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  GORE BIKE WEAR TransWales 2010

QUICK LINKS 2010: DAY 1 - DAY 2 - DAY 3 - DAY 4 - DAY 5 - DAY 6 - DAY 7

Photos from the Gore Bike Wear TransWales 2010 poiwered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport can be found at

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Sunday 15th August
Day One: ‘An Upward Curve’

The first day of the GORE BIKE WEAR TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport sees thrills and spills aplenty, plus plenty of vertical gain and gritted teeth as the riders break themselves in on the first special stage

Linking stage one (including special stage one)
Builth Wells – Knighton
Total distance: 58km
Climbing: 1810m
Descent: 1780m

At 9.30am on Sunday 15th August the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport – Britain’s only 7-day mountain bike challenge – got underway in mid-Wales. In all, some 200 riders from 16 countries – including Germany, Holland and Kenya amongst many others – left the start point of Penmaenau Farm, near Builth Wells to head out along and over the hills that separated the day’s beginning from it’s end in Knighton some 58km away. The weather gods were smiling and warm temperatures and sunshine proved fine trail companions for the riders for the duration of the day.

Although the 58km distance is relatively short for by TransWales standards, course designer and co-organiser John Lloyd had ensured that the first day was not necessarily going to be an easy one. With no less than 1810m of climbing in that distance racked up over three major climbs – and an imbalanced 1780m of descending – the trend for the day was most definitely an upward one. Which was fitting as the first special stage of the TransWales – where the competitive element of the event would truly kick in – was a climbing time trial.

Although it was just 500m long and was reasonably sustained in gradient with no killer kicker at the end there was a fly in the ointment: it came a third of the way up the second major climb of the day up Great Rhos at 660m. This meant that riders’ legs were well and truly warmed up (or wrung out) by the time they arrived at the start line; to do well here would require riders to wedge the bit firmly between the teeth and turn the pedals as powerfully as possible whilst having the shear blooded-minded ability to buffer the lactic burn at the same time. Quite simply there would be no hiding in this race of truth: you either had the legs or you didn’t.

In the Schwalbe Solo Open Female Category, last year’s overall second placed female soloist – and current National 24hr Solo Champion – Rickie Cotter (WXC Racing) proved she had both speed and endurance in her legs as she stormed the special stage in 1min 51secs – a clear 18 seconds ahead of second placed Hannah Thorne with Fi Spotswood (For Goodness Shakes) in third. The Schwalbe Solo Men’s Open Category was closer fought and saw Ryan Hawson (Ayup Lighting) take the win by 6 seconds from Sean Grosvenor (Summit Cycles/Conti) in a time of just 1min 31secs.

As this was the first special stage the stage results – see the attached PDF for full results – the overall leads are the same.

After catching their breaths, the trail continued upwards once again, broke through the tree line and onto the moor tops for a hard-fought yet impressive panorama of mid-Wales. With the gravity credits bursting after the final very sappy section of the climb gleefully taking its toll it was time to head downhill. Finally. The riders hurled themselves headlong – and in some cases headfirst – into the slip-sliding mud-fest that Radnor Forest had been preparing for them.

Scything through the trails on Teflon trails they contoured around the forest tracks and then downwards at speeds in excess of 50kph with mud flying in all directions, tyres breaking out sideways, and – for some – rear mechs not being able to take the heat and deciding to exit the kitchen altogether. Eventually the trail dropped them rotor-pinging and grins splitting to the lunch stop by Pilleth. From here it was a relatively short spin and one last climb to finally and gratefully bring the day to an end with a quick pint at one of the local pubs at Knighton before the final wobble to the stage’s finish. In the end the first riders home were Darren Koslicki and Adam Wroz who completed the day in 3hrs 57mins with the last riders coming in safe and sound in under 7hrs.

With the warmth and sunshine keeping spirits high – plus the local watering hole – tomorrow’s stage is still largely out of mind. However, it’ll be a test with its 2140m of climbing and constant up/down course profile. But nothing good ever comes easy and tomorrow promises some true trail gems for riders’ to savour as it takes the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport west from Knighton to Landiloes some 68km away.

