With the new destination, the event also saw an exciting change in format, running the MTB Marathon on Saturday and road event in the Sunday.
The weather in the week leading up to the event was perfect in the small, stunning town of Abergavenny, but in true British summer style we had flood warnings on the Friday night before the event. Of course being the CRC MTB marathon series we didn’t let this “dampen” our spirits and the event ground was ready for the arrival of the riders by 4pm on Friday afternoon. The scene was set for what was about to be one of the best MTB Marathons to date. The riders flooded in on the Friday night with the excellent camping facilities were quickly filled up by early evening.
As predicted, with nightfall also came rain. However, to say the ground held up well would be an understatement. Awaking the next morning, spirits were high with people excited to get on their bikes and tackle the best these Welsh trails had to offer. With three distances to select from, the series once again offered a choice of distance to suit both experienced and novice riders alike.
With over 1000 entries, proof of this events popularity is shown by the sheer numbers that sign up. To make things better, a far stretch from the flood warnings predicted, the sun came out, shining down on the event village and adding to the atmosphere that was close to the best we have ever had at this series. And with that…they were off, riding the technical, challenging but overall fun trails around Abergavenny. The rain briefly showed its face with two downpours throughout the day, but it was a far cry from the warnings that Wales had been given for this weekend.
With the change in format, we saw a huge number of riders stay after the ride and enjoy coverage of GB’s most successful day in the Olympics for over 100 years on a widescreen television that was set up by the event organisers. With a bar to provide a refreshing beverage after the long ride and later on a band to entertain those in the event gazebo. No amount of rain would have flooded the enthusiasm of those lucky enough to be present.
Vitus Road Sportive
Sunday morning saw a cool, crisp day arrive in the Welsh town and soon after it, the arrival of the riders for the Vitus Road sportive. With an entry of nearly 300 this sportive provides another excellent opportunity to experience some of Wales best climbs and descents. It seemed the rain that was predicted caught up with us slightly on the Sunday. However these guys didn’t let that put them off and from 0830 the riders begin to ride out in waves. The climbs were the talk of the day, with the pain when reaching the top being evened out by the exhilaration of riding some of Wales’s best descents.
Riders came in a bit wet, but all with smiles and individual tales from their ride. It was time for a well deserved sit down, a warm cuppa and a few snacks to replace that must needed energy. The atmosphere was still high in the event tent with the crowds still relaxing from the night before at the finish of the Sportive.
The combination of a new venue and the new format of the weekend really did make the event one of the best MTB Marathon weekends we have ever experienced. A big thank you must go to Mike Wilkens, John Lloyd and all their staff who helped make this round of the CRC MTB Marathon Series one that is surely not to be missed in the future.
We have one round left this year in Ruthlin, with the added extra of a ELBNO on the weekend 15th-16th of September. If this weekends fun was anything to go by, you simply can’t afford to miss it.