Tag Archives: scott mtb marathon

Scott MTB Marathon – Rhayader, Wales

On Sunday I took on my first Scott marathon of the season. Michelle and I travelled together to Rhayader in mid-Wales on Saturday in the pouring rain hoping that the sun would shine on the race day!

The morning brought dry cloudy weather, as we lined up in the mass start the sun was trying to come out but dark clouds loomed above us so I decided to take my waterproof, just in case.

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I always find mass starts challenging and yet again as we pulled off Michelle easily seemed to slip through gaps between riders whilst I struggled to find my own gaps! I had to push harder than I would usually push at the start of a long race to get back to Michelle and then set into a steady rhythm up the last road climb before the fun stuff!

After the descent the course turned onto fire road, as I turned to my side, I expected to see Michelle but she wasn’t there, looking back I couldn’t see her and thought she must have got caught up so I gradually made my way up the hill expecting her to catch up.

The course was very wet and muddy with huge puddles and a lot of slip sliding around on the grassy descents. I enjoyed the challenge this presented as the steeper decents were made more technical and pushed my skill level where if they had been dry they would have not been an issue. The course was packed with good climbs but the most challenging and best climb was a steep rocky climb that seemed to have a lot of people walking on it, I started the climb behind a guy but once he wheel spun and moved out of the way I was free to pick my own line through the walkers, this was a rather nice feeling to be slowly edging past lots of people, by the time I got to the top my heart rate was sky high but I felt a massive sense of achievement for beating the hill climb.

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I was going well fuelling wise I started with dates at 45 mins then another 45 mins later had salted peanuts then when I reached the first feed station I had a banana, handful of nuts and got my water topped up. It was at this time that a crack of thunder rumbled through the skies and the heavens opened, not just drizzle a torrential downpour started for what seemed like ages, I was glad to have packed my waterproof! It was tough going in the wet and cold every time I went up hill I got too hot followed by freezing on the downs. I tried to keep drinking small sips but my water bottles were so caked with mud I ended up with more than just a drink.

After the course split and the half marathon went one way there was another long road climb, it was on this climb where I heard the sound of my name being called! Looking round Michelle had caught up. It was great to ride with other people again after being on my own for around 43km.

This next part of the course was the worst after a fire road climb the single-track became almost un-rideable due to massive puddles and so much thick mud that my tyres wouldn’t go round. We ended up walking lots of this section slowing down meant getting cold so I ate some more dates to try and get some extra energy. It was a short while after we left the single-track back on a wider path that Michelle fell off and sliced her knee on something, we still don’t know exactly what!

This meant a walk back to the marshal point and a long 45 min wait for the paramedic, after they washed out her wound they decided she shouldn’t ride on it so I finished the course on my own.

Michelle was okay luckily but had to have three stitches.

Although I didn’t complete the full 75km I am super happy with this result I kept a consistent pace fuelled well and felt in a good place, I didn’t feel tired at the end which I feel is a good indication I had more in the tank. I will be back to finish this race next year! For now onwards and upwards towards the Alps…

 

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100km Marathon

Yesterday I rode my first ever mountain bike super marathon, 100km. The Scott MTB Monster Marathon in Wantage, Oxfordshire. I had not had the best start with a few weeks of bumpy training and no time for long rides. I was hoping that the short sharp vo2 sessions which have helped improve my fitness would be enough to pull me through. To add to this it was my Dad and Sarah’s wedding on Friday so after a wonderful day and long night I hadn’t had a lot of sleep and had a belly full of cake and wine!

I drove up to Oxford apprehensive about the distance, the furthest I had ever been on a mountain bike but excited about the challenge.

The start was delayed by 15 minutes as people got stuck in London because of Ride London. Which reminded me of the absence of Martyn, who was meant to be accompanying me on this latest adventure…

When the horn finally went my relaxed start meant I was quite far back, I worked hard through the field to try and get in a good spot before the single track. I managed this relatively successfully and turned into the singletrack in a good position.

The first hour passed quite quickly, I thought the feed zone was at 21km it turned out to be at 17km which had taken me an hour; this worried my slightly as I had planned my own rations around when I could replenish. I picked up half a banana and re filled my water bottle.

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The next couple of hours went by without a hitch I was happy I put more air I’m my tyres as I flew by lots of people with punctures.  The hills were easy climbs but in the heat felt hard.

The views were amazing up on the ridgeway I could see for miles which took my mind off how long I had been riding for. The ground was chalky and rutty in most places with some loose rockie climbs and descents. A few road sections linked together the mainly double and single track course including one road through a valley where the wind seemed to be pushing me backwards.

The first 70km I felt happy with my pace and progress. I had a slight head ache due to the heat and being slightly dehydrated. At 76km I reached the final feed station snacking on peanuts and bananas I was starting to feel tired. Luckily I met a fellow cross-country racer and chatting about racing helped the time to pass quicker! When the 10km to go sign came I was really excited to be so close to finishing but also sad that my first 100km was coming to an end.

Crossing the finish line was a relief and being able to grab a cold drink felt very rewarding!

My first 100km was a great experience and I learnt a lot. I think in reflection maybe I needed to drink more in the first two hours. Also I think I would have been better with a more salty snack. Malt loaf was great but I craved salt so would try something savoury next time.