons, although this may have just been down to there being no adverse conditions to cope with, such as gale force winds, sliding mud, rain storms and a bike I didn’t know how to ride.

The first feed station appeared and I stopped long enough just to fill up. The next section was my least enjoyable as I was not fuelled well enough, leaving me just slogging it out. By the time I reached the second station I’d long polished off my energy drink and was starting to feel the twinges of cramp.

I drank as much as I could in the hope of warding this off. The second half was gratefully  faster. It took us over gradients that were less severe and a great deal more forest tracks, helping to shelter the sun and provide a different riding surface. There were also interesting hidden away lanes and single track, which I found great fun, so the miles flew by.

Fatigue started to develop on the super steep sections, although in total, I still felt relatively strong. However on an innocuous rise out of a forest track onto a small road my cramp suddenly sprang into action. It was on one leg fully and creeping in on the other leg. It was that or someone with a monster pair of steel foundry tongs had just grabbed the back of my legs.

Downing even more liquid I spent a good five/ten mins stretching out, then proceeding with caution and spinning on any hills instead of standing up onto my pedals. At last the final feed station came into view, marking that there was not long left to go. I had to re-fill again as there was no way I was going to let my cramp stop me climbing the last hill, and more importantly, enjoying the downhill, before the finish.

I’d worked hard for that! This did the trick and I pushed it all the way into Ruthin unscathed. Result? Very pleased, as I was 3rd in Female vets with only 17 mins separating me from the fastest. The statistic I like even more is being 45th out of the combined 83 Male and Female Vets.

What a fantastic event the MTB_marathon is, and Ruthin location my firm favourite. My storming Cookson Cycles Trek bike is bedding in well and the USE/Exposure lads are always present and super helpful, as always.”

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Jason decided to treat the ride as the first half of an 8 hour training ride so finished the route, had a cuppa and carried on riding for a few hours….

“Even the longest route today was ‘only’ 75K, so that would tick off four hours. I made sure it was a hard four hours  – I rode with Matt for a bit, rode with Dave for a bit and due to not being able to drop down into the small chainring, I utterly killed myself on the very first climb in order to stay with some friendly faces. The small chainring would see some action later in the ride but confusingly (to me), I was only able to change gear properly once the bike was well and truly covered in mud and poo.

Anyway, a very steep and hilly 4 hours and a couple of feed station stops later I finished, ages behind Nick Craig but 14th overall which wasn’t too bad. A quick coffee, a change of jersey and a bit of route advice from a local and I was on my way along the road to Llandegla. I left the car in Ruthin and I reckoned I could ride to ‘Degla, get a couple of laps in and then ride back.

The ride there was a grind up the Nant Y Garth pass into a headwind but it took less than an hour. Café was still open, but cos I’m a focussed individual at the moment I rode past it and straight up the first climb to start a lap of the black route.

After the black I just had time to go round the blue trail, which is waaay more awesome than it sounds. Saw John and Tom in the Exposure Lights van just as I was leaving –  we had a quick chat then I enjoyed a quicker ride back to Ruthin to the car.”