Day 1 Results:

Team Results after Day 1 - Download PDF

Solo Results after Day 1 - Download PDF

Monday 16th August

Day Two: ‘The Quiet Before The Storm’

The second day of the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport sees the riders head out into the wilds and prepare themselves for stage three’s downhill time trial

Linking Stage Two
Knighton to Llanidloes
Total distance: 61km
Climbing: 2140m

After a clear night sky scattered with stars like dust the massed throng of Gore Bike Wear TransWales riders prepared for their second day in the saddle. And what a day: wall to wall sunshine and blue skies, dry trails, crystal views over the patchwork landscape of mid-Wales and some epic riding. It might not have seen a change in the overall standings due to no special stage but today nonetheless delivered great riding and stunning scenery in spades.

Although the lack of H2O dropping from above was merely the icing on the cake today was about completing the linking stage within the 6hr cut off time period. Parcelled with this was the need for riders to pace themselves to keep legs as fresh as possible in preparation for the competition that recommences tomorrow in earnest with the 7km downhill special stage at the awesome Climachx trail near Machynlleth. But before that there was the small matter of 61km and 2140m of climbing to focus on.

Leaving Knighton behind, the riders freed their legs up a gradual Tarmac climb that warmed up weary limbs before the gradient kicked hard to summit Bailey Hill. Continuing onwards, the stage struck out into the hills proper as it took the riders to the trails upon Glyndwr’s Way and into true big country: with sweeping panoramic coupled with blooming purple heather flanking the trail like a carpet of sentries the moorland top stretches were simply stunning.

For one rider – Paul ‘Latch’ Latchem – today, however, was not a good day. One of only about six riders who have ridden every single TransWales and TransScotland event, Latch’s day came to a premature end halfway along Glyndwr’s Way as both his seat tube and top tube catastrophically failed on a climb. Although not his day it was luck that the frame hadn’t failed on any one of the high speed descents that would’ve lead to something much worse than simply a lift to the stage’s end in one of the support vehicles.

After the scenery of the moor tops came a high speed and open descent down Moelfre Hill and into Moelfre itself. From here a smattering of short, sharp climbs and descents took the riders away from the moors and into the trees once again. The toll? More climbing. But the ascent gave way to the pay off of a tight yet fast rutted singletrack descent that began rocky, became sinuous and flanked with sumptuous views over towards Llandiloes itself, before steepening and becoming more enclosed and with a choice of only two ruts to put their wheels in. The outcome? A chaotic blend of Russian Roulette and pinball. Some, like the Schwalbe Women’s Solo leader Rickie Cotter (WXC Racing) took it by the scruff of the neck and came screeching to the bottom buzzing and smiling with rotors pinging. Others, however, took a flyer over the bars and were gifted a tacoed wheel for their troubles. Yet all made it down in one piece and pedalled what remained of the day’s stage to the finish, a warm shower, a sports massage, and – for most – a cold beer at Llandiloes Rugby Club’s bar.

Tomorrow sees the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport really get into its stride with the second special stage a 7km downhill time trial at the Climachx trail near Machynlleth. Together with the special stage tomorrow is the first truly big day of this year’s TransWales as it sees the riders pedal 82km and 2430m of climbing of genuinely challenging terrain through Hafren Forest and thw wilderness beyond towards Macynlleth. But – in a reversal of stage one’s climbing trend – the stage also sees 2590m of descending. It’s about to get interesting.

Tuesday 17th August

Day Three: ‘Testing Times’

The toughest day so far in the GORE BIKE WEAR TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport saw testing conditions under tyre and all-change in the overall standings following special stage two

Linking Stage Three (including Special Stage Two – 7km downhill time trial)
Llandiloes to Machynlleth
Total distance: 82km
Climbing: 2430m

“Today was a proper TransWales day,” said the event’s only singlespeeder and TransWales veteran Graham McConaghy (Army CC). And it was: after a few relatively mild days to warm the riders up the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport truly got going as it headed into the proper big country. Along the way there’d be treacherous descents, tough climbs aplenty, and truly fickle mountain weather. Add the second special stage into the mix – a 7km downhill time trial on the final descent of the Climachx trail near Machynlleth – and the third day of the TransWales would be a true test of both body and mind.

