Welsh Ride Thing 2010

by Chipps 15

Finally, a report from the Welsh Ride Thing – a mainly Singletrack-forum-inspired event that combines the self-sufficiency aspect of a Polaris with the ‘you’re on your own’ aspect of the Great Divide Race, only on a much, much smaller scale… Stuart Wright – chief dis-organiser, takes up the tale:

A land of water and wonky bars...
Escaping the rain

For those who don’t know, the Welsh Ride Thing takes place at the end of May and this year as the riders rolled into mid Wales so did the rain, wind and cold weather. Around 60 riders braved the conditions for the noon start on Saturday.

'Normally I skip up this...'
The loneliness of the long distance weekender

There had been quite a bit of chat on the STW forum in the weeks leading up to the Thing. Much discussion about route choice and offers of bribes to those in possession of local knowledge, what to take for the three days and how to carry it featured heavily. It was no surprise then, that just about every type of bike and load carrying combination rolled up to the start, full sussers towing trailers to hardcore hardtails with riders sagging under the strain of some very big rucksacks.

Ooh! We know this trail - it's great isn't it?

At 12.00pm there was no whistle or dropping of flags, instead riders quietly pedalled off in to the mist and rain in which ever direction they saw fit … a few were pointed in a better direction than the one they’d first chosen though. If there were no injuries or serious mechanicals then I didn’t expect to see anyone until Monday lunch time.

Feeling. The. Joy.

This year riders had been given 13 grid references but would only be required to use 11 of their choice. These points would be the basis of everyone’s route but every route could be very different, route distances seemed to be somewhere between 150km and 200km. Navigation in mid Wales isn’t always the most straight forward of things, combined with the interesting terrain, weather conditions and loaded bikes it was surprising most rode as far as they did. One person managed all 13 grid references, another handful completed their lovingly planned routes but the majority settled on short (often long) cuts and diversions to see them back at a reasonable hour Monday.

What better way to spend a bank holiday. Er...
Hang around long enough and the weather always improves

The weather decided to be a little kinder for the remainder of the weekend, the bothies of Saturday night giving way to bivvy bags on Sunday (glad I included the bothies now aren’t you?). The weary, muddy and aching started to roll back in from mid morning, big smiles and 1000 yard stares were the order of the day. Tea was drunk, Welsh cakes were scoffed and stories of hardship and suffering abounded but oddly everyone said they’d be back next year.

Feeling the sun on pasty-white legs

A thank you to everyone who donated prizes – Singletrack, Dirt, AlpKit, Cicerone, Velo Solo, Trail blazer and Gil at The Cycle Shed. To everyone who rode, well done, the Wales Air Ambulance is now better off to the tune of a few hundred quid … see you next year.

Comments (15)

  1. weirdly I quite fancy doing this next year.

  2. weirdly? It was the best three days riding I’ve ever had!

  3. I never was a trailquest kinda guy…

  4. Not really trailquest, you get a whole month to plan your route not just a few hours. Imagine a stage race, eg Transwales … well it’s like that only the stage is much bigger and you have to make your own tea, put your own tent up and pretty much fend for yourself.

  5. Put me down for next yrs fun..

  6. This looks amazing. I will definitely be there next year after all I’ve heard about it.

  7. I will never forgot this ride, me and Chew Setting off nice and dry and with in 20mins soaked to the bone. Followed by getting lost in the mist for a good few hours. Eventually spotting a fellow rider flashing his torch at us from the bothy at the other side of the valley. I have never been so happy to find a run down shack with a wood floor that slept about 12 people that night.

    The morning after with a empty stomach and loosing the will to live we somehow found a Post office which doubled up as a cafe! “i love welsh post offices”. And then the sun came out. Brilliant!

    Great weekend, Great Riding, Great atmosphere, Great people, Great Adventure.

    See you next year

  8. well one thing in its favour is that it actually took place unlike all the other events in Wales I entered this year…

  9. Great write up, I’m the numpty in the yellow top and green helmet on photos 3 and 5.

    We opted for the 7 or 8 or was it 9 points, sod it lets get to the pub for a big meal near the end option on Sunday night option.

    It was great when returning back and no body handed their notes over to Stuart to prove or disprove what they did. We just knew he wouldn’t look at them and just put them straight into the bin near the cakes at the end.

    Would I do it in 2011? I’m not sure and that’s definate….

  10. hey – some of those pictures are mine.
    to enjoy the rest, see my blog thing here: http://yeahyeahyeahyeah-yeah.blogspot.com/2010/05/welsh-ride-thing.html

    it was a great weekend and i’m sure it’ll be much bigger next year…

  11. pasty white legs!! i am outraged!!

    actually they were pretty sunburnt by monday – top tip losing the suntan lotion is not a weightsaving top tip 😉

    best ride/race/event i have done for a long long time – helped only in part by very friendly riders/ organisers/ loacls and landlords.

  12. Similarly some of the photos are mine also. For anyone who’s interested in some other views use the link below.


    Cracking event! Though we didn’t get back till 7pm on the Monday! First time in that part of the world and the scenery was stunning in a desolate no-one-is-here kind of way!

  13. Working link for the above comment.


  14. wonky bars!! i am outraged!!

    More pictures of my wonky bars here

  15. Was an awesome weekend! That’s me in the red waterproof in pics 2,4, and 8. All taken by placid_casual.

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