Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Brecon Beast 2012

Our busy few days of signing over 100km of route, establishing and supplying the two feed stations, marking out the camping and registration facilities and a host of other tasks were completed in glorious sunshine by last thing Saturday night. Access to the more remote sections by quad and trail bike required coordination of transport and drivers & some radical twilight riding to get everything done as the camping field steadily filled up with expectant entrants.
Dale arrived from Bristol & after joining in the pasta supper we checked over the bikes before trying to get an early night parked up in the compound.

Sunday dawned bright & sunny with the Beacons summits beckoning away to the the south & after a substantial porridge & nuts breakfast we joined the throng of over 700 riders in the starting lay by. A police escort saw us safely out of town at a steady warm up pace before 5 or 6 miles out the first off road section began. Locals out early seemed to enjoy this unusual sight as we began to thin out with last year's bottle neck largely ironed out & the rougher sections of Mynydd Llangorse persuading some riders to walk the dry but uneven track. I decided not to stop at the first drinks station near Bwlch & shot along the A40 to Talybont having already lost Dale who unfortunately had a frustrating problem with his gears slipping. 

A long climb alongside the reservoir provided great views and a fast descent before another tough ascent of a rocky track had many of us pushing again. The shorter route joined us again before we reached the second drinks station where I was grateful for an energy drink and a choccy bar before setting off apace on the loop round Pontsticill reservoir. For me knowing that the steady climb through the Beacons to the Gap was really the bulk of the effort done was a real boost and I dropped off towards Brecon at a fast pace - the 60psi tyre pressures avoided any punctures but made for a bone jarring descent passing a number of other more cautious riders.
The last off road section in to town included a race against Jason on the support quad before a final pull up to the leisure centre saw me home in just over 6 hours - I have no idea how the lead rider could complete in under 4 hours but was pleased with my ranking in the 40+ age group.

After a hot shower and hotter tea I felt surprisingly good and enjoyed watching a few more finishers with Dale who had managed to complete the shorter course despite the mechanical hindrances.

That evening and Monday saw us complete the dismantling before the weather changed with vehicles cleaned, signage stored away, hire equipment returned and everywhere tidied up.
Without wishing to embarass them I would like to thank Jason, Crad and Al for the huge amount of work they did (as usual) and the barrel load of laughs but also the dozens of other volunteers and marshals whose support and input have over the years created an event to be proud of. Three local charities benefit from the funds raised and full details of the results, some photos and feedback all appear on the  Beast website here 
I will report on the total funds and their destination raised through my sponsorship in a few weeks once I have collated everything - thank you to all those who chipped in. 
Completing the event almost 9 months to the day since my heart attack has given me the confidence to look forward to a return to near normality and start finalising my plans for winter sun - just a shame that it will be another year before I get another choccy bar.
No pics this time as I was too busy hanging on but the SPOT here will give you an idea of the route for a few more days

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