Cymru MTB Classic

Cancelled: The Cymru MTB Classic, (Not) New for 2022

by and 61

Story Update – 4th Feb 2022

When we posted the original story below, the comments section jumped straight to a discussion that went something along the lines of ‘who would pay that much to race in Wales for a couple of days?’. Perhaps the answer is ‘not enough people’, as the event has been called off in an announcement on the event’s website:

Important Event Update

We’ve geared up for a new year of celebrating the love of mountain biking with you on brand new trails and in spectacular destinations around the world.

Sadly, after collective consideration on community impact, resources, and how we can ensure the best race experience that meets the needs of our riders and community, we regret to inform you that the 2022 Cymru MTB Classic set to take place on June 17-19, 2022 has been cancelled.

Our team has been working hard towards building a unique race showcasing the scenery and terrain of Wales in 2022 and are extremely disappointed not to be able to host you.

All registered teams have been contacted with their refund and transfer options, and can reach out to us at for further assistance.

We thank you for your understanding and look forward to seeing you on the trails soon.

Cyrmu MTB Classic website

How much would you pay for a stage race in the UK? And what would you want to see as part of it? From the comments last time, it seems like there is an appetite to do stage races, but what are your key ingredients? Do you want trails and scenery, a comfortable bed for the night, and feed stations along the way – and at what cost? Start your fantasy wish list in the comments below.

– Hannah

Original story below:

New for 2022, the Cymru MTB classic is a multi-day stage race for teams of two. This event will be the UK’s first qualifier for the Absa Cape Epic. Set to take place in Snowdonia from 17-19 June 2022. There are three stages over 150km with 3600m of climbing. Teams will have to work together in order to get their medal. Registration opens on 4 August 2021 and entries start at £899 per team.

Cymru MTB Classic 2022

Here’s what the release says about the event:

From 17 to 19 June 2022, this Epic Series race held in Southern Snowdonia is set to change the UK’s mountain biking scene for good, thanks to its multiple stages and 2-person team format; combined with the Welsh welcome and world-renowned hospitality.

The Cymru MTB Classic presents a 150km cloverleaf route across Gwynedd County’s countryside; much of which has been previously inaccessible for a timed race format. In 2022, for the first time, teams will get to explore the region’s extensive network of trails. There’s natural and man-made, bridle paths boasting outstanding beauty, and spectacular descents off craggy peaks. Riders will return to Dolgellau at the end of each stage to celebrate the day’s achievements.

Cymru MTB Classic

Dolgellau and Snowdonia have long been the Mecca for UK mountain biking. It offers an outstanding variety of terrain and trail, from wild and remote mountain paths, ancient bridleways, old drover roads and farm tracks, to purpose-built, hand crafted singletrack in the UK’s original trail centre. In choosing trails for the Cymru MTB Classic I have kept a focus on highlighting this variety of terrain and trail against the spectacular scenery of this quieter corner of Snowdonia in Gwynedd County.

Steve Beech, Route Designer and Course Director of the Cymru MTB Classic
Cymru MTB Classic

Riding in Wales

The route includes a visit to the spiritual home of mountain biking in the UK, the Coed-y-Brenin forest. Coed-y-Brenin was the first forest developed for mountain biking and, to this day, retains its reputation as a premier location.

While mountain biking has been hugely popular across the UK for years, and particularly in Wales, riders have never had the chance to take on the challenges and enjoyments that an Epic Series event presents. A fully-timed, multi-day stage race in a two-person team format on home soil. We have some of the best MTB trails in the world. So the next logical step is to bring the most prestigious international mountain biking series to Snowdonia to showcase them.

Dean Smith, Cymru MTB Classic Race Director

As part of the Epic Series’ global portfolio of best-in-class mountain bike stage races, riders can expect a mountain biking experience that is second to none. On the bike, the Cymru MTB Classic is a celebration of mountain biking. Teams can expect to explore the region’s most incredible trails, conquering and achieving together. Off the bike, these same teams will be treated to Wales’ unique and welcoming culture in the race villages.

Cymru MTB Classic

We as a Council are very pleased to have been working closely with Welsh Government and the Epic Series. This is the first event of its kind in the UK. It will be based in Dolgellau and the surrounding areas, initially over the next three years, but we hope for much longer. We are extremely pleased the event organisers have engaged with the local community to gain support. As well as their emphasis on the Welsh language and culture of the area.