It began at 9am when the riders left the overnight stop at Llandiloes Rugby Club under fair skies following from the overnight rains that persisted until the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Tarmac provided easy going for the first clicks as the riders shadowed the course of the River Severn to its source at Hafren Forest. As they climbed the visibility gradually decreased as the low cloudbank inched ever closer. With the grey fog came the on-set of soul-sapping persistent drizzle that would shadow the riders through Hafren Forest, along the moorland trail of Glyndwr’s Way and over Foel Fadian, the highest point of the stage at 564m. It was here that the riders met the double-edged sword the steep, greasy and rock-slabbed monster of a descent; double-edged as it took no prisoners and left riders battered and bruised as it felled them one by one, but also because it led them down from the clouds and into the clear – and dry – skies below.

The second special stage took place on the Climachx trail final descent – a 7km long undulating serpentine piece of unforgiving trail. The top most sections of the trail were the most technically demanding and so any rider with a design on the overall had keep it together here in order to press home their advantage on the faster lower sections. At least, that was the theory: in practice, the high speeds and slippery rock sections meant that staying smooth and fast – and on two wheels – wasn’t guaranteed.

“I was flying on the first half – I was right on my limit,” said Rickie Cotter – the leader of the Schwalbe Women’s Solo category from special stage one of her run on the Climachx trail. “But then I double punctured so I had to run down the fire-road. It’s tough because today was my favourite trail and so I’m really disappointed.” The double puncture saw Rickie – the hot favourite for the win slip off the podium by more than three minutes behind the stage winner, an on-form Fi Spotswood. The result meant that Fi took the overall lead in the general classification too, with Rickie now having to make up a significant amount of time over the three remaining stages. A tough task, but given that Rickie is currently building up the 24 Solo World Championships in Australia, it’s certainly not out of the question.

In the Schwalbe Men’s Solo category Alex Metcalfe of title sponsors Gore Bike Wear had a stormer to take second place on the stage in a time of 8mins 54secs; however, his time wasn’t quite good enough for the win which was claimed emphatically by Sean Grosvenor (Summit Cycles / Conti) by a clear 34secs. Aussie Ryan Hawson (Ayup Lighting) took a massive tumble during the special stage after over-cooking a rock slab launch – a crash which, although he recovered from and got back on the bike – cost him valuable time on the stage. The time lost was enough to see him lose his Gore Bike Wear leader’s jersey in the overall classification. In his stead, Sean Grosvenor (Summit Cycles / Conti) took the lead by 55secs. Despite losing the top spot and his crash, Hawson – currently enjoying 3 months touring around Europe – was positive and elated after his ride: “I love racing trails like this unsighted – it’s fantastic!”

Tomorrow the riders head south via Nant y Arian for the third special stage where the racing continues on the longest special stage of the TransWales – all 8.5km of it. The linking stage then continues onwards to the scenic Tyllwyd, near Cwmystwyth some 71km and 2495m of climbing – the most in a single day of the event so far – away from Machynlleth. It promises to be another tough but rewarding day.

Stage 2 Results:

Stage 2 Team Results - Download PDF

Overall Team Results - Download PDF

Stage 2 Solo Results - Download PDF

Overall Solo Results - Download PDF

Wednesday 18th August

Day Four: ‘All Change’

The fourth day of the GORE BIKE WEAR TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport sees stunning scenery and dramatic thrills and spills on the third special stage at Nant y Arian

Linking Stage Four (including Special Stage Three)
Machynlleth to Cwymystwyth
Total distance: 71km
Climbing: 2495m

It’s been a mixed day today: changeable conditions and some very tough climbs have been tempered by great singletrack and a genuine ‘out there’ feel – particularly around the picturesque Nant y Moch reservoir; with the weather gods so far treating riders kindly the fourth day of the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport, was as eventful as it was enjoyable.

The riders left Machynlleth at 9am and climbed up the black top heading southwards. Once the beast of a climb was done it was into the woods and onto the moors once again along an undulating rock infested double track. The rock base meant that the going was good and hard, resulting in a decent average speed. There was lots of fun to be had for the riders with plenty of techy little lines to keep folks entertained. But pull back from the detail and the vistas along the trail running towards Nany y Moch reservoir are something out of Northern Exposure, summed up in two words: epic solitude. Except, of course, the TransWales riders are rarely alone: the camaraderie amongst them has been something truly special this year and its been building day by day.

