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August 20, 2011

19th August: Day Six: ‘The Night Train’

One of the best day’s riding brought the GORE BIKE WEAR® TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport one step closer to deciding its champions after the fiery Exposure Lights night time special stage

Linking stage Six (including Special Stage Five)

Cwmystwyth to Cilycwm

Total distance: 74km

Climbing: 2000m

The penultimate day of the GORE BIKE WEAR® TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport began under dry skies and continued to enjoy good weather for its entire duration. Although the day’s linking stage was an undeniably

After a long day in the saddle its home, finally to Cilycwm safe in the knowledge that only one more day lies ahead.

good day in the saddle, it couldn’t hold a candle to the elbows out, singletrack rocket thrills and spills that the fifth special stage – the Exposure Lights night time special stage – had in store.

Riders left the picturesque campsite at Blaenycwm at the foot of yesterday’s final descent near Cwmystwyth at 9am and, after a brief spin down the valley, struck across the river and onto rocky double track that hitched up into woodland and eventually climbed up towards the remotely picturesque Teifi Lakes. For some, feeling a little worse for wear due to a late night of reveling thanks to cheap beer and a cracking three piece band, the start was a little slower than normal. However it wasn’t long before their minds moved from focusing on their hangovers to the rugged descent that unfurled before them from the top of the Bryn Llyn Egnant at 480m; with its snaking single and double track that continuously dropped away across river crossings and carving singletrack, it was a good way to shake out the dregs of excess.

The final – but long – singletrack surge of the day’s linking stage down the Doethie Valley trail.

After losing altitude, the riders were then swept along and into the Tywi Forest’s stupidly fun water crossings. The riders careered down a rocky jeep track that melded seamlessly from jeep track into river bed, through fords, standing puddles, and back once again to rocky jeep track as the trail criss-crossed the river, shadowing the water’s descent further towards the Llyn Brianne Reservoir.

After climbing up and out of the forest, the trail headed west until it hit the river Doethie. It then turned and headed south flanking this picturesque watercourse along a ribbon of singletrack for some 5km. Both remote and enthralling, this trail is a gem that rounded out the day’s linking stage in fine style. Then the rider hit the black top for a few miles down towards the stage end at Cilycwm. For those still with plenty of watts left in their legs – and the fore-knoweldge that the final leg of the linking stage passes the venue for the Exposure Lights night time special stage – an impromptu singletrack diversion was head to pre-ride the great Cwm-y-Rhaiadr trail.

The trail consists of around 10 minutes of fire track climbing that then gives way to steep singletrack climbing before finally summiting. The trail then forces the riders to stare down the barrel of a 3km singletrack super gun, with plenty of whoops, berms, and more flow than an Alpine river swelled with meltwater.

When darkness fell a few riders sat out the stage nursing very tired bodies, broken bikes, and various maladies inbetween. For those that put the Psiren-like call of their beds to one side, the rewards were numerous. For the leader of the Schwalbe Tyres Male Solo category, Matt Page (Wiggle), his home advantage (he lives literally down the road from the trail) proved insurmountable for the valiant efforts of Ajay Chhetri (Torq), who had to settle for a close second just 9secs behind Page, with Scott Cornish (Unattached) taking his second third place in a row another 25secs behind. This result sees Page extend his lead from Chhatri to 39secs with one special stage to go.

The Exposure Lights night time special stage truly got the adrenaline pumping as well as producing some very close racing.

In the Schwalbe Tyres Male Solo category Hannah Thorne (Unattached) extended her lead in the overall by taking another special stage win 26secs ahead of Fit Spotswood (Cyclist No 1). Like, Page, this sees Thorne stretch out her lead in the overall by over a minute. With the final special stage being a 2km sprint stage it would take Herculean efforts from Chhatri and Spotswood, or some catastrophe for Page and Thorne, to lose their leads. But, there are no certainties when it comes to racing and only after the final results have been confirmed will we know who are the winners and losers.

Elsewhere, things are not quite so clear cut, particularly in the Saris Racks Veteran Solo Male category: Paul Whittaker’s (Stockport Clarion CC) second consecutive special stage win saw him claw back much of the deficit he had accrued behind Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC) in the overall. His winning margin over Jones on the Exposure Lights night time special stage of 35secs was good enough to bring Whittaker within just 1sec of Jones’ overall lead; a result that will guarantee balls-out racing on the final special stage as both fight tooth and nail to secure the 2011 overall title. Rest assured – there will be fireworks.

