Last weekend saw the launch of the inaugural Ritchey Trail Masters; a condensed replacement to the former Trans Wales, spread over 3 days and boasting an exciting new race format. The event centred on Llanwrtyd Wells in the Cambrian Mountains; an area with an exceptional network of natural trails.
Over the 3 days, riders completed 4 separate routes made up of non competitive ‘linking stages’ and 6 ‘special stages’, where riders were up against the clock and racing for the titles within their respective categories (solo, pairs and teams of 3). These stages were designed to take in the best sections of trail on the ride and to be ridden as fast as possible. This meant that, although the routes were normal marathon distances, it was only relatively short sections that counted toward the race. These sections demanded a combination of good fitness and technical skills which provided a true test of who was the ‘Trail Master’. Elite level fitness, or technical skills alone, wouldn’t win you the race! The real beauty of this format was that it allowed you to relax, take in the scenery and enjoy riding with friends on the linking stages, which gave the event a friendly atmosphere, before allowing the red mist to descend as you rode the special stages as fast as possible.
The event experienced some very changeable ‘British Summer’ weather conditions which saw the organisers working tirelessly to re-jig sections of the course. This ensured that we all got the best out of the riding and that the event was enjoyable for all. After some torrential downpours on the first day, the Exposure Lights night stage was moved to the Saturday where the forcast was promising and combined with Sundays slightly shorter stage. A whole new route was then designed for the Sunday as the conditions prevented the use of the epic stage that had been planned. Many of the linking stages took in some of the great riding on offer in the area with plenty of variety in the terrain, stunning views and plenty of reward when the trails pointed downhill.
Having come fresh off of the Mega Avalanche and a local Gravity Enduro, I came to the event having practiced these short, hard efforts on technical terrain in the weeks leading up to the event, which stood me in good stead. Each of the special stages offered plenty of challenges, both up and down, and suited my riding style, as well as being lots of fun! Over the 3 days, I took the win in all but one of the 6 special stages (where I got held up in some traffic after missing a course marker on the way to the stage!) in the solo category, which secured me the overall victory. A great event and definitely one to watch out for next year.
Thanks to Roy Bevis for the photographs.
Once again a huge thank you to all of our sponsors this year
www.whytebikes.com – Frames
www.shimano.com – Drivetrain & Brakes
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets
www.ritcheylogic.com – Handlebars, Stems, Saddles, Seatposts & Grips
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.lezyne.com – Pumps, Tools and Bottle Cages
www.champ-sys.com – Performance Cycle Clothing
www.srsuntour-cycling.com – SR Suntour Suspension Forks
www.exposurelights.com – Advanced Lighting
www.juicelubes.co.uk – Lubrication
www.lakecycling.com – Shoes
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.crankbrothers.com – Pedals
www.cleecycles.com – KCNC Skewers & Bottom Brackets
www.sapim.be – Spokes
www.stradawheels.co.uk – Wheel Builder
www.joolzedymond.com – Photography
www.cycleops.com – Power Measurement and Turbo Training
www.notubes.com – Tyre Sealant, Rims & Hubs
www.dare2be.com – Casual Clothing
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