Cllr Gareth Thomas Cabinet member for the Economy and Community
Absa Cape Epic

While the focus of the Cymru MTB Classic is mountain biking amongst like-minded people in one of the most magical places on the planet, qualification spots are also awarded to participate in the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, either via performance or draw.

Cymru MTB classic

The Absa Cape Epic, the pinnacle event in the Epic Series, has been described as the Tour de France of mountain biking. It attracts the world’s best racers as well as ambitious amateurs from across the world.

With the United Kingdom accounting for a large percentage of applicants to ride the Absa Cape Epic each year, the opportunity to qualify on UK soil is sure to entice the region’s most passionate riders. But like all Epic Series races, it’s not just about the racing at the sharp end. All participants can expect a world-class full service event, in an iconic travel destination, with plenty of opportunity to enjoy the social atmosphere off the bike.

Kati Csak, Global Director of the Epic Series

The Route

Stage One

Stage one is 46km with 1000m of climbing.

Stage one mtb cymru epic

Day one’s route is a huge loop circling the extinct volcano of Rhobell Fawr. Leaving Dolgellau, riders quickly find themselves climbing into the farmland hills and forests north of the town. Here they hit the highest point of day one. 16km into the stage Rhobell Fawr looming large to their West.

From there the spectacular views continue downhill through tracks and bridleways dropping into Cwm Hasgen near the source of the Mawddach river. Then picking up the rocky Roman road Sarn Helen. After passing the halfway point, riders are treated to their first taste of Coed-y-Brenin to test the skills and appetite for speed on singletrack. The final miles take in a steady descent along the Mawddach valley returning to the stage finish line in Dolgellau.

Cymru MTB Classic
Stage Two

Stage two is 56km with 1500m of climbing.

Stage two Cymru MTB Classic

Heading south from Dolgellau, riders are straight into the climbs with over 400m of ascent in the first few kilometres, crossing the foothills of Cadair Idris. The reward is a fast descent through forest tracks, passing the Aberllefenni slate quarry and the quiet village of Corris. Then climbing again into the Dyfi Forest and taking on one of the longest singletrack descents in the UK.

From there more flowing forest trail awaits, with some big climbs and challenging descents, with awesome views of the entire Cadair Idris mountain range. Riders will need to conserve energy for the final challenging climb over the aptly named Fron Fawr (Big Hill) before the descent back into Dolgellau.

Cymru MTB Classic
Stage Three

Stage three is 48km with 1100m of climbing.

Stage three Cymru MTB Classic

Riders will bid farewell to Dolgellau for the final time during Stage 3 as they prepare for a Grand Finale befitting of a celebration. There’s no shortage of climbing on this final stage. With a big climb straight from the start up to and over the Bwlch Goriward pass. The trail then drops past goldmines and waterfalls into the UK’s spiritual home of mountain biking, Coed-y-Brenin Forest.

Teams will enjoy some of the best and toughest singletrack the centre has to offer before climbing out into the shadow of the Rhinog mountain range. Then they’ll drop through Cwm Mynach (the Welsh Rainforest) and over the picturesque Penmaenpool wooden bridge on their race to claim the Cymru MTB Classic finisher’s medal. 

Cymru MTB Classic

For more head to the website.

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Not too good about writing about myself, but not so bad at writing about other things. There was a time that I hated bikes, but then they became my life. Wouldn't be the person I am if I hadn't been on this journey. Here's to bikes, drinking tea and everything that comes with life on two wheels. I'm Lauren, I like bikes and writing about them. Always trying my best and up for adventures.

More posts from Lauren

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 61 total)
  • The Cymru MTB Classic, New for 2022
  • johnnystorm
    Full Member

    “Racing on bridleways” and “how much?!” are my first thoughts.

    Free Member

    900 notes for 150km riding, so £6/km. better be some pretty f’ing special trail or it’s a no from me

    Full Member

    I’m pretty keen!

    And being picky, it actually works out at £3 per km as £900 is for a pair!

    Full Member

    better be some pretty f’ing special trail or it’s a no from me

    Dyfi BP and CyB for a fair chunk, it looks like. Hopefully off piste rather than timing you down the Addams Family alongside the general public.

    I was expecting some accommodation for that dosh, maybe your own tent a la BC Bike Race, but apparently not.

    Full Member

    Is there a reason for the comments being invisible?

