The last two years set examples for the first event of the year which were difficult to follow and with the 1st event falling onto the Easter weekend there was a certain amount of uncertainty going around the MTB-Marathon office how the season starter would work out!
Luckily though the weather managed to play ball (at least to a certain degree) and the riders still came in huge numbers to the opener of the Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon Series 2012 powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport. Almost 1200 riders made it to Builth Wells to test their night or day riding skills on the four courses on offer.
With the 1st event falling onto the busy Easter weekend expectations were conservative but the Exposure Lights Big Night Out opened had once again almost 250 riders on the start sheet. The event village opened at the usual time with a broad spread of exhibition and trade stands offering their services to the arriving crowds.
With darkness setting in slowly everybody lined up to get any last minute instructions and at around 7.45pm the Exposure Lights Big Night Out finally got on the road. Almost 250 riders made their way onto the specifically designed night marathon course in the hills surrounding Builth Wells. Even with the temperatures being more April like (contrary to the last two years) the conditions out on course were superb and super with the fastest rider only taking a little more than two hours to complete the 43km loop. With a high quality field and everybody out there wanting to prove themselves the leader position was hard fought over all the way to the finish line. The first rider made it back into the event village in two hour sand four minutes picking up the ELBNO T-shirt while the last rider took four hours and 25 minutes to complete the course.
At the slightly later start time of 10.30am (to give all the night riders who wanted a second ride more recovery time) almost 900 riders lined up to tackle one of the three single track packed courses on offer. Even with the strong winter keeping riders from getting their ‘spring legs’ in time for the event the long distance remained the most popular distance of the weekend. Due to the high calibre field and the super conditions out on course the approx. 70km long ‘middle marathon’ was completed in just three hours and five minutes with the last rider crossing the line to pick up the well deserved event T-shirt after six hours and 49minutes.
As always we had our event photographer Jon Brooke out on course taking pics of the best locations and pretty much all the riders going by. Check out Jon’s website http://www.rightplacerighttime.co.uk where you can find your photos to view and to buy.
Next marathon – Selkirk on the 19-20th May 2012
The next round will take us to the other spiritual home of the MTB-Marathon Series – Selkirk in the Scottish borders. But this time the Scottish round is not just earlier in the year but it will also feature the UK Marathon Championships.
So if you are looking for a choice of 4 courses in one of the best marathon event locations in the country or if you like to test yourself against the best on the marathon distance then make sure you keep the 19-20th May free. For further details on the event please go to the Selkirk event page or go directly to the entry page.