Here’s a report from the rather sunny opening round of the Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon Series, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport, at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells with video from the Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport team and the lens of Rob Kitchin…
Weather wise we always thought that last year would be a difficult act to follow but early indicates promised warm weather and dry courses. And for once the forecast was not just right it under-promised, giving the riders bone dry trails and almost summer like temperatures. So the framework was in place for a great start to the season.
With the weekend being a busy weekend in the UK cycling calendar expectations were conservative but the Exposure Lights Big Night Out once again had almost 300 riders on the start sheet. 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 in slowly everybody lined up to get any last minute instructions and at around 7.45pm the Exposure Lights Big Night Out finally got on the road. Almost 300 riders made their way onto the specifically designed night marathon course in the hills surrounding Builth Wells. The conditions out on course were superb and super fast but due to the more demanding route and the extension in length in comparison to the previous year the fastest rider took almost 2 hours to complete the 43km loop. With a high quality field and everybody out there wanting to prove themselves the leader position was hard fought over all the way to the finish line. The 1st rider made it back into the event village in 1 hour and 56 minutes picking up the unique ELBNO T-shirt while the list rider took 4 hours and 22 minutes to complete the course.
The lights in the hall finally went out at 1am highlighting the clear and cold night. Sunday morning came and the riders (campers and Sunday morning arrives) were again greeted with glorious sunshine.
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 single track packed courses on offer. Even with the strong winter keeping riders from getting their ‘spring legs’ in time for the event the long distance remained the most popular distance of the weekend. Due to the high calibre field and the super conditions out on course the approx. 75km long ‘middle marathon’ was completed in just 3 hours and 15 minutes with the last rider crossing the line to pick up the well deserved event T-shirt after just over 7 hours .
In particular the final sections through Cefndyrys Woods (situated on the back of the event venue and featured in the final stage of the TransWales 2010 and 2011) was loved by the riders as it served them with a heavy load of twisty single track before rolling descending towards the finish line.
The 1st event was a great showcase of what the Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon Series 2011 powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport will be all about. If you couldn’t make it to the April round don’t worry as the upcoming months have lots more new and great stuff up their sleeves. Here a quick reminder when and where the next few events will take place.
Other events in the series are:
21-22nd May — Llandovery (CycleOps Power Road Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
2-3rd July — Marshbrook (CycleOps Power Road Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
23-24th July — Selkirk (CycleOps Power Road Sportive to be run on Saturday and the MTB Marathon on Sunday)
17-18th September — Ruthin (ELBNO Night Marathon 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 and if you want to find out more about the CycleOps Power Road Sportive Series then please go to our newly created Sportive Site.
We would like to thank our sponsors for their ongoing support: Chain Reaction Cycles, Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport, High5, USE, Schwalbe, CycleActive, Saris, Squirt, Buff, Phase9, Birzman, Ernest Press, Polaris, Stans Notube, Fibrax, and last but not least Exposure Lights. Without their help and dedication the 2011 series would not be possible.
At this event we had two photographers out on the course; our regular photographer, Jon Brooke and his colleague – the idea being to give you an even greater selection of images to choose from. Check out Jon’s website HERE where you can find your photos to view and to buy.
If you liked the sound of this and fancy taking part in the next marathon, which will take place in Llandovery on the 21-22nd May 2011, then head to the www.mtb-marathon.co.uk site