The wilderness of Nant y Moch then brought riders to the start of the third special stage: an abridged 8.5km Nant y Arian trail centre loop. From the start line, riders hussled uphill along rocky double track that then careered downwards in a rock-infested high-speed fest with enough rock slabs, chutes, and steps to keep them on their toes. This gave way to several sections of pumpy singletrack descent that gathered momentum as they swept closer to the valley floor before spitting riders out onto fire road. This swept briefly to the lowest point of the loop before heading upwards remorselessly on the infamous – and aptly named – Leg Burner climb.

As any rider who has ridden Nant y Arian knows, the Leg Burner climb is a stomach churning lung buster right out of Purgatory that seemingly never ends. It’s like pushing a gradually growing rock up hill for eternity. Well, sort of. But yes, your legs do burn. A lot.

For the riders fighting it out in the general classification this was a pivotal special stage as there was quite simply no where to hide: either barrelling downhill or hauling up again - there was no flat. Any mistake here would play into the hands of competitors and any time loss could easily become significant.

Ryan Hawson (Ayup Lighting) is riding in the Schwalbe Solo Open Male category and has been having plenty of fun out on the trail; unfortunately he has been the unwilling recipient of special stage bad luck following his success on the climbing special stage on day one. Today saw him front puncture as he was pinning it however his luck must be improving as even with the flat his time of 23mins 15secs was enough to take the stage win by 21secs from Greig Walker; himself just 13secs up on third placed Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion). This means that Hawson (Ayup Lighting) retakes the lead in the general classification ahead of Sean Grosvenor (Summit Cycles / Conti) by 24secs.

In the Schwalbe Solo Open Female category Rickie Cotter was out for blood after missing out on the podium on the downhill special stage due to double punctures. “I smashed it,” she said of her run afterwards: “I’m really happy.” Her efforts certainly paid off as she beat her closest rival by just under two and a half minutes in a time of 26mins 9secs. Hannah Thorne pushed her hard and came in second in a time of 28mins 37secs. The previous leader in the category – Fi Spotswood (For Goodness Shakes) has returned home to Bristol – which means that Hannah Thorne is now the overall Schwalbe Solo Open Female category leader just 12secs ahead of Rickie Cotter.

In the Merida Bikes Open Male Team category Neil Richardson and Dan Lewis (RAFCC) put in the fastest performance of the entire stage in an average combined time of 22mins 57secs – a time that would’ve seen either of them take the win in the solo category. It was also a clear 2mins faster than the pairing of Darren Koslicki and Adam Wroz (Team Unknown) who were convincingly beaten into second on the stage and the general classification by some 2mins 10secs from in the Merida Bikes Open Male Team category.

Elsewhere, the Birzman Tools Mixed Teams Catgeory saw a change in the overall due to the solid consistency of previously second-placed pair Claire Neuhoff and Simon Neuhoff (The Clantons): with a third on the first special stage followed by two second places – including on today’s special stage – they succeeded in making up enough time on the previous leaders Elizabeth Docherty and James Docherty (Ohh!) to take the lead by just 5secs. This all means that each of the top three teams (Team Ohh!, The Clantons, and Double Dutch) have each held the lead in the overall, and are now separated by less than 20secs.

All this means that the pressure remains on for the fourth special stage tomorrow, the Exposure Diablo Night Stage at Cwm Rhaidr. Rickie Cotter will be looking to stamp her authority on the women’s solo competition, whilst Hawson will be looking for a trouble-free but flawless run to extend his fragile lead. However, Cwm Rhaidr has a reputation for slicing sidewalls so he needs to be careful as another puncture could see him slip down the rankings. In every category nothing is settled so there’s all to play for on the fifth day of the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport. Blend into this backdrop one of the most loved trails in the TransWales’ history: the Doethie Valley singletrack descent as the highlight of the linking stage and the fifth day of the TransWales promises to be the best so far.

Stage 3 Results:

Stage 3 Team Results - Download PDF

Overall Team Results - Download PDF

Stage 3 Solo Results - Download PDF

Overall Solo Results - Download PDF

Thursday 19th August

Day Five: ‘Night & Day’

The fifth day of the GORE BIKE WEAR TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport sees a phenomenal linking stage, and the unique Exposure Diablo Night Time special stage together with plenty thrills and spills.

