TransWales - day 3



Day 3 : Tuesday 17th August, Llandiloes to Machynlleth


Linking Stage Three (including Special Stage Two – 7km downhill time trial)

Total distance: 82km

Climbing: 2430m



The camp is buzzing after today's stage. The day started under grey skies and soon those wearing Goretex shorts were grateful as those without lost their smiles in the drizzle and mist. A long fire road climb dropped us into the first water stop and Bob from High 5 handed out bananas and energy drink. The mood was surprisingly up beat as nothing but more climbing and moorland slog was waiting for us. The trail ramped up steeply and soon we were winching across the grass, enjoying the slippery muddy rutted descents and cursing the lumpy grass climbs. A gate and rutted track sparked in my memory and I remembered where we were from last year. I knew what was coming - a steep off camber descent on singletrack hugging the side of a steep valley. Last year there were lots of people around me and i didn't ride this descent and this year, with a big smile and following the familiar wheel of my long-time riding pal Gary, we shot round the corner and flew down the rocks to the bridge.


Transwales day 3_1


The Slabby Descent was to follow and as we flew into the top of it from the mist we had to check our speed immediately as we realised there was no grip at all on the sheets of shiney slate. Photographers lined the trail snappy shots of people grinning, stumbling or sliding. Our group cleaned the trail and were glad to feel the firm grassy track under our wheels the other side of it.

At lunch Gore Bike Wear were lending out jerseys to riders, and we all took them up on the offer as ours were soaked through. Looking very stylish in our borrowed Windstopper zip throughs, we set off for the long climb up to the special stage. 10km of fire road climbing, ending in a bit of single track, saw us reach John Lloyd and the timing mats. A quick breathe and a jelly baby and that was it - over the blue beeping mats and down into the 5km descent. Everyone has a story about their time trial. There were crashes, punctures, mechanicals and worse. My chain slipped off and I messed up a few of the technical bits, but thoroughly enjoyed the steep berms and rock gardens. The wet rock was treacherous and there were casualties, both bike and limb. But the stage did what Mike Wilkens wanted and really shake up the podium positions. There were new faces on the top step in almost every category, including Gary Bridgeman who jumped from 9th place in the Vet Male Solo to first overall with a stonking time. Tomorrow we are back to time trialling with climbing and descending so the all rounders will come back to the fore, but in the mean time the descenders can enjoy a bit of the glory!

Tonight we camp in Machynlleth and riders and crew are enjoying the local hostelries, shops and delicacies (fish and chips). Day 4 looms, with more massive climbing and some technical singletrack before we even reach Nant y Arian for the special stage. Day 4 is also my last day riding the TransWales as I gear myself up for an expedition adventure race I am racing in 2 weeks time with my team, For Goodness Shakes AR. I will be sad to leave and will make sure my last day is a good 'un.


Ridden and written by Fiona Spotswood


Tomorrow (Wednesday) 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.






Schwalbe Solo Category - Open Female

1 – Fiona SPOTSWOOD (For Goodness Shakes) 00:10:17

2 – Hannah THORNE 00:11:16

3 – Amanda BROOKS 00:11:41


Buff Headwear Category - Open Female teams

1 – Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Clifton CC) 00:12:02

2 – Julie Neuhoff & Victoria Moorhouse (With Hind Sight) 00:12:49








Schwalbe Solo Category - Open Female

1 – Fiona SPOTSWOOD (For Goodness Shakes) 18:42:44

2 – Hannah THORNE 18:43:25

3 – Amanda BROOKS 18:44:17



Buff Headwear Category - Open Female teams

1 – Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Clifton CC) 18:44:32

2 – Julie Neuhoff & Victoria Moorhouse (With Hind Sight) 18:45:50

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