Transwales Express

There’s under a month to go until the start of the 2010 Gore Bike Wear Powered By Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport TransWales and with it, my blind initiation into the world of enduro pain and suffering!

I’ve heard a lot about these events, stories of week-long struggles against aching muscles, burning lungs, sleep deprivation and of course, the obligatory battle with nature’s elements.

Others have said they are easy, just like an extended Sunday ride, nothing to be afraid of – somehow I doubt it! 500km in 7 days seem much more painful ache than Sunday cake.

If the idea is one that appeals to you, Mike at TransWales has told me there are still a few spaces left for singles and paired teams. Or if you fancy a mini taste of the action, the organisers have created a new option, the Mini Trans – where you can tackle a few stages instead of the whole event – a great way to blood someone into the enduro culture (I feel this may have been a good idea for me too!) To enter either event click here

I must admit that I’m currently experiencing a range of feelings towards the main event – mostly fear, excitement and trepidation.

I’m looking forward to the challenge, this is the first ever enduro event that I’ve entered and I’m determined to finish, although I’ve become plagued by a recurring nightmare recently where I fail, where I give up and throw in the towel, collapsed into a heap at the side of a Welsh mountain.

On better news, I’ve also been given a confidence boost

This! My bike for the event.

It’s a Sunn Shamann S1 and I think it looks fantastic (like the proverbial bull, I am partial to red)

Weighing in at just over 24lbs, the aluminium tubed Sunn has SID forks, a Monarch air shock, Formula disks and an X.9 drivetrain. And, after taking it around the trails at Coed Llandegla in Wales, on first reflection, I’m impressed.

I thought the light weight would make it skitterish and loose to control, but the geometry has resulted in a fantastic climbing bike, while I admit the climbs at Llandegla aren’t the most challenging, I felt confident that with this bike I could at least have the illusion of the fabled ‘climbers legs’.

On the downs, the bike responds exactly how you want it to and just seems to gide effortlessly through everything. I do have a few issues with the handling but  that is purely down to the cockpit set up. The narrow bars currently on there don’t suit my style – so as soon as I get some 700mm+ steel up front and some chunkier tyres on there (I’m turning into Matt!) I think this bike may earn a soft spot in my biking eyes.

I also have the feeling that I will break long before this machine does.