Linking stage Five (including Special Stage Four)
Cymystwyth to Cilycwm
Total distance: 73km
Climbing: 2210m

Day five of the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport brought fantastic giggly fun trails, some wet stuff, and the much anticipated penultimate special stage, the Exposure Diablo Night Time Trial. Billed as one of, if not the best day’s riding of the whole event it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The linking stage got underway at 9am with the riders spinning their way down the Cymystwyth valley, crossing the river and contouring into the woods and climbing steeply to attain 300m of vertical in one go. Then, after a fast descent, the trail meandered above the hugely picturesque Teifi Lakes high on the moors before coming crashing downwards on a scenic but grin-inducing descent down into Strata Florida.

Then came the first contender for ‘trail of the day’ that made groan men giggle with glee. It was both long and rocky. And wet. Very, very wet. Essentially a jeep track on a rock base, it crossed several river courses, flowed through huge standing puddles and, in places, was little more than a flood with a few rocks breaking the surface. Needless to say, you either got wet or you got wet and bringing your snorkel would most definitely have been a good idea. Riders careered, cheered, and chuckled along its length, egging each other on to ride through increasingly deeper and longer stretches of H2O, and cheered in equal measure when they witnessed success or failure. Eventually the watery fun came to an end and the trail spat riders onto the black top for a short stretch and the lunch stop at 41km.

After refuelling and getting their chains cleaned and lubed courtesy of Carl from Squirt lube, the trail struck upwards on the road making a beeline for the head of the much-anticipated Doethie Valley descent: a near 7km stretch of continuous ribbon singletrack that flanks the course of the River Doethie below. For much of its length it is no more than 5in wide, is peppered with a few rock slabs to keep riders on their toes, and loaded with enough panoramic scenery to make Hi Def looking positively grainy.

After a surprisingly fine day given the weather report (which promised terrible rains), the good weather charm finally broke as the first riders began crossing the line: for the majority of the TransWales riders it was time to get the GoreTex jackets out, put on a stoical grin, and get on with savouring the singletrack. Of course, the rains meant that the trail became more slippery and chewed up which caught a few riders unawares. Eventually the singletrack-fest gave way to a meandering mountain road that introduced the final Tarmac spin to the stage’s end at Cwmystwyth. All that remained was for riders to prepare themselves for the fourth special stage: the Exposure Diablo night time trial.

Starting at 8.45pm, the riders went off in their respective overall ranking positions, with the fastest rider going first and the slowest last. The venue for the Exposure Diablo night time trial was the Cwm Rhaiadr trail – a 6km loop that is simples is as simple does as it’s a single lung buster of a climb that gives way to a singletrack rollercoaster of a descent; a genuine all-round test but with the added twist of being in the pitch black. What made it harder for riders, however, was the heavy rains that kicked in early in the evening. This reduced visibility – even with Exposure Lights on full whack – to a minimum due to the rain drops reflecting riders’ light beams and made the already tough and slippery conditions even harder. Due to the late finish, however there was no results presentation – this will be done at the end of tomorrow’s stage six linking stage in Brecon. After which we’ll bring you full coverage of the results asap.

Tomorrow sees the penultimate stage of the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport and, although the event may nearly be coming into its final furlong, things aren’t getting any easier. The sixth linking stage will take the riders from Cilycwm all of 75km and 2040m of climbing to Brecon. The profile is like an ECG chart during a cardiac arrest. Or as Nathan from Singletrack magazine put it, “like shark’s teeth.” Jagged and forboding. There’s climbing aplenty on the way and it’ll be a true test of already very tired legs and mental resolve. The bright side is that when riders finally wheel into Brecon tomorrow all that stands between them and the finish line is a relatively short 52km stage before the final – and deciding – special stage at Builth Wells.

