After 5 rounds (that seem to have flown by), the weekend of the 13th-14th of September provided the last round of the TORQ-Fuelled Scott Marathon Series. With the Marathon on the Sunday and added attraction of Saturday’s Exposure Big Night Out, the series was certainly going to finish on a high.
The team were represented by Joanna Clay, Alex Welburn and Carla Haines. TORQ’s own Ben Price and Matt Hart also taking to the line. With near on perfect conditions and a tough course in place, everything was set for a good weekend in the saddle! Both Ben Price and Haines opted for the double – the full 40km Exposure Big Night Out, with the slightly shorter 50km on the Sunday, where they were joined by Matt Hart and Joanne Clay. Alex Welburn opted for the full 75km marathon. Here’s the riders individual view of the event from their own perspectives.
Joanne Clay was the first female rider back on the 50km route, rolling back in with TORQ Director Matt Hart, who had dropped back with a puncture. Here’s what Joanne had to say.
“With the racing season reaching a close, I was really looking forward to this event, as I could just relax and enjoy it! My Whyte 29C was sparkling clean and ready to see some dirt! I’d heard the trails were dusty, as we hadn’t had much rain, so smiles all round. The atmosphere in Ruthin was relaxed and everyone seemed to be in a really great mood. After the previous round that I had attended in Church Stretton, I thought it couldn’t get much harder, but yet again I was proved wrong – the Ruthin course was tough! I couldn’t believe how many tough climbs there were in the loop. It was mountain biking at its best! What a fantastic end to what has been an incredibly busy season – of all sorts of racing and challenges.”
Alex Welburn rode the full 75km loop on the Sunday and was the first riders back along with fellow TORQ Fuelled Scott UK rider Nick Craig.
“For me, this was my first Scott Marathon of the year, so I was a little bit apprehensive as I don’t normally race this distance at all. Once we started, I kept near the front, but I didn’t want to press on too hard for fear of dropping back later on. By the top of the first climb, a group of around 6-7 of us were away, from then on we keep a decent pace. Knowing how important fuelling is in these longer events, I kept on top of my intake and made sure I was doing 2-3 Torq units an hour. The trails were great, some nice technical sections and some super flowing ones too. In the end, Nick Craig and I crossed the finish line together covering the 80km in a fantastic 3hrs 48minutes!
As well as driving up from Plymouth, Carla Haines opted to ride the Big Night out and the 50km Marathon the following day!
“This was my first night ride in the series, but I was really looking forward to it. The night ride was great fun and I had a really good time out there! Sunday morning saw an early start, ready for the 50km. After the night ride, I ensured I had had plenty of my TORQ Recovery and headed to bed as early as I could, to rest up as much as possible. On the Sunday it took a while for my legs to warm up; especially going up the long climb at the start, but after that I got into a rhythm and started to really enjoy it. There was some lovely riding out there and beautiful scenery to go with it. The last 10km were hard, but I knew I was nearly at the finish.
Ben Price –
“After riding this event a couple of years ago (where I was the first rider home on the night ride, but didn’t make it back for the Marathon, after a poor night’s sleep from too many caffeinated gels), I was keen to come and have a go at competing the full weekend. I always enjoy night riding, but really only ever do it in the Winter where it is often unpleasant. Things were going great on the night ride, as I got myself into the front group. Around half distance, I made a move on a descent which put me into the lead, but in doing so, I caught a rock and my rear tyre started to deflate. The next 10 minutes saw me loose many places, so once I was back on the bike, I caught back up with a few friends and rode the remainder of the route with them. After limited recovery, Sunday was tough, but a great loop none the less!”
Thanks to all of the team behind the Scott Marathon Series for organising another great year of events. We now look forward to next year’s series! Thank you also to Rob Barker of www.robbarkerimages.co.uk for the excellent photography in this report.