The Red kite Little Devil is an MTB Enduro covering 60km of Cambrian Mountains.
7am pickups are never welcome, especially in the rain! but this one felt particularly bad as the previous evenings clock changing malarkey robbed us of an extra hour. The journey down to Nant Yr Arian (NYA) gave us an indication of what was to come with constant rain and lots of standing water with added mist over the tops.
Registration went smoothly and we were pleased to learn that chip timing meant we could start as soon as we were ready Chris did his final checks on his MTB, (both wheels fitted and rotating!) whilst I decided what clothing best suited the mild but wet conditions, knee warmers and waterproof shorts seemed a good combination however digging through my kitbag revealed that these would be worn over boxers as I’d forgotten my bibs…..nice!
We started the climb towards the first checkpoint and scanned our chips. Chris was delayed so I pulled over and waited whilst he seemed to be faffing about, after a couple of minutes I realised he’d disappeared so assuming he’d passed me with a small bunch of riders I set off in pursuit.
The trails were the wettest I’ve ever seen, trails were streams, streams were like rivers and the old drover roads held puddles that were knee deep, the wind was incredible! Line choice was dictated by gusts, several times literally blowing me off the trails!
We also had to negotiate half a dozen river crossings, the deepest being up to my thighs! before arriving at the feed station, this was really well stocked with a range of sweet and savoury items to replenish the calories…sheltering behind a van to fill up I soon got cold and set off on the second half of the event with chattering teeth, relishing the first climb as it gave me a chance to warm up!
The route began to change from the old school cross country wild stuff I love about NYA back into the more typical trail centre trails, with some fantastic descents and leg breaking climbs, cramming more climbing into just over 50K than the Cheshire Kitten!
A brief couple of showers were followed by a gradual brightening up as the the finish line drew nearer, the event ending with a superb descent back to the visitor centre.
Overall Chris and I both enjoyed a tough event in pretty extreme conditions, generally very well organised apart from a couple of stolen/blown away route marking arrows towards the end.
Pictures from the Little Devil give a fair indication of how grim it was. Obviously Chris and I were going to quickly to be caught on film. It is a price we pay.
Check out the Red Kite Events website as they organise a number of sportive alongside the muddy stuff!