    Full Member


    For me it’s my phone going into dark-mode at night. I switched it off and can read again! 🤣

    (It’s fine in the forum, it’s under the news item it vanishes)

    Full Member

    Ah – cheers. Weirdly it’s fine on my phone but not on the iPad. I’d assumed they were trying to mask the multitude of “HOW MUCH???” comments. 🤣

    Full Member

    Stages aren’t much more than XCO distance so will mean furious racing at the sharp end, which I guess is the draw if you’re fast.

    If you’re not then it seems like a tough sell but at least the format is fitness accessible.

    Free Member

    I’m delighted to see someone trying to bring more stage racing to the UK, but for me that’s silly money, especially as accommodation etc is extra.

    For that sort of money I’d be looking at going to Poland again to do Sudety / Beskidy, which I reckon you could do for less money, including flights and the hotel upgrade.

    Also the distances are way too short each day. At race pace you’ll only be out for about 3 hours!


    Full Member

    We’re hopefully fixing the dark mode issue… 🙂
    I did note that you could do that 1800km Silk Road race for similar money. There’s no accommodation there either, but at least your £/km is going to be a bit better…

    Free Member

    I was interested too….until I saw the cost. You could do a longer stage race abroad (as Chipps says) for that kind of money. So, £150 a day each – for not much more in terms of facilities than a Scott MTB Marathon type sportive race that comes in around £40 for the day. Blimey.

    It’s pity as it would be really good to see this kind of thing in the UK.

    Full Member

    That entry fee is ridiculous. Profiteering at its worst.

    Free Member

    I’m delighted to see someone trying to bring more stage racing to the UK, but for me that’s silly money, especially as accommodation etc is extra.

    +1. At the minimum a tented option should be included.

    Full Member

    How many times has someone tried to get something like this going?

    Full Member

    for not much more in terms of facilities than a Scott MTB Marathon type sportive race that comes in around £40 for the day. Blimey.

    Plus all three stages are basically half-day rides, even at my very mediocre pace. The Scott Marathons are more like 70km.

    Free Member

    mrhoppy – Trans Wales did this very well over the years. I did it three times and it always seemed like good value for money…

    Full Member

    What a shame it costs so much, I’d have been bang up for that and I reckon a lot of my riding mates would too.

    Full Member

    All of the Epic events are expensive nowadays, they’ve built their brand up (now owned by IronMan I think) and they’re premium cost events but do come with good organisation and supporting care. Like many have pointed out, the pricing without accommodation seems odd – I’d assumed camping would have been the default for the event and included in that price.

    As someone else points out above, stage racing events have been tried in the UK and seem to struggle. Part of that is the inability to race on anything that is not “private” land, and bridleways can only be connecting routes. Then you have to factor in scale – many trails can’t cope with large numbers of riders, whereas events would be more cost effective if you were able to host several hundred riders rather than 100 or less. And then general labour costs to help set up race villages (particularly if they move during the event) are also higher than other locations.

    I really hope it’s a success and paves the way for more similar events. The UK has many great areas for riding and it would be lovely for many people to be able to race in new locations.

    Free Member

    Looks like it could be fun, I’d love to do some mtb stage racing. But why the hell do they make these events where you have to do it in pairs? Why can’t they do a solo category?

    Imagine spending all that money then you or your racing partner is much stronger or weaker than you, you’d feel like either you are letting them down or they are letting you down. Or worse still, if one of you fails to finish or crashes out, it’s game over for the other one. All that money down the drain.

    I’ve done 2up time trialling, where I’ve had a difference in ability and it feels like a waste of money and time for those races, and that’s only £10 to £15 to race, so would hate to spend all that money for this race and feel the same way.

    I know the logistics and costs of putting on a stage race must be a lot so don’t really begrudge the very high cost. It’s actually great events like this are getting put on. So the organisers need recognition for putting on the event, but for me the pairs thing means it’s not something I’d do.

    Full Member

    @vdubber67 – did you ride the 2008 Trans Wales? While it had some great routes for riding, the poor organisation and management of the race village in (not unpredictable) inclement conditions wasn’t ideal. I’d hazard a guess that the Cymru MTB classic will have considerably better organisation for supporting, managing and feeding the riders during the event. Price per rider is similar, albeit it is for fewer days.

    – for their longer events, the pairs thing is a good idea as you are able to motivate each other as when one rider is suffering, the other tends to be in a better state. Apart from at the very sharp end of the race, losing a partner doesn’t prevent you finishing and they will also attempt to partner you up with other spare riders of a similar ability if you lose your own. I do agree that it means you need to find a partner with a similar outlook and expectation, but these multi-day events require some training so you should have time to work out what works for you both.