Friday 20th August

Day Six: ‘A War Of Attrition’

The penultimate day of the GORE BIKE WEAR TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport saw one of the toughest linking stages and the worst weather the event has so far seen this year. And in the aftermath came a shift in the overall rankings as the special stage results from last night were announced

Linking stage Six
Cilycwm to Brecon
Total distance: 75km
Climbing: 2040m

The sixth day of the Gore Bike Wear TrnsWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport kicked off under terrible skies. The previous nights’ rain that had made the Exposure Diablo Night Time Trial special stage such a challenging event had resisted all attempts to wish it away and underlined that it was here to stay. All day. It might have been grim but the riders’ dragged themselves to the start line and got on with the business of pedalling the 75km to Brecon.

After a brief spin along the black top the riders hit the dirt and climbed up into the depths of Halfway Forest. Here a maze of forest tracks convulsed through the trees down steep chutes and slate descents and sheltered the riders from the worst of the weather. Which was just as well as a motorbike enduro had been marked out using exactly the same marker arrows as the TransWales – there were literally arrows everywhere. This all meant that riders had to pay serious attention in order to pick up the correct route through the forest, helped in no small part by the organisers’ daubing white marks on the TransWales arrows to help them standout.

After solving the labyrinth, the riders fuelled up at the lunch stop and headed up to face the brunt of the weather on the most exposed portion of the day’s stage: the roman road that lead to Trecastle. After a steep, rocky and very slippery climb the gradient slackened somewhat but still headed upwards. However, as the rain was coming down it felt like riding up a fast flowing stream more than up a trail. Then the rains and wind hit. And the echoes of thunder and the vision of lightning – all on the highest, most exposed section of the stage. Hanging around to take in the scenery or dawdling was not a good idea. The route then the headed southwards before skirting around the fringes of the Brecon Beacons and making a beeline for Brecon along a steady descent along grassy moorland and narrow lanes. Then the finish, finally.

All told, the toughest day of the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport was a genuine war of attrition as it wrung out the reserves of power and endurance, as well as mental resolve on the wettest and windiest day of the whole event. Riders described it as “savage”, “devastating”, “ grim and gritty” but all said that they enjoyed surprisingly good trails.

But it didn’t just test the riders’: it tested their bikes too. With numerous mechanicals from jammed brakes, tubeless failures, severe ‘how the hell did it get jammed in there?!’ chain suck and more, the strains and stresses of six hard days of riding were taking their toll. But once finished the riders were back in civilisation, the rains eased to sporadic light showers and the sun began to poke its nose out every once in a while.

After the stage’s finish, the results and podiums were announced for the Exposure Diablo Night Time Trial special stage the night before.

In the Schwalbe Solo open female category, Rickie Cotter (WXC Racing) again swept to victory for her second consecutive stage win ahead of Hannah Thorne. Although Cotter had a serious mechanical – her rear wheel came fell out on the descent – she did enough work to cushion the advance of Thorne to win the stage by 19secs.This sees Cotter take the overall lead in a time of 39hrs 37mins and 11secs – just 7secs ahead of second-planed Thorne. With just the final special stage – a 2km sprint – at Builth Wells tomorrow this category couldn’t be closer.

Aussie Ryan Hawson (Ayup Lighting) also made it two consecutive wins as he took the course by the scruff of the neck in a time of 20mins 48secs – the fastest time of the entire night. This sees him stretch his lead in the Schwalbe Solo Open Male category to two minutes. Although Hawson is beginning to stretch his lead, the battle for second behind him hotted up: before coming into the stage Sean Grosvenor (Summit Cycles / Conti) was second ahead of third-placed Greig Walker by 37secs. However, Grosvenor couldn’t match the scorching pace that Hawson had set and loss time, eventually finishing seventh on the night. This slip backwards allowed Walker to reverse his deficit and move ahead into second on the overall by 31secs.

In the Merida Bikes Open Male Teams category the flying aces Neil Richardson & Dan Lewis (RAFCC) continued to soar away from second placed rivals in the overall, Darren Koslicki & Adam Wroz (Team Unknown), by another 44secs – resulting in an overall advantage of 8mins 54secs. Barring a serious crash or catastrophic mechanica, The RAFCC boys look set to take the title on the short 2km final special stage tomorrow. Behind them things are a little closer with second and third (Darren Koslicki and Adam Wroz (Team Unknown) and Gary Cousins and Andy Edwards ( separated by 1min.

