1st Merida Bikes MTB Marathon – Report and Pics

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Michael from Merida writes…

The event took place at the new venue of the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells over the Easter weekend. With the weeks leading up to the event been rather blessed with dry conditions the trails were in perfect shape and luckily for everybody the weather didn’t decide to turn against us for once. With almost 1200 starters over the weekend the 1st round was once again a busy start to the season.

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The weekend
As over the last 5 years the only (as far as we know) night marathon the EXPOSURE LIGHTS BIG NIGHT OUT opened the season with almost 240 riders on the line. The event village opened at the usual time with a broad spread of exhibition and trade stands offering their services to the arriving crowds.

With darkness setting slowly in everybody lined up to get any last minute instructions and crossed their fingers during the draw for the Exposure Lights kindly donated by the event sponsor Exposure Lights presented by Rory Hitchens. With no further ado the EXPOSURE LIGHTS BIG NIGHT OUT finally got on the road at 7.45pm. Almost 240 riders made their way onto the newly designed course in the hills surrounding Builth Wells. The conditions out on course were superb and super fast and after only 1 hour and 57 minutes the first rider came over the line of the almost 50km long course picking up the traditional Night Marathon BUFF (this year an appropriate high viz version of the popular head wear) . Once passed the finish line and rewarded with the special BUFF the riders warmed up in the event hall with tea, coffee and cake and getting themselves ready for Sunday.

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The lights in the marquee finally went out at 2am highlighting the clear and eve so cold night. Sunday morning came and the riders (campers and Sunday morning arrives) were greeted with glorious sunshine.

The following morning at the slightly later start time of 10.30am (to give all the night riders who wanted a second ride more recovery time) almost 900 riders lined up to tackle one of the 3 new courses on offer. Rather than giving out one bike the Merida Bike screw gave away five ‘50% off any Merida Bike vouchers’ to five lucky starters which went down rather well. This year the most popular distance was the approx. 68km long ‘middle marathon’ which due to the high calibre field and the super conditions out on course was completed I less than 3 hours.

The 1st event was a great showcase of what is to come in 2009 and with two new locations (Crickhowell and Llanwrtyd Wells) in the upcoming months there lots more new and great stuff up our sleeves. Here a quick reminder when and were the next few events will take place.

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Other events in the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series 2009.
If you can’t make it to the April round of the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series 2009 – don’t worry there is plenty more going on in our 2009 series. Here the other dates and location on offer.

15-16th May — Crickhowell (MTB marathon to be run on Sunday)
4-5th July — Llanwrtyd Wells (GORE BIKE WEAR™ Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
18th July — ‘Merida Marathon on holiday’ Bad Goisern, Austria
1-2nd August — Selkirk (GORE BIKE WEAR™ Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
19-20th September — Ruthin (GORE BIKE WEAR™ Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)

To find out more about the various locations go to the events page of the MTB-Marathon site (http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/events/events.php).

Bad Goisern event (18th July)
With Easter out of the way and the first marathon under our belt the summer seems to be coming closer and closer. And summer means Bad Goisern time. If you haven’t been to the ‘Merida Marathon on holiday’ in your ‘marathon career’ maybe this is the year. Big mountains, clean air and thousands of other likeminded bikers from all over Europe – what a great combination! Check out the details on the event and on the accommodation deal we have organised for you on the Bad Goisern page: http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/events/bad_goisern.php. There are some super cheap flights and a very interesting package deal to be had as well. Check the Bad Goisern page for details.

Next marathon – Crickhowell on the 15-16th May 2009
Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to the first round of the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon Series in Builth Wells, as the next one is only a few weeks away. After enjoying perfect conditions and heavily reworked courses as well as some new additions at the 1st round the 2nd round of the series will go to entire new location at the Glanusk Estate in Crickhowell. The event will concentrate entirely on the marathon rides on Sunday before we adding the GORE BIKE WEAR™ Road Sportive to the line-up at the next round in Llanwrtyd Wells (4-5th July). To find out more about the May round (including course description and profiles) please go to the Crickhowell event page: http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/events/crickhowell.php. The entry is open and to enter please go directly to the entry page http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/entry_forms/entry_forms.php where you can either download an entry form or enter directly through the new online entry service.

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