Dyfi Enduro Race Report
May 3rd 2009. Dyfi Enduro Day. I’d never done the ‘race’ before but knew most of the course and as it is my local event would know lots of people there so was looking forward to it.
I headed off and arrived in Machynlleth with plenty of time to register and get ready. I parked next to a car that turned out to be Andy’s (Who I didn’t know was doing the event) so I had a chat and caught up with him before wandering across the field to register. I then met everyone else, Dave (Who was marshalling this year) provided me with one of his Ystwyth-MTB tops to wear for the day. Bernd and Martyn had theirs on too. Myles had his rigid singlespeed bike with a dodgy Bottom Bracket. Jon Baker was there (selling some Oakleys in the car park) and I had a chat with John D and Mark. Although I didn’t see much of Mark as he kept popping off to the toilet and could really have done with some Immodium!
I had planned to meet Shem, but couldn’t find him anywhere so headed over to the start with John and Mark. After a quick briefing we were off at 11am. 800 riders snaking their way along the Welsh roads. It was quite a sight to see so many riders all together, especially as they all bunched up on the first little climb. I was somewhere in the middle so could see hundreds of riders filling the road in front of me. I saw Faye and Dawn supporting from the bridge of the Dyfi as we headed off for the forest.
I had loads of people commenting on the colour of my bike. In fact after about the twentieth comment along the lines of ‘You need contrast control for that’ it did get a little tiresome! We were soon on the first big climb and the field of riders started stretching out. Some younger, fitter, faster people passed me and I passed lots of people too. I got chatting to a few people mon the climb as well. Myles flew past me as I was chatting to a girl on her 3rd Dyfi Enduro and headed off into the distance. There was a band playing on the switchback and cheerleaders at the top of the climb, by which time I was nicely warmed up and the field was nicely thinned out into little groups of similarly paced people.
I overtook a few people on the first descent and then headed off towards the open field. I was caught back up by the girl I’d been chatting to on the climb. She had come off on the descent but was OK. I then saw her and several other people at various stages all day so we seemed to be circulating at a similar pace.
I quite like the climb up over the field and overtook a few people here and then it was onto the first proper descent of the day. The first section (where James came off last week) was all about avoiding fallen riders as there must have been at least 10 people off their bikes and in various stages of recovery on this little section alone. I weaved through them and then got stuck behind someone on the faster singletrack bit beyond, but got past them once the trail widened a little, with lots of shouts of ‘Coming through on your right!’. The final bit of descent down to Baileys Bridge again involved weaving through some fallen riders but everyone had big grins on their faces.
The climb back up to the top was fine and once again I saw Faye and Dawn supporting from the side of the road at the top. Faye asked how far behind Shem was, but obviously I didn’t know – at least that meant he was behind me and not in front of me though!
The next nice descent was a bit of a procession but I felt good on the climb to the feed station and heard some shout of ‘go Ystwyth’ towards the top. At the feed station I stopped for a flapjack and a drink, saw Mike Christie and then headed off. I probably should have stopped for a little longer and ate a bit more.
I caught Mike up a gain a little further on, had a little chat and then headed off, but then hit a bit of a bad patch as my energy levels dropped. Mike overtook me at this stage and carried on his merry way. Jon Baker caught me up, had a little chat for a while and then headed off too. In hindsight I should have stopped and eaten something at this stage. It was now close to 3pm, I’d had some porridge 8 hours before at 7am and a single flapjack at the feed station, but other than that just water all day which simply wasn’t enough.
We then had a horrible, very muddy, very slippery descent that I didn’t enjoy much, before starting the climb back to the top. When I got to the stage where Dave was marshalling, he delighted in telling me that I was in the top 200 so had to do the punishment loop. At that stage I didn’t really want to do more but was also pleased that I was in the top 200. Jon stopped to chat to Dave, I didn’t as I didn’t think I’d be able to get going again if I did, and Jon soon overtook me again on the punishment climb.
The girl I’d been chatting to earlier in the day caught me at the bottom of the final climb too, but I had a 2nd wind towards the top (far too late in the day) so overtook her again over the top, then it was just another cheer from Faye at the top of the final descent before heading downhill all the when to the end – Phew!
We then had a 6 mile ride back to Machynlleth, but after an energy bar at the forest finish I soon felt OK and quite enjoyed the easy ride back. Back at the event HQ I got my mug and a spot prize (Continental Speed King Tyre) and stood around watching people come across the finish line. When Martyn came in I heard that Shem had experienced a mechanical issue near the end and had to pull out but until then had been riding around at a similar pace to Martyn all day. Bernd had mechanical issues too so came in quite late as a result. Sylvia;s carrot cake and Joan’s chocolate cake kept us going while we waited though. Jimmy and Simon did really well finishing in the 20’s and Myles was quite a way up too. I also saw a few other locals who I hadn’t realised were doing the event, including Chris and Billy.
All in all it was a great day, well organised, a good challenge and good fun. Thanks to all the hard work done by the organisers, sponsors, marshalls and other volunteers who helped make it so. Everyone I cam across on the trail were good too. Most people had a chat if possible, others moved out of the way if they could to let me pass and I of course did likewise, and no one seemed to intimidate or mind if people held them up at times. Everyone was sensible and courteous which made the day all the better.
Personally I was pleased with my time and pleased to be in the top 200. I should have eaten more which may have made the last 8 miles or so a little easier and maybe faster, but I did the best I could and was pleased with my performance.
Roll on Dyfi Enduro 2010!
My GPS showed that the course (excluding the ride back) was 33.4 miles with a total climb of 6187 feet. My unofficial time was 4:13 and my average heart rate was 155 bpm with a max of 174… Not a bad workout.