Mawddach Goldrush – What I am letting myself in for?

Uh oh… I’m now officially signed up to do the Mawddach Goldrush mountain bike race on Sunday March 8th.

The ‘challenge will run on a course based on the famous TARW trail at Coed y Brenin with twisty, rocky sections and fast-flowing descents’. I’m not completely mad though as i’m doing it as part of a relay team rather than a solo effort so will only have to do one lap rather than 3.

Still, guess I’d start getting fit for ir so as not to let the others in my team down, and it would probably be a good idea make a trip to Coed y Brenin and at least do one circuit of the trail before ‘race day’!

2010 Update

Looking for my 2010 race report – Look here: Mawddach Goldrush 2010 Race Report

31 Responses

  1. Avatar forComment Author Tim says:

    I’ve just done a google search on the race as I’ve entered it as well, and found your blog. Stupidly I’m doing it solo and am worried about what I’m getting myself into. I’m not going to race, but am interested as to how fit/experienced all the other riders are going to be? I’ve done a lap of the trail before and it took me about 1 1/2 hrs or so, but looking at last years results, there’s people doing all 3 in just over 2 1/2hrs. Am I the only one pooing my pants?

    • Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

      Hi Tim…
      No, you’re not the only one!!! Although you probably don’t have too much to worry about, 1.5 hours for once around sounds OK to me. I haven’t done the trail myself yet, but hope to soon, but I have heard plenty of horror stories about its difficulty and even have a friend who broke his pelvis on it! (Not in the race). This will be my first event and I don’t expect to get around the trail in under 1.5 hours. Hopefully there will be plenty of others slower and less fit than I am so I don’t think you need worry.
      At the end of the day it is supposed to be fun, so as long as we enjoy it the time doesn’t really matter.


  2. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    Well, I did the Tarw Trail myself yesterday. Took 1hr 52 mins but I was taking it easy and waiting for Simon at the top of the climbs, although 1.5 hrs would be quite fast for me.

    Trail was good though, although Full Suspension would have been nice at times.


  3. Avatar forComment Author Mark says:

    I did the race last year, although based on the Tarw trail you will be qicker than you think as there is alot of open riding which is quick and the single track they do put in is ok for most levels, i did it in about 2hrs 45min so i think you will be fine best thing about this event is that it is staggrered start so you are never sure what position you are in, My first aim is to enjoy every race then anythin after that is a bonus, have a good one

  4. Avatar forComment Author Tim says:

    I’ve just returned to this blog to see some encouraging comments made by others. Thanks. I still think 2hrs 45mins must have been going some. I returned with 2 mates a few weeks ago and tried it in the snow (it was a bit gnarly to say the least), so I’m hoping for better weather. I’ve just checked the forecast and it says 0 degrees with the 19mph wind chill, and intermittent rain. Just thought some of you may like to know.
    The snow lap took nearly 2 hours, but we were having to take it real steady.

    Out of interest. How much of the route is not the actual Tarw trail? And what are these sections like? Singletrack/fireroad/technical/etc? Is the heart of darkness section included (cuz that was real tricky in the snow!)

    I’m hoping for less of the fireroad stuff, as I thought there was a bit too much of it when I was up last, especially compared to the MBR trail.

    Cheers guys

  5. Avatar forComment Author james says:

    i’m in the race and going to try the course for first time tomorrow.. can’t wait…

  6. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    James… Let us know how you get on, both tomorrow and on the day. I’m planning a trip to Coed Y Brenin on Friday for a quick spin around the Tarw Trail.


  7. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    Tim.. Just been checking the result from last year and the winner did it in 2:41 and 10 people went under 3 hours which sounds pretty fast to me.

    As I’m doing it as part of a team I’ll only be doing 1 lap, but if I can get close to 1:30 then I’ll be pleased… Mind you at that pace it would probably take me around 5 hours to do 3 laps!

    Of course, if the actual course doesn’t follow the Tarw Trail then all of this speculation is useless!!


  8. Avatar forComment Author james says:

    Hi Alan

    I did it twice in a row yesterday.. from the car park my first go round took 1hr35…but the second circuit took 1hr50 … I was pretty glad i didn’t have to do a 3rd circuit !!

    I then spoke to one of the forestry commission blokes from the visitor centre who said that the trail is not the same for the event.. (as mark says above)

    enjoy yourself friday


    • Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

      Nice one James…. Those times sound about the same as I’d be capable of, and I wouldn’t fancy a third lap either!