Elswhere in the Birzman Tools Mixed Teams category, Claire Neuhoff and Simon Neuhoff (The Clantons) finally got the win they were looking for by just over a minute after a run of second places. Behind them Luc Selen and Wendy De Graaf (Double Dutch) beat Niki Lane and Chris Watson (The Old Goats) for second. The result sees The Clantons stretch their lead in the overall to just under two minutes – enough, barring calamities, to keep the overall lead through to the bitter end.

All this, together with the promise that tomorrow’s final stage was a mere 52km long and with just 1380m of climbing, helped lift riders’ spirits and their satisfaction that they had broken the back of the monster Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport. Tomorrow sees the last leg in the seven day challenge, but it will also see the final and deciding special stage at journey’s end in Builth Wells.

Stage 4 Results:

Stage 4 Team Results - Download PDF

Overall Team Results - Download PDF

Stage 4 Solo Results - Download PDF

Overall Solo Results - Download PDF

Saturday 21st August

Day Seven: ‘The Final Furlong’

The final day of the GORE BIKE WEAR TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport sees the final deciding special stage and the crowning of the this year’s TransWales champions

Linking Stage Seven (including Special Stage Five)
Brecon to Builth Wells
Total distance: 52km
Climbing: 1380m

The seventh and final day of the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport dawned to dry skies. With weary bodies motivated by the relatively short distance of the final stage, riders saddled up and set off at 9am to cover the final 52km from Brecon to Builth Wells. Once in Builth all that lay between them and a cold beer was the final and deciding special stage in Cefnderys Woods above the campsite. At the day’s end for some, the spoils of victory, whilst for others the satisfaction of completing Britain’s toughest mountain bike event.

The start of the linking stage took the riders along the black top to ease their tired legs into the final days riding: it then jumped off road and traversed Mynydd Fforest before dropping into the Wye Valley and crossing the river in preparation for the climb up Llandeilo Hill. Passing rocky bluffs on the ascent, the trail eventually veered into a few inches wide singletrack that flitted beautifully along the ridgeline, just inches away from the edge. The trail then turned back on itself and headed downwards fast with a few hairpins and rock slabs and drop offs thrown in to spice things up. After the trail eventually spat the riders out back onto to the Tarmac it was a spin back on the road and a steep climb up to the end of the linking stage in Builth. Then it was time for the final and deciding special stage.

Using Cefnderys Woods woods above the campground, the fifth special stage was a 2km sprint that headed straight up before coming careering downwards again amidst a mix of techy sections, steep and fast flat-out open trail, and flowey singletrack. With the final corner proving a choice spectator point for heckling and cheering riders as they swept by on their way to the finish, it was a memorable way to bring proceedings to a close on this year’s TransWales.

Rickie Cotter (WXC Racing) finally stamped her total authority in the Schwalbe Open Female Solo category by taking the final special stage. “The stage was really good,” she said afterwards, “it was a lot greasier on the climb than the first day [the course took in a portion of the very first linking stage] and it was more efficient to run because it was so muddy. But finishing the whole week on a sprint was a great idea.” Behind Cotter was Hannah Thorne in second, 42 seconds back. This sees Cotter take the overall title that she’s been promising herself following last year’s nail biter where she lost to Italy’s Marika Covre in a thrilling competition. Thorne takes second in a total time of 44:45:42, just under a minute down on Cotter. Thorne’s fellow New Zealander Amanda Brooks took third overall in almost 10 minutes down. “It’s been fantastic – really good,” said Cotter of the week’s competition, “Mechanicals have been a pain in the ass but apart from that it’s been great. And every time it’s been raining I’ve reminded myself ‘I could be working Rik, I could be working…’”

It was a similar result in the men’s Schwalbe Open Male Solo as Aussie Ryan Hawsons (Ayup Lighting) took the win ahead of Greig Walker by just 8 seconds. Kenyan Nickson Mwaura claimed third on the final special stage at just 3 seconds slower than Walker. Nickson himself is aiming to be selected to represent Kenya for both the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Olympics and Mountain Biking UK (MBUK) magazine will shortly be doing an in-depth feature on Nickson, his Olympic dream and his TransWales experiences.

