Great