      I was out yesterday trying out my new bike at ClimachX just north of Machynlleth. Lovely day for it, and can’t wait for a spin around the Tarw trail now as well.

      Maybe see you there in a couple of weeks time.


  9. Avatar forComment Author Anonymous says:

    Had a MTB ride around the Tarw Trail today on my new Commencal Meta 5.5.1. Didn’t go flat out, but didn’t take it easy either and did it in 1 hr 34 minutes.

    The full-suspension certainly made it a little easier.


  10. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    One of out team as dropped out with an injured ankle…. Hopefully we’ll find a replacement, otherwise I’m going to have to do two laps myself!


  11. Avatar forComment Author Claire says:

    Just a quick note to wish anyone doing the Goldrush on Sunday good luck! I marshalled last year and will be doing so again this year (finders crossed for good weather!). You will definitely all enjoy yourselves as last year’s event was a great day.


    • Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

      Thanks Claire…. If you see me struggling past on a bright (very bright) green bike then shout some words of encouragement!!

      And thanks in advance for your hard work marshalling, we wouldn’t be able to put ourselves through such things without you!


  12. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    Does anyone know what the format is for teams? i.e. does each team member get his/ger own timing chip meaning that they can go off whenever they wish (all together if they want), or is it one timing chip per team so that they have to do it in a relay format?


  13. Avatar forComment Author Tim says:

    No idea about the teams format I’m afraid (I’m going solo), but I have just been looking at different weather forecasts for Sunday and it don’t look too good. One site predicts up to 50mph gusts and hail. Eeeek! I don’t mind rain, or snow, but the wind could make it really difficult. As this post says, what am I letting myself in for?!!


  14. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    Tim… You can almost guarantee it will be windy… As a windsurfer it is ALWAYS perfectly windy on the weekends that I have committed myself to doing something else!

    Good luck fro Sunday.


  15. Avatar forComment Author Mark says:

    Hi people for those doing the race last year they ran the one section backwards which was a bit of a problem as there was one section you had to get of jump up a few rocks then carry on for those that know the trail its the last single track which takes you back to the road where you head back to the car hopefully they wont do it this time, good luck

  16. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    The big day is here, and as forecast it is blowing a hoolie out there… And my back is hurting after pushing that stupid wheel-barrow back from the beach yesterday!…. Grrrrr.

    The excuses are coming already!


  17. Avatar forComment Author Tim says:

    Well, I did it! I looked out for a bright green Commencal but didn’t see it, but met plenty of like minded people who all suffered as much as me. Well that’s not entirely true as I didn’t meet anyone else who had two punctures as well as several bowts of cramp, but there were a lot of people hurting.

    Mark – they did the same section (R47) backwards with that ridiculous rocky climb over the waterfall. I hope the guy that fell down there was alright. Apparently he had to be airlifted to hospital.

    Another little gripe I had was with some of the racier minded guys in their lycra who didn’t show much regard for other competitors. One poor guy was mowed down twice in the space of 5mins buy two different pairs racing against each other near the end of their last lap.

    Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed myself despite the weather, and would recommend others to give it a go. The course was great, marshals helpful and friendly, and scenery (with the snow capped mountains) breathtaking.

    Thanks to all that helped with the event. Maybe see yo next year.


    • Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

      Nice one Tim.. I was there, honest. I drew the short straw and ended up going third in our team by which time the field was pretty strung out so I didn’t actually see many people out on the course. I did overtake quite a few people who were on their third lap whilst I was on my 1 and only lap, but no more than on a usual day out really.

      I haven’t heard news of Brodie (the guy who was air-lifted out) but will let you know how he is, as he sometimes rides with us here in Aber.

      I shall try to get hold of some photos too, as going 3rd meant I didn’t have chance to take any myself and I’ll write a better report later, but I did my lap in an unooficial time of 62 minutes (excluding change over time) which I was pretty pleased with.


  18. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    Just got some more news on Brodie:

    Apparently his bike looks OK! His Giro Atmos is a right off!!!

    He basically fell 4m off the trail into a ravine and bounced quite a few times. The extraction was tricky, taking 40mins to do and involved some interesting splints and top notch extreme medics equipment. He was then transfered to the air Ambulance who decided it was too risky to fly him (it was too windy) so he was driven to Bronglais.

    The outcome is ligament damage to the neck (sexy NHS collar) badly brusied shin and a hairline fracture but no cast or crutches.


