MTB Marathon Round 3

Last weekend hosted round 3 of the MTB Marathon series down in Minehead. Set on the stunning coast of Exmoor National Park, riders had the chance to tackle some trails with panoramic views over the Bristol Channel.

This round included a challenging 65 km route that included a gruelling climb up one of Britains steepest roads. A tough ascent, but a small price to pay for some epic downhill sections that put even the best of riders through their paces.

Lucky enough for some (including myself), if you weren’t feeling up to the demands of a full 65 km of steep climbs and technical descents, there were other great options at hand: an intermediate level 50 km and a family friendly mini-marathon of 25 km.

Thankfully, the sun was shining all weekend (despite a little cloud) and we managed to sneak away from the Alpkit gazebo with enough time to make the most of the 25 km circuit.

Event man Talyn getting the Alpkit gazebo ready for the morning riders

The sun was shining as riders began to congregate

Customer Service Hero Jamie manning the gazebo

We caught up with Sam Pantling, a lover of all things bike and long-time friend of Alpkit. Sam is a man who likes a challenge and, having won the pairs single-speed competition at Mountain Mayhem in June, decided to take the same single-speed Sonder Broken Road along the 65 km marathon. He is also planning to use a Sonder Camino Ti (singlespeed) for the 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross in the Yorkshire Dales in September, which includes 5,000ft of climbing across 38 miles. We think he's a little crazy, but that's what we love about him!

Sam Pantling showing off his custom spec Sonder Broken Road

Jamie marvelling at the bike

Riders eagerly waiting on the starting line

Once the marathon was underway and the riders began to disperse, we thought it was the ideal time to take our own bikes out for a spin and see what the mini-marathon had in store for us. All the routes began by following Minehead's picturesque coastal road before veering off into the woods for the first climb.

A perfect place for a refreshment after the first ascent

The bright trail markers stood out and were easy to follow

The first descent... It was steeper than it looks!

Goose Neck Descent - the final test of the marathon

Back at base, the first of the riders began arriving, with the fastest making it over the finish line with a time of just 2:59:47.

The first few riders catching their breath

Music and laughs were provided throughout by the entire mtb marathon team

If you didn't make it to round 3 then don't worry, round 4 of the mtb marathon series begins on Saturday 2nd September on Alpkit home turf, the Peak District. Hope Valley is a home-from-home to us, and with our new store just around the corner in Hathersage, we can't wait to welcome riders from all over the country and see the trails get put to good use!

By Talyn Williams