This Full Marathon course at the Scott MTB Builth Wells event was going to be a bit tough. Not the best training completed, illness, a decent hangover the day before and a cold night in the tent were not adding up to an optimal environment for a fast and/or easy time. However as this was my first big event since last year I was looking forward to getting it under my belt, in whatever fashion that was going to be.
The initial road section did a good job of warming me up so that when that first good climb hit I just put my head down and ground up it. It wasn’t pretty but I got there.
The next few hours were a spongy grassy drag up and down and around the moors. The sun came out, but so did the wind. I found this combination of ‘sticky’ trails, roasting sun and headwinds hard. There was also a chap who kindly sat behind me the whole way and then simply headed off once I was completely trashed. He readily admitted this to me when I turned and asked if he wanted to go in front. Charming! Aside from him, I was determined not to repeat my performance of last year, where the wind battered me down until I ditched the last 3 miles of the full course, relegating my time to a Half Marathon category. So I kept my head down, plowing on, cursing under my breath, barely acknowledging the riders I was either overtaking or were overtaking me. I am pretty good at cheery hellos but they were beyond me at that time.
The wind was really gathering pace when we dropped through a great grassy downhill into the second Feed Stop. The volunteers informed me there was no more moor climbing whoo hoo! This was about 45k round so only 20k to go, of which none were battling that wind. Gee’d up by both the banana cake, jelly babies and good news I headed down the couple of miles of road section before the quarry and muddy downhills that awaited. Also even more crucially at last there was some kind of cover for me to go for a ‘nature break’. When you are a girl with bib shorts there is no hiding up on those moors, and it was too cold just to moonie my fellow riders. I was so perked up with the all round improved conditions that I even started chatting to folk. Everyone seems to have the same struggles with the wind so we all felt we were flying now.
This last section was a faster bolt up and down the quarry road, tracking along walking paths around fields and homes, followed by a descent of muddiness that rivaled the best of them. We were then spat out on the road and the final dash to the event field remained. I had assumed there’d be that final kick up a hill to surprise us, so didn’t hang onto the group passing me en masse (I’ll be overtaking them on the climb I thought) in fact it simply turned into the finish barn, ah well. Next time I will look at the route map BEFORE the race.
I was pleased I’d finished without being too broken in a respectable 5 hrs. My season has started at last.
Big thanks to Scott #MTB_Marathon #use_exposure #cooksoncycles as my Trek Superfly continues to be awesome!
A last mention must be made of my fellow #teamjmc riders Ciara and Iona Simcock who managed 23miles and 3000ft of climbing. My girls are amazing!