TransWales - day 4



Day 4 - Wednesday 18th August 2010     Machynlleth to Cwymystwyth (including Special Stage Three) 

Total distance: 71km

Climbing: 2495m


Today was my last day at the TransWales this year. I’m slinking off home, branded a ‘part timer’ by the 7-dayers. So as my last day I wanted a corker, and that is what I got. After the customary bit of road to start us off, we were on to the fire road climbing, or ‘winching’ as it has become known. Luckily for me, the climbs were shorter and more rolling, so I was able to stay in touch with my friends, rather than having to sweat and puff and grunt my way onto a wheel. Soon the road and fire road gave way to the stunning broken bridleway, that leads you towards Nant y Moch reservoir and a series of technical climbs and rock-strewn descents which had me grinning from ear to ear. The mood was high all around us, despite the grey skies and intermittent drizzle.


Transwales day 4


The High 5 drinks station over looked the dramatic damn at Nant y Moch and we gazed over the cliff side, as we munched through a banana or two, knowing the Nant y Arian special stage was only 10k away. A fight through a fierce head wind and we were at the start. Nervous looking riders stood around trying to figure out how much water they would need and how long it might take. The special stage was a sharp climb and pedally section through undulating broken fire road, followed by a fantastic fast flowing singletrack descent and then The Leg Burner, a long fire road climb all the way back to the start.

I ditched my camelback and set off. Beep, beep, beep, PEDAL!!!!! The first few climbs were fine and the descents were fantastically fast and quite tough over slippery rocks. A "v" in the trail caught me off guard and I glanced to the right to check I was going the right way before returning my eyes firmly to the trail I was on. Too late, a large slippery off camber slab whipped my wheels away and I went down. The line was to the right, but I was too late to move over. I grabbed my bike and remounted, just as an Australian bloke nipped past, shouting to see if I was ok.

The singletrack started just round the corner and I flung my bike into it, enjoyed skidding round the corners and popping up over the slabby drops. I could see the Australian ahead and I was gaining. Just a few more berms and I would have been on his back wheel, but far too soon we were out on the fire road and I was settling into the Leg Burner. It was fine, really - a middle ring climb. Every time my thumb flickered towards my shifter, I would force it away again and just try to turn my legs a little faster. I’m no climber and I could feel the time I was losing, but it had been worth it. The singletrack descent was immense!

After the race was over, adrenaline soaked racers rode quickly down to the trail centre cafe and drank coffee and ate sandwiches, before setting off into the wind for the final 30km. Soon we were off the road and a steep bridleway climb took us past the first camp of the 2006 TransWales. We were up on top of the moors once again and looking forward to the highlight of the week for me; the wind farm! Climbing up the draggy fire road, you can hear the whoosh of the blades as they cut through the air. Blue sky now and the turbines look eerie, like something from an alien invasion film from the ‘80s. There are hundreds out on the hill, peacefully turning. We ride through them in silence, looking up and around us, awed at their size and the sheer number of them. Then we plumet downwards and out towards the final descent of the day – a broken tarmac track, which takes us down to the one remote camp of the TransWales.

Music, clapping and cheering greets us, as it always does. But this time it was our final time to cross the timing mats, find our bags and tent, shower and drink tea. Then we clambered into the RAF van and were driven back to Builth for the drive home. Work tomorrow. Normality, civilisation, a soft bed and hot baths. I miss the TransWales already and can’t wait for next year.


Ridden & written by Fi Spotswood






Schwalbe Solo Category - open female

1 – Rickie COTTER (WXC Racing) 00:26:09

2 – Hannah THORNE 00:28:37

3 – Amanda BROOKS 00:31:16



Buff Headwear Category - open female teams

1 Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Clifton CC) 0:32:38

2 Julie Neuhoff & Victoria Moorhouse (With Hind Sight) 0:32:48






Schwalbe Solo Category - open female

1 – Hannah THORNE 18:43:25

2 – Rickie COTTER (WXC Racing) 26:12:14

3 – Amanda BROOKS 26:15:33 


Buff Headwear Category - open female teams

1 Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Clifton CC) 26:17:10

2 Julie Neuhoff & Victoria Moorhouse (With Hind Sight) 26:18:38


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