Back from Merida mountain marathon at Rhayader and still suffering.
I went there knowing I was not terribly fit. I also knew there had been a week of rain prior to the event. I raced the Rhayader event 2 years ago when it was wet, and figured I would cope. Additionally, I was hoping to find I had more form than anticipated.
3 out of 4 correct.
The course ended up being pretty brutal. Really energy sapping sticky thick mud. The trails there are not used/built to withstand that amount of weather and number of riders and still offer a pain free ride. Nevertheless, pain free rides are not always what we are after.
Overall, I went pretty badly. From the first road climb in I had a stitch and no zip in the legs. From there I descended to purgatory. After a while, I was wondering whether to quit. I even had a snooze at one point which would have become a full blown sleep if people hadn't kept riding past asking whether I was ok or not (oddly, I actually felt this was a 'good thing' in terms of ethical behavior).
Mostly due to my chagrin at not finishing an Enduro 6 a few years ago, I kept going. Just. Finishing an hour slower than last year was somewhat tempered by hearing shaggy had managed to pull out a deeply impressive time at around 5.20min. Having ridden (somehow) with him until 20km or so, notably with a horrible detour down a steep farm road, he continued to show the strength evident in his riding over the initial parts of the course. A sterling performance indeed.
For me, it is back to the drawing board. More food, more miles in the legs and less wine the night before seriously required. The thought of doing 101 miles with 5000+ m of climbing is deeply scaring me...