Welsh Mountain Bike XC Round 1, Afan Argoed
The race started at a high pace on a fire road climb which leads into a forestry section taking us onto the 4X track where line choice was vital. The course then took us onto another section of fire road climb where riders could race for position.
The Welsh MTB XC series kicked off at Bryn Bettws, Afan Argoed, Wales. The British Cycling XC format involved riders completing set numbers of 7km laps depending on their category. Because I am in the “Sport Women” category I had 3 laps to complete, while elite women had 4 laps to complete, in as fast a time as possible.
The race started at a high pace on a fire road climb which leads into a forestry section taking us onto the 4X track where line choice was vital.
The course then took us onto another section of fire road climb where riders could race for position before entering a very muddy and boggy steep climb. Gaining traction was difficult and there wasn’t anything that could be done to stop the rear wheel from spinning out in those conditions, especially on a 10% gradient!
Once the climbing was out of the way, the focus was staying on the bike and descending the trails “373” and “Grave Yard” as quickly as possible.
Afan is my local MTB centre so I was lucky enough to have plenty of practice on these trails so I knew what to expect. This gave me an advantage over some of the other women who hadn’t ridden the trails prior to the race. Once we finished “Grave Yard” there was a short climb back to the start/finish; then we’d start all over again!
The race was really good fun and well organised with a great atmosphere. The next XC race on the calendar is the British XC series Round 1 on the 1st/2nd April at Pembrey Country Park.