31-May 2004 Merida 100Km event 1 Rhayader:- from Garry Hill of CATS MBC

Pete (my TransAlp partner) and I were at the Merida 100 this weekend in Rhayader.
The idea was that it was a good simulation of one of the 8 TransAlp days (hopefully one of the harder ones).

This was our first Enduro event and we were impressed. The event was really well organised.
Free camping for the bank holiday weekend, limited shower and toilet facilities, free pasta meal Saturday night, free energy drink, bars and bananas out on the route, lots of offers (free Mountain bike magazine, back light, tubes, stickers etc.). All for £25! Very friendly atmosphere. I would recommend it to anyone.
Oh, and a free finishers T-shirt! Anyone up for the Builth Wells one on 3rd/4th July?

Apparently there were 1000 riders that set off from the rugby ground behind a Police and pace car. The streets of Rhayader were lined with people watching what must have been a pretty impressive sight.
After the 7km neutral section the pace vehicles disappeared - not that we could keep up with them! Pete and I planned to ride together for the whole event, as we will do in the TransAlp.
Not having done one of these events before, we aimed to pace ourselves at a set maximum heart rate, which worked ok-ish (apart from the start and up the hills!). I had raced on Friday night (came 6th) and Pete had ridden to work and back (about 6 hours riding I think!) so we weren't as fresh as we could have been.
At about 15km Pete had his front tyre roll off on a corner such that his inner tube exploded out of the side (we lost about 5 minutes sorting this out) it could have been a lot worse.
Then at about 20km, we took the team work a bit too far, when out on a rutted track with no-one else around, we managed to collide with each other! Both bruised and grazed, the main problem was my out-of-shape front wheel.

We tried to get assistance from John Lloyd (the organizer who was parked at the bottom of the track), but he didn't have a spoke key and the one I had was useless (good lesson). So we headed off in search of the Merida support mechanic at the next food stop.
After 15 minutes of tweaking the wheel was a little better, but still buckled, so we headed off again. While we were waiting for my wheel repair a chap came up with a split tyre and asked if he could buy a tyre and the Merida chap just gave him a new tyre and tube.
The mechanic also mentioned that an early rider had turned up with a destroyed bike so he lent him a brand new bike! Great service - although I didn't get a free wheel!

In all we spent about 5:45 riding and came in at around 6:05 (95km and 3000m of ascent) loads of excellent single track and forest road. We were quite happy with this and felt ok-ish.

Just need to face another 7 of these to equate to the TransAlp. It was good experience and our limited tactics seemed to work: Limit ourselves to a maximum heart rate (this was only a problem at the start and up the hills) Drink 1 bottle of fluid every hour Eat something at least every hour. Try to eat and drink as much as possible riding along and minimize time spent at refreshment stops.
Try not to crash into each other - didn't work!
Must remember to buy a decent spoke key. Gary Hill
The Merida event 1 results are up on the Mountain marathon site, just for plumz viewers here are the 90Km finishers sorted for time ( don't forget it's not a race folks, Oh no).  Top ride from Adi in some muddy conditions. Ed, Nige, Matt and brother Yarno are in there with fine finishes somewhere too. Jack
click here.Sorted results