My second Mountain Bike Orienteering event, after the Govilon event last month and with some hope of doing a bit better in terms of judging time and getting some more points.
I decided to cycle the couple of km’s down to the start at the Outdoor Centre at Talybont with the knowledge I’d have to cycle back up the hill after it had finished. The map area was a lot smaller than the previous Govilon event, but there were a lot more hills, taking in the flanks of the Brecon Beacons, the hills around Talybont Reservoir, Tor y Foel, Trefil Quarries and Cwm Crawnon. Waited 15 minutes after the start time before I picked up the map (and started the clock running) getting all my kit and my head in order. Remembered to start the clock running this time as I picked it up.
. License number 100033596
Spent a couple of minutes looking at the map and decided on a counter-clockwise route, starting with the canal and then up to Talybont Forest before heading down to Aber and the Talybont Reservoir dam. As before I’d make my mind up then and see how I was getting on. Living nearby I knew where the uphill bits were going to be and had a vision of getting round to the Trefil checkpoints and down Cwm Pyrgad and through Cwm Crawnon. Depending on time I could go back via the canal or via Bwlch. A lot of ascent and I’d not been running or cycling all week having picked up a cold.
With a bit more purpse I set off, though I’d left my elastic bands for the CP sheet at home. My home made map holder (WH Smiths £2.99 clipboard conversion) seemed okay though rattling a bit.
First check point on the canal, nice and easy but the pull up into Talybont Forest wasn’t and needed some pushing. Second check point was on the forestry track and the run down to the third was excellent with a sharp descent down a track to reach it. I’d worked out the reading the description for the check point location as the previous checkpoint meant you could keep an eye out for it. The run round for check point 4 was also good, with some pushing up a grassy bridleway. Then down to the road coming out at Aber when prior to going back up into the woods on the LH side or the reservior, I headed across the dam to pick up a 30 point marker and then come back, well worth the 10 minutes needed. Up away from the road and a long slog to the next 25 point checkpoint, again of forestry tracks. Still no rain but looking a bit ominous. Right on the edge of the map and knew that I’d need to turn off the forestry track down to the road and the next CP, but missed the turn. Spent 3-4 minutes looking for it, and was obscured in the trees (plenty of others had fun trying to find it as I found out later) but track down was excellent single track, with nettles. Across the bridge above the reservoir and up a track that I’d only descended before, and ended up with some pushing to CP19 and then plenty more pushing up to CP04. This is where I’m losing lots of time, simple up hill fitness.
With over 2 hours gone, bit of a call to make on whether I’d get round to Trefil, but concious of the time I had left last time I went for it. Instead of going up on the Dolygaer track I went round the Brinore Tramroad, which was a mistake as it’s rough going even up when flat. I’d walked it in May so should have known, but will took me 35 minutes to get to the control point at Trefil. The bash down Cwm Pyrgad was excellent,but with only 45 minutes left, it was going to be tight back to Talybont. I’d already checked the CP locations and knew where they were. After picking up the 30 points in Cwm Crawnon, I went for the flat option towards Llangyndir and missed the 10 point CP, before picking up 15 and 10 points by the canal on the run back.
Only 3 minutes over which was excellent given my position at Trefil, so very happy with the run back. Just shows what downhill tarmac does for your time. Came 16th overall with a final score of 297, which though not the 300 target was happy about given the score and terrain. No problems with the bike, but tested it a bit on some of the downhills and it needs a service badly, especially the bottom bracket. Didn’t have time for photos today but a couple of good videos posted by other riders (bit quicker than me)
Good fun again and will look at future dates to see what events I can make. For some reason I didn’t show up on the Strava Flyby for the event (unlike last time) though my own route was pretty similar to the others.