Sunday, September 8, 2013

Brecon Beast 67k: Should've taken gears. Better still, a road bike.

Star date: 8 September 2013
Location: Brecon Beacons
Event: Brecon Beast
Weapon of choice: Carbon singlespeed with suspension forks and dropper post
Greatest achievement: Not quite losing the will to live
Greatest weakness: Bike prep, again
Result: 4th overall, 1st vet, 1st singlespeed

What a shit course. More, my adoring fans, when (if) I calm down.

*** Update, 14 October 2013 ***

OK, so it was (well) organised entirely by volunteers and entirely for charity, but that is no excuse for a mountain biking event to be just 40% offroad.

I hate riding on roads. They’re useful for getting from A to B fast, especially in a car, but where is the challenge, where are the thrills? Where are the rocks and the gravel and the mud and the roots and the streams and the brambles and the year-round puddles? Where are the ruts, the steps, the berms, the drops?

The endless miles of asphalt at the beginning, middle and end of this year’s route were particularly frustrating on the singlespeed, as I could only watch my geared peers flying effortlessly into the distance while I span out helplessly, losing so much of the ground gained on the climbs.

Gaining ground on the first climb and still able to smile. Photo: Brecon Beast

I also spent much of the race nursing an increasingly soft front tyre around the course, for reasons that were entirely self-inflicted: tubeless sealant drying up, dodgy pump giving up the ghost, fear of riding rocks on tubes. This took much of the fun out of the fun stuff. In fact the final plummet back into Brecon became an exercise in fun avoidance as I kept the speed right down to protect the rim and stop the tyre from parting ways with the bike. Shame it was only at the bottom of this descent that I discovered the CO2 canister I'd forgotten I’d packed…

Still standing. Photo: Roy Bevis

There were also a couple of very entertaining rocky downhill sections out in the wilds, but otherwise it was a rather featureless slog dominated by tarmac and fireroad. Last year’s course was great, so I really don’t understand how the organisers could get it so wrong this time. Fingers crossed they get it right again next year, as there is some fantastic riding in the area.

A lot more of this kind of thing would've been good. Photo: Brecon Beast
At least the rain held off, and fourth was a pretty good result, all things considered.

Result Times for all Short Course Riders - (369)

Rider No First Name Surname Sex Route Time
664 Ross Farley Male Short 2.55
596 Richard Samuel Male Short 3.05
650 Gareth Jones Male Short 3.05
185 Chris Schroder Male Short 3.11
217 Peter Taylor Male Short 3.12
395 Dylan Stephens Male Short 3.14
580 Alex Willis Male Short 3.14
443 Jon Moyle Male Short 3.15
239 Allistair Shannon Male Short 3.17
652 Cefin Evans Male Short 3.18
642 Stuart Smith Male Short 3.20
607 Simon Hodges Male Short 3.20
601 Phil Davies Male Short 3.23
706 Andrew Salmons Male Short 3.23
521 Tony Stephens Male Short 3.24
68 Jonathan Morgan Male Short 3.25
594 Argo Bowsher Male Short 3.26

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