    Free Member

    I think the pairs thing might actually reduce their insurance costs. I’ve done races as a single but for whatever environmental conditions at times we’ve been told to stay in groups. One instance was reports of a mountain lion in the area. Just a guess though..

    Free Member

    Straightliner – yeah, I did 2008, 2010 and 2011 I think.

    Whilst 2008 was indeed a tough year in terms of the weather, I don’t remember anything about the actually management of the event that I found lacking. I seem to remember getting fed and washed etc. Maybe I’m wearing some rose tinted specs though there. It wasn’t the best year tbh!

    I rode the Ritchey Trailmasters event a few years later as well (three days out from one base) – thought that was good too…

    Free Member

    @Straightliner never thought of it like that about the motivation. But like you say it’s getting a racing partner at the same level which is difficult. Those that I ride with we are all at different fitness levels. Probably most of those wouldn’t want to race, and possibly the only rider that would consider racing our fitness levels is vastly different so wouldn’t be fair on either of us.

    Full Member

    So nearly £2k (£1k each) if you go for the accommodation option….

    Trans Madeira is only £1500 + flights for 5 days and that includes meals, tent hotel for 1 night and 2 beers per day!!

    I know where my money would go.

    Full Member

    For £899 I can do two of us, fully catered (with a lunchtime snack thrown in) in Courchevel for a week at that time of the year, including the lift passes, transfers and the flights there.

    Full Member

    While mountain biking has been hugely popular across the UK for years, and particularly in Wales, riders have never had the chance to take on the challenges and enjoyments that an Epic Series event presents. A fully-timed, multi-day stage race in a two-person team format on home soil.

    Never had the chance? I’m pretty sure when I did the Black Mountains 3 day event in 2011 it was a fully timed, multi day stage race in a two person format.

    Free Member

    The Bearded Man you mean?

    Cracking event – did them
    both. It was a solo event & if IIRC tents were included with pricing around the £3-400 at the most.

    Free Member

    It was £150 for 2 1/2 days all in. Does make £899 with no accommodation 10 yrs later for roughly the same amount of time look rather steep!

    Free Member

    £899 what a cheek, nearly as much as a cheek of expecting people to buy to get full access to a website by paying a annual fee so they can just re-post u tube videos you can watch for free.

    Free Member

    reports of a mountain lion in the area.

    Not many mountain lions in Wales, from what I’ve read! But it seems reasonable that it would reduce insurance costs, having someone to look after their partner and call for assistance if something bad happens.

    Free Member

    Not many mountain lions in Wales

    Oh I don’t know – it’s got it’s fair share of cougars..

    Full Member

    How much was my first thought, then lets do something similar for less….great idea but too much dosh…

    Full Member

    Looks like a steal compared to this:-

    Full Member

    As advertsed it’s utterly illegal, with no valid insurance for either the organisers or the riders. Whatever clueless Council officials and the Forestry Enterprise people think they cannot over ride the law.I suggested they contact British Cycling for the legality of the stuation. I’m ex Powys Highways BTW.

    Full Member

    It’s such a ludicrous price I can’t help but think it’s a scam. £900 just for an entry of for an extra £1000 you can have 4 nights in a local hotel… Who calculated that? Are they flying you in an out of London by helicopter every day?

    Full Member

    For a giggle I chose the following weekend for George III Hotel. 3 nights sole occupancy of an Estuary Kingsize is £360 to £380 B&B. Where’s the other £640 going, hopefully its all in 3 very fancy dinners with an unlimited run at the cellar on the final night.

    Full Member

    Hardly surprising was it?
    I do wonder how many actually signed up.

    I’m sure that you could do something similar by block booking a camp site, erecting a load of tents and providing onsite BBQ’s etc for a lot less than the prices above – Trans Madeira style.
    I get that organising the race and access, insurance etc comes at a cost – but I’m sure more people would sign up if the route was epic and the accommodation more in keeping with the ‘MTB Adventure’.

    After the event the tents could be donated to local schools, scout groups, youth programmes, homeless etc – give a bit back to the community etc.

    Full Member

    It’s the same as that Galloway gravel event. Nuts.

    Shows that it’s the new golf….

    Full Member

    There cancellation statement, what a load of guff.
    You can’t race on public bridleways, and they do call it a race. You can host an individual challenge ride, and if there’s a list of times that the riders completed it in….
    Money grabbing nonsense.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 61 total)

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