Last weekend was my first major event of the season at Battle on the Beach in Pembrey, South Wales.  The event was a totally new format in British bike racing.  It was open to all types of bike and the course included Singletrack, fire track and 3 miles straight down a massive wide beach into a headwind.  It was also playing host to the inaugural British fat bike champs so with the Beargrease looking tricked out with some new blue anodised bits I headed down aiming to take the trophy - which was pretty cool as it was made from an old WW1 artillery shell (Pembrey used to be a munitions factory).

 

On the way over on the Saturday I stopped and rode the new trails at Afan on my Spearfish.  What a difference compared to the last time I was there when the trails were a real rocky mess!  It's now so much more flowing and lots less like someone has just emptied a dumper truck full of large rocks in a line.  Really fun.

The race itself was an absolute hoot. I started quickly and as soon as we hit the beach I attacked and dropped everyone else (see pic attached).  I think this may have left the Belgian and Dutch beach racers on their dedicated monstercross bikes wondering what on earth this nutter on a fat bike was up to - I lasted a mile or so on my own and then the group caught me.  I got a good position in the pack as we left the beach up a short run up the dunes and then just gunned it as much as I could to get a gap to 2nd.  The fat bike needs a fair bit more effort to snap accelerate out of corners than my usual Ala Carte ti race bike but eventually the elastic to Dan Treby in 2nd snapped.  I ended up in a group with a Belgian guy and Mark (Mel Alexander's better half) and just kept on pushing.  We shared the work nicely across the beach and I managed to drop them in the Singletrack at the end to finish after 1hr 37mins; 5th in the open class (3mins behind the winner), 6th overall and 1st fat bike - eventually ending up 7mins ahead.

I'll definitely be back in 2015, probably on my Warbird trying to win the overall title.  Fantastic event, great atmosphere, I got on Welsh TV and even brilliant prizes courtesy of Ison - thanks guys!

 

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  • March 25, 2014
  • Matt Willis
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