  19. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    Well, the weather wasn’t the best, cold, windy and hailstorms but we were signed up for it so off we headed to Coed y Brenin. I met John and Mark there and as we sat in the car sheltering from the hail we said “who’s stupid idea was this”… And then we realised, it was Martyn’s idea and he wasn’t here as he had injured his ankle… Had we been stitched up?

    So, it was on with the waterproofs and down to the visitor centre to register and then draw straws to see which order we’d go in. I was hoping to go first so that I could then stand around taking photos but I drew the short straw and had to go third. Mark was up first and John second. Mark got ready and headed across to the start line and John and I headed across on the shuttle bus to see him off.

    There were a few others from Ystwyth Mountnain Bike Club. Siriol was doing it solo as was Dave and there was another team from Summit Cycles consisting of Jimmy, Ollie and Chris. Brodie from the students club was also competing solo.

    Once Mark had set off John and I headed back, I had a quick hot chocolate and cake and expected to find John had headed across to the start finish area, but he was still pfaffing about and apparently Mark finished his lap before John arrived ready to take over!

    I got ready and headed across so had to wait around for a while getting cold for John to finish, I then had to quickly get changed and head off for my lap. There seemed to be quite a bit of climbing to start with and plenty of mud, but I was soon overtaking people. especially those who were on their 3rd lap and got into the swing of things. I had to get off on the rocky section of R74 which was approached in the opposite direction to normal, but otherwise nothing was too technical. I picked off a few other riders both on climbs and some of the technical sections and before I knew it I was heading back down to the start finish line and it was all over.

    My unofficial time was 1 hr 3 minutes, but my official time including change over was 1:06:41.. Not bad and if I had known the course I could have done it quicker I’m sure as I still felt pretty fresh at the end. By the time I’d finished my team mates had packed up and gone home, but a few others from the Aberystwyth contingent were finishing off and hanging around so it was back to the cafe for a hot chocolate before heading home.

    All in all a good day out and I enjoyed my first ever MTB event. the organisation was good, and from what I’ve heard when they were really needed the marshalls and ‘extreme medics’ first aid team were excellent (Brodie had a fall and had to be stretchered out).

    I’ll be back, hopefully we raised some money for the Air Ambulance as well, especially seeing as it was called out (but not used because of the wind) for Brodie.


  20. Avatar forComment Author Simon says:

    Hi everyone.

    I’ve just agreed to do the gold rush 2010 with my sisters boyfriend (“two tires” Steve Armfield) and I’m a bit nervous. We’re going to do the relay but I’m fairly new to mountain biking.

    We’re going up to do the trail in mid January and that’ll be the first time I’ve been to a proper centre to go riding. I’m from Cornwall and have done a bit of riding round locally (round Trencrom and Trink for anyone local) and some quite challenging sections of coast path but I’m really not sure what to expect.

    Really looking forward to it though as it sounds a bit of a challenge and from what you guys have written most people sound really nice.


    • Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

      Nice one Simon, you’ll enjoy it and it is worth doing the trail first before ‘race day’. There’s nothing really extreme on the trail, just a few tricky bits.

      I’m hoping to do it solo this year.


  21. Avatar forComment Author Chris says:

    Hi guys, a friend and I have just entered for the Gold rush 2010. We are VERY new to mountain biking, but are really keen and super UNFIT! so we thought we’d throw ourselves in at the deep end just to see what were in for…. We did the traw trail last weekend and both really enjoyed it.

    We have one big question…. what happens at the start? I understand the quick guys go first, but how does everyone else start? surely its not a free for all, into the first single track corner?? ha ha

    If you could let me know it would be great,

    Cheers Chris

    • Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

      Hi Chris… Don’t worry, last year the Mawddach Goldrush was my first ever MTB race as well…. I’m no fitter now than I was then mind you.

      Last year there wasn’t a tiered start, but you could basically go whenever you wanted. The timing is done with timing chips so you start when you want (within a sensible window from the official start time). I’m assuming that this year will be much the same. The fastest guys will have a start time earlier than the rest of us (say 1oam) then we’ll all be able to set off anytime between 10:15am and 10:45am (I’m making these times up BTW). You can just pick a time when you;re ready within the alloted window and go when you want. This will allow the fastest guys to get off before us so we don’t get in their way and allow us to go when it doesn’t look too busy into the first bit of Single Track.

      It’ll all become clear(ish) on the day!!


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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.