Merida 100Km,  Event 2 at Builth Wells

Sunday 04 July 2004

After experiencing the Rhayader event, you're never quite sure whether to believe the commentator as he claims in one breath "There are 1200 competitors lined up today and the streets will be lined with 10,000 cheering people as lead out through Builth Wells at the start". I can believe there were 1200 competitors, but more like 200 spectators cheering us through the streets following the pace car. What pace car? The driver must be Michael Schumacher.

There were very few hold ups at the start and no bottlenecks throughout the course. Carrie was attempting the 70km course (80km in the end) and Pete and I, the 100km course (99.6km on my speedo and 2170m ascent). Pete had ridden to work a couple of times in the week and I had raced in the FNSS event at Chicksands Friday night (4th in the Vets). We started at a fairly slow pace, but soon warmed up to faster speed (averaging about 147 bpm and 18kmh for the day).

Pete and I nearly collided at one point, like last time! Then, at 30 km I managed to break a spoke in my rear wheel, which we noticed as we stopped to fix a pinch puncture. I suspect I received the two simultaneously as I bottomed out at the end of a steep/fast descent. We lost about 5 minutes as we removed the broken spoke and repaired the puncture.

Pete crossing the stream, near the end at Builth Wells, and ...

.. Gary crossing the same.

The route was excellent. A good mixture of singletrack, forest trails and road. The views from the military ranges above Builth Wells were stunning and the sun shone all day at over 20 degrees C, although what appeared to be the live ordnance we were cycling over was a little disconcerting. Organisation as before was first class and the friendly atmosphere of these events is to be recommended.

Last time we took about took just over 6 hours (at around a third, 21st & 22nd out of 60), whereas this time we were pleased with the 5:30 hours and came in at 10th and 11th out of the 84 in the Veteran Male class or 73rd and 74th out of the 425 riders that completed the 100km ride.  Carrie completed the 70 km (actually 80km) and was the 4th Veteran women to complete this distance - well done Carrie. Carrie also won an on the spot prize of some Sugoi arm warmers (that fit me - thank you).
Carrie closely pursued by a fellow competitor #1175
(All photo's

For anyone interested in the stats for the day, these can be seen below: