Britain's toughest mountain bike challenge – the Gore Bike Wear TransWales powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport – begins this weekend in Builth Wells.
The event combines seven daily non-competitive marathon rides through the wilds of Wales with five special stage time trials on some of the country's top purpose-built singletrack. Participants will cover a total of 303 miles (487km), including 48,540ft (14,795m) of climbing.
The format has been tweaked by organisers Mike Wilkens and John Lloyd since last year. There will now be specific hill climb, downhill and general trail riding special stages, at Cwmrhaedr, the Cli-Machx trail near Machynlleth, and Nant y Arian.
Another change for 2010 is the addition of the Mini Gore Bike Wear Trans Wales powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport, with a choice of three- or four-day challenges for those who can't spare a whole week.
Riders will gather at Penmaenau Farm tomorrow in preparation for the big off early on Sunday. The first stage, to Knighton, is 58km long and includes 1,810m of climbing and descending. It also hosts the first special stage – a 0.7 mile (1.2km) climb with 344ft (105m) of vertical ascent.
Riders will be competing for the overall honours in mixed or same sex pairs, or as soloists, in their respective categories. For more details, visit www.mtbtransuk.co.uk.
- Day 1: Builth Wells – Knighton, 58km (ascent: 1,810m, descent: 1,780m), includes Special Stage 1 (1.2km climb with 105m of vertical ascent)
- Day 2: Knighton – Llanidloes, 68km (ascent: 2,140m, descent: 2,150m)
- Day 3: Llanidloes – Machynlleth, 82km (ascent: 2,430m, descent: 2,590m), includes Special Stage 2 (7km descent with 405m of vertical descent)
- Day 4: Machynlleth – Cwymystwyth, 71km (ascent: 2,495m, descent: 2,215m), includes Special Stage 3 (8.5km loop with 425m of climbing and descending)
- Day 5: Cwymystwyth – Cilycwm, 73km (ascent: 2,210m, descent: 2,310m), includes Special Stage 4 (6km night-time loop with 205m of climbing and descending)
- Day 6: Cilycwm – Brecon, 75km (ascent: 2,040m, descent: 2,050m)
- Day 7: Brecon – Builth Wells, 52km (ascent: 1,380m, descent: 1,410m), includes Special Stage 5 (2km loop with 85m of climbing and descending).