Dyfi MTB Enduro 4/5/2014 – Charlie, Sally, Alan, and err Baz

A plan of devilish audacity, and cunning - a veritable schlieffen movement in its simplicity.

Saturday 0720 hrs Saturday hostilities commence. Red corps ('err indoors) drops Private Mort (Mischa) at Riverhead roundabout to be picked up for pre-emptive strike on Southampton (athletics match); and cadet Mort (Xinny) in Weald for training manoeuvres (cub camp)

Blue corps (motorbike mate Brigadier Baz, Capt Mort, big Lieutenant Lewis) load truck (Mortle bus) with panzers (29 ers) and light battle tanks (26 ers), gear, provisions (beer), and Sally's enormous bag of make-up ready for departure approx 0830 hrs. Bikes have to go on roof as some woman tailgated sally and kyboshed the tow hitch, so no rear bike rack.

Plans going well except no sign of Lieutenant Lewis, suspect MIA. MIA (Missing in Alchohol) confirmed when he arrives at about 845, having fallen for Pete Williams diversionary tactics the night before (Otford real ale festival).

Arrive Nant y Arian trail centre and heading off on quick training manoeuvres. 15 minutes later find ourselves back in the car park. We can now add getting-lost-in-a-waymarked-trail-centre to ending-up-on-a-motorway-in-a-time-trial in our list of navigational nasties (although not Sally’s fault this time). A check of the map revealed we had managed to complete the bottom half of a figure of eight circuit, and off we trotted a gain for a very enjoyable 15 miles or so.

Loaded car off and headed for Maccy-wotsit for the pre event camping and festivities.

“Houston – we have a problem – I’m trying to load Maccy-wotsit in the prat-nav but can’t work out how to spell it……”

Eventually arrive at the campsite full of hundreds of mountain bikers, in a nice field with surrounding hills, one with a Hollywood spoof “Macllyneth” (I googled it) sign on it. Set up tents and down to the event marquee for a couple of beers. “Can we sign on now?”. “Sure – see the DJ, he’s doing it……”

Off for a pre-match curry (it’s a tradition amongst us finely tuned athletes – although Sally did moan a bit, as did Alan, but that was his own fault so doesn’t count). We peered through the gloom – middle-aged fashion – at the black on red menu.

“Are you ready to order sir?”.

“Yes – 6 popadums, 4 pints of Cobra, and a pair of reading glasses please” (much to the amusement of fellow diners). Spec’s duly acquired, we proceeded to order what we always do……

Few more beers and a band in the marquee and zeberdee time.

Woke not so bright and not so early, and peered into the hills, and began to wonder what they had put in the beer.

“’Ere Baz, didn’t that sign say Maccy-wotsit last night?”


“So why does it say “Hellcat Hymn” now?”

(There was also a comedy festival over the week-end; looks like some of the punters had got a bit over-enthusiastic).

Down to the start pen around 1030 for the ever so civilized 1100 am start, and a quick briefing – “if it says slow down, there’s a reason”; and a warning that many who had entered the 65km route may well opt for the 55km option at the bottom of “Dico’s descent” – ominous that. Last reminder to Sally that “it’s not a race”, and we were off – all 900 of us – for a motorbike escorted lead out through the town, which had come out en masse to cheer us off.

A minute gap appeared in the throng and Sally was through it. “Of gawd here we go” …….. I worked my way through to her, but in 15 seconds we had already lost Alan and Baz. Up the first big climb “easy – there’s loads of this” to be met by the comedy show at the top, then a tricky, slippy, shaley descent, before climbing again on fireroad.

Repeat ad infinitum, the “World Cup” descent providing particular scope for over-handlebar-experiences.

Briefly met Alan and Baz at the feed station, but by now Sally had heard a rumour she was in the top 5 or so women, so her and her ever-faithful were off again. Lots of people were flagging by this stage, and we were gaining a lot of places on the climbs (moi? Climbing?) before the slotted twisting Dico’s descent.

It became clear why they thought many may opt for the shorter route at this point:

  • It was a helluva a long way up again
  • There was a disco / band
  • There was free beer

We had the beer (Sally getting the hang of things) and unfortunately also opted for the climb for the longer 65 km route, the extra 10 km seemingly including about 20 km climbing……………

Results – 480 ish finished. How someone got round in 2:35 defies belief………….