I always find the Scott MTB Marathons a challenge, and this one all the more so as I’ve been training on my road bike a lot more this year, so fitness might be OK but my technical skills are rusty. Ironically a 24 hr event only helps your skills on the lap, and after a few you quickly understand what you need to do. This is 75K of changing terrain.
True to form after the first grueling up hill, in the baking sun no less, I had to negotiate a variety of rocky moor singletracks, tricky to ‘warm up’ my technique on. However I survived that and another grinding up hill over grassy banks and track meant being truly embedded back into MTBing again. The Scott course terrain are always a good combination of landscape and skill with some stunning views of the surrounding countryside. I was starting to remember from the previous year that this one was heavily loaded in the first 2/3 and that if I got to that point intact the remainder was more forest track and fast country paths. Perhaps giddy from the sun or just keeping my head down I missed two different turn offs, one in Loggerheads and one on the roads above Ruthin! Luckily I couldn’t have lost more than 10mins at most as invariably there was another rider returning from having made the same mistake.
The heat of the day and the quickly changing gradients threatened cramp all over, and weirdly enough including my arms. I almost completely re-filled my back pack at the 2nd feedstop to fend it off. I was successful. Reaching the last uphill after feedstop 3 is a welcome wide track on which we were all crawling by this time (the people taking the same time as me at least), but cresting the top and hurtling down the fields, woods, lanes and roads, in that still brilliant sunshine, to the finish was elating. My final position was 3rd in Female vets.
When I am in these marathons I am focusing on getting round so perhaps do not take the time to enjoy them. However I do recommend them to anyone as they really encompass all elements of MTB riding in a select number of very well managed events in glorious settings.
Thanks to Rachael and Lee for letting us sleep in their tent, Cooksons Cycles as my Trek Superfly continues to be awesome, and of course the family, Phil, Iona and Ciara who easily managed the 15 miles of the Mini Marathon.