Tomorrow sees the climax of the GORE BIKE WEAR® TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport as it heads home to bring the riders full circle at Builth Wells. It will be the shortest linking stage of the entire event at a relatively paltry 60km and 1600m of climbing, but before the riders can cross the finish line for the final time there’s the small matter of the short but sweet – and deciding – special stage. It may be just 2km but it packs 85km of climbing in there and will wring the final dregs of power out of all the riders. But then, when they finally haul up to stop the suffering will be no more and the GORE BIKE WEAR® TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport 2011 champions will be crowned.

EXPOSURE LIGHTS NIGHT TIME SPECIAL STAGE (FIVE) RESULTS

Buff Headwear Female Pairs category

1 – Elizabeth Adams & Rosemary Byde (Team Number 28): 26:07.215

2 – Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Saddle Skedaddle): 27:26.335

3 – Kelly Clark & Cath Hempsall (Unattached): 29:46.110

Merida Bikes Male Pairs category

1 – Simon Harrison & Robin Calverley (RAF CC): 22:14.550

2 – Mark Wright & Enda Reynolds (Team Trailbadger): 22:20.785

3 – Ben Warrick & David Evans (Unattached): 22:51.130

Schwalbe Tyres Male Solo category

1 – Matt Page (Wiggle): 19:27.190

2 – Ajay Chhetri (Torq): 19:36.570

3 – Scott Cornish (Unattached): 20:01.780

Schwalbe Tyres Female Solo category

1 – Hannah Thorne (Unattached): 22:57.650

2 –Fiona Spotswood (Cyclist No. 1): 23:23.000

3 – Anna Buckingham (The Big Adventure Store): 28:47.120

Alpina Helmets Veteran Pairs Male category

1 – Richard Hoyte & Simon Alun (Dirty Habit): 25:24.700

2 – Martyn Bramhall & Mick Fairest (Sheffield Pheonix): 28:17.590

3 – Steven Williams & Paul Smith (East Midlands Airport): 30:15.685

Birzman Tools Mixed Pairs category

1 – Katie Vaughan & Andrew Heywood (Motor Neurone Disease Association): 25:55.610

2 – John Drummon & Catherine Drummond (Align Pilates): 29:43.160

3 – Johanita Swanepoel & Pierre Cloete (Cameltoe): 46:28.000

Saris Racks Veteran Solo Male category

1 – Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC): 20:51.860

2 – Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC): 21:26.980

3 – Nick Harwood (Unattached): 23:05.620

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

Buff Headwear Female Pairs category

1 – Elizabeth Adams & Rosemary Byde (Team Number 28): 42:18:46

2 – Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Saddle Skedaddle): 42:21:25

3 – Kelly Clark & Cath Hempsall (Unattached): 42:31:55

Merida Bikes Male Pairs category

1 – Simon Harrison & Robin Calverley (RAF CC): 42:06:06

2 – Mark Wright & Enda Reynolds (Team Trailbadger): 42:07:38

3 – David Askin & David O’Brien (Rally da Digger): 42:12:53

Schwalbe Tyres Male Solo category

1 – Matt Page (Wiggle): 41:58:14

2 – Ajay Chhetri (Torq): 41:58:53

3 – Matt Williams (Unattached): 42:01:42

Schwalbe Tyres Female Solo category

1 – Hannah Thorne (Unattached): 42:08:51

2 – Fiona Spotswood (Cyclist No. 1): 42:10:04

3 – Anna Buckingham (The Big Adventure Store): 42:27:21

Alpina Helmets Veteran Pairs Male category

1 – Dave Sheppard & Trevor Marshall (MAMIL): 42:46:48

2 – Ben Barden & Chris Putnam (White Spirit): 42:47:20

Birzman Tools Mixed Pairs category

1 – Katie Vaughan & Andrew Heywood (Motor Neurone Disease Association): 42:17:59

2 – John Drummond & Catherine Drummond (Align Pilates): 42:25:31

3 – Johanita Swanepoel & Pierre Cloete (Cameltoe): 42:50:02

Saris Racks Veteran Solo Male category

1 – Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC): 42:03:33

2 – Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC): 42:03:34

3 – Andy Roberts (Unattached): 42:07:24

EXPOSURE LIGHTS Night Stage SOLO results: SOLO RESULTS (5th special – night stage) TW 2011

EXPOSURE LIGHTS Night Stage TEAM results: TEAM RESULTS (5th special – night stage) TW 2011

Over All SOLO results (after six days): SOLO RESULTS (ongoing) TW 2011

Over All TEAM results (after six days): TEAM RESULTS (ongoing) TW 2011