The TrailMasters will take place over a long weekend in May (24-26th) and will be based in Builth Wells (Central Wales) – the birth place of the MTB-Marathon Series.
For 2013 we are going to the birth place of the UK MTB-Marathon ‘movement’ – Builth Wells. Situated in the beautiful unspoiled countryside of Mid-Wales, Builth Wells is an ideal base for our epic riding weekend. Besides that it is the home of event Co-organiser and course supremo John Lloyd – so if anybody knows the trails and tracks around here it is John. And with more than a decade of course finding experience in this area John will create once again some amazing courses throughout the weekend. The event will be based at the Royal Wales Showground which has great camping facilities, more hard standing and weather proof ground than we will ever need and enough scope to run the night stage on and around the actual showground – so start and finish will be just around from the event village/camping.
The man behind the course:
Co-organiser and course designer John Lloyd was first introduced to mountain bikes almost twenty years ago when he was asked to do some marshalling at the Man vs. Horse (which included mountain bikes at the time) near Llanwrtyd Wells. Those funny dressed people on their funny looking bikes caught his eye and only weeks later he gave this mountain biking a go. John was instantly hooked and eventually sold his sheep farm to open a bike shop and guiding business in Builth Wells. Over the years John has grown more and more into the sport and has turned his passion towards organising some of the best UK mountain bike events (MTB Marathon Series, NPS events, TransWales and the Ritchey TrailMasters). His achievements and efforts have been recognised by a cheer endless group of event regulars but also (by no other) than the Queen, which awarded him with an MBE for his contribution to Mountain Biking.
What is going to happen – on the bike?
Riders will start the day with breakfast followed by the rider briefing before heading out onto the trail in the marathon typical mass start. Each day will have one extended loop (between 50-85km long) to complete in which the riders will come across two special stages which also have to be completed. Once riders come over the finish line at the event village the rest of the day is then there for chilling out, testing the latest equipment, enjoying some live music or simply hanging out with all the other riders.
We call the long distance rides which will fill the majority of your riding time – linking stages. These linking stages are not competitive but we will give you a time frame (most of the time based on 12km/h) in which we expect you to complete them. This will give you the chance to ride as fast or as slow as you like so that you can enjoy the company of your fellow riders, stop and take a picture or event sit in the grass for a few minutes and enjoy the view. If you come over the finish line before the allocated riding time you will not gain any time advantage on your over all time but if you come over the line too late you will be penalised according to how late you are.
Here is where it counts and where the clock is ticking. The special stages are held within the linking stages (except the night stage) and are clearly marked as such. Riders will ride up to the start of the special stages and will get going when they are ready/instructed to do so. The specials stages are on some of the best bits of the days ride and can be a climb, a single track descent or even a trail centre type loop – expect the unexpected. On these sections concentration and speed will be the order of the day. Riders compete against each other but as it’s a time trial, they go off at set intervals and are timed on their efforts. We’ll see riders battle it out for split seconds and the stages will be packed full of drama. And to top it all of we will also have a nice special stage on the Friday night of the event weekend! Here riders will start in a pre-set order. Fastest riders go first.
The TrailMasters can be done in pairs or solo. We will have an open category which is 18-39years old and a Vets category which is 40+. Average age of the riders will count for the teams. If you are riding as pairs than the average time of the two pairs riders will be used. If we have less than 5 teams per category then the category will be integrated into the most suitable alternative.
We will have a substantial prize fund on the TrailMasters. The £10,000 product fund will be spread over the first three positions in each category for each of the 6 special stages. The overall winner of the various categories will receive trophies as well as money prizes.
What is going to happen – off the bike?
The event village in Builth Wells (based at the Royal Wales Showground) will be open throughout the day and will have an extended programme of fun rides, test courses, fun runs, kids activity, films etc to entertain the support crews and the families who have come along to enjoy the weekend. All these activities are free of charge – so make sure you bring your family along! And once the riders have returned we will have an extended evening programme with live music, on site bar, film and photo shows, technical seminars and maybe even a pub quiz! Again all these activities are part of the entry fee.
The TrailMasters are not just about riding your bike fast and long. It is also about making new friends whilst discussing the day’s events over dinner, riding through amazing countryside in one of the most picturesque places in Central Wales, pushing your own limits, following an active and healthy lifestyle and simply about being part of something special. If you have had the chance to be part of the TransWales in the past or last year’s Ritchey TrailMasters then you will know what we are talking about and if not, come along to the TrailMasters 2013 and find out for yourself.