A rider’s-eye view of the 2011 Brecon Beast Credit: YouTube user Zaskerle
After a night of almost monsoon conditions we arrived at the Brecon Athletic Pavilion to sign on for the 100km marathon. After being told that our course had been shortened to 89km I wasn’t all that disappointed given the somewhat ‘Welsh’ weather conditions.
With the errors from the last race firmly lodged in the front of my mind I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. I hadn’t worked the day before, I was ready in good time and found myself waiting at the front of the start line directly behind the lead-out van. I felt good!
Off we go. Nice and slow to start, legs are warming up lovely and I’m still with the front group. Then we start to go up the first incline of the day and all I can see is the guys who I was planning on competing against sail up the hill without me. My heart rate has sky rocketed, I’m trying my best to keep up but they just pull further and further away.
After trying to chase the lead group for a little longer than I should have, I settle in and keep to a pace that I know I can maintain. The stunning surroundings of the Brecon Beacons made for a very tough course and the conditions made it even tougher! With many more ups than downs it was a test to say the least.
I found myself referring back the first incline all day. How can those guys pull away from me, so effortlessly, so early on in the day? I was holding myself at the higher end of my limit as I wanted to see just to see how far off these guys mark I actually am.
With only one minor technical and one superman slide across some concrete (which by the time these incidents happened I bet the lead group were home and dry), there’s not a lot I can point the finger at except myself.
I came in at 4 hours 55 minutes; with the lead rider coming in at 3 hours 52 minutes it’s safe to say I was a little bit behind.
Now I know that it’s not technical issues or where I start in the pack holding me back from hanging with the top guys, it’s just good old fashioned training (or lack of).
With the mountain bike season drawing to a close and a big season planned next year, it looks like I’ve got lots to do this winter!