Today’s stage win topped off a fantastic week’s riding for Hawson in which he never stopped smiling regardless of the mechanicals he suffered. This saw him also secure the overall title ahead of Greig Walker by 2mins 14secs, with Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion) in third. After the prize presentation Hawson was seen discussing snow bike and Iditabike racing tips over his new Belgian-built snow/sand bike with snow and endurance racing legend Carl Hutchings of Squirt lube.

“It went great: it was challenging for everyone with the wet ground conditions yet everything came together in the end,” said event co-organiser Mike Wilkens after the dust had settled. “I think it was another great year and it followed the footsteps of previous events as the typical TransWales spirit was burning strong: it’s about riding your bike, seeing the countryside, and making friends. The concept of the TransWales – having this non-timed and timed thing – brings people closer together; there’s always a lot of chat out on course which you don’t find on events which are a race from beginning to end and that translates onto the camp after riding too. And I know it’s cheesy but that doesn’t make it any less true: at the beginning we had 200 strangers but by the end of the week we had 200 friends.”

“It’s been a great week with a great atmosphere,” agreed Alex Metcalfe of Gore Bike Wear after the finish. “The riding was really good – I felt strong when I was riding and I enjoyed the mix of terrain: from the steep rocky gullies we descended to the long testing climbs, moor tops and valley bottoms there was a superb mix of the best Wales has to offer.” Alex himself had surprised folks by claiming second on the descending special stage on the Climachx trail near Machynlleth; a far cry from his dead man’s stare of last year following the special stage at Brechfa. “It was proper cross country descending – pedalling and technical and rideable by all,” he said of the Climachx special stage. “But I also enjoyed Nant y Arian – I think it’s one of the most beautiful trail centres out there.”

Alex’s performance underlined that this year – above all years – that to do well overall you had to be a master of every facet of riding and not just one part. “What’s great about TransWales,” Alex explains, “ is there’s no faking it. You have to be a great all-round rider - great at climbing and descending, as well with endurance. And it proved that I wasn’t [laughs]. But it’s been great for Gore Bike Wear to be involved with such a tough event that is as aspirational as the TransWales; we’ve loaned a lot of Gore Bike Wear kit to riders and it’s been really good to see them really using it as it was intended. There’s no other event in the country which tests as much as this does; the riders who are all here have clearly put in the time and the training and there’s no way you can complete this ride without having done the leg work before hand.”

So with the dust (and mud) finally settling after seven days, 487km and 14,795m of climbing covered alongside five special stages – including climbing, descending, sprint, and all-round trail riding tests – the 2010 Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport has come to a steller end. To the winners the spoils of victory whilst to the runner ups commiserations for fights well fought. But for all, enough memories of pristine Hi-Def quality to last another year and the warm satisfaction of meeting the challenge of the TransWales. Congratulations to all.

The 2010 Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes Vito Sport Champions are:

Schwalbe Solo Category
Open Female
Rickie Cotter (WXC Racing)

Schwalbe Solo Category
Open Male
Ryan Hawson (Ayup Lighting)

Squirt Solo Category
Vets Male
Alan Parkinson (South Western (London) Road Club)

Merida Bikes Category
Open Male Teams
Neil Richardson & Dan Lewis (RAFCC)

Buff Headwear Category
Open Female Teams
Stef Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Clifton CC)

Alpina Helmets Category
Vets Male Teams
Mark Olivier & Andrew Donkin (Invalids)

Birzman Tools Category
Mixed Teams
Claire Neuhoff & Simon Neuhoff (The Clantons)

Stage 5 Results:

Stage 5 Team Results - Download PDF

Overall Team Results - Download PDF

Stage 5 Solo Results - Download PDF

Overall Solo Results - Download PDF

Individual Stage Results:

Stage 1 Individual Results - Download PDF

Stage 2 Individual Results - Download PDF

Stage 3 Individual Results - Download PDF

Stage 4 Individual Results - Download PDF

Stage 5 Individual Results - Download PDF

Congratulations to all the winners. Also a massive thanks to all the riders for making the event what it is and for smiling in the face of adversity; to our sponsors – Gore Bike Wear, Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport, Merida Bikes, Schwalbe tyres, Birzman tools, Alpina helmets, Squirt lube, Buff, Exposure Lights, High5, and Mountain Biking UK (MBUK) magazine – a huge thank you for your belief and support in making the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport possible. It could not happen with you. So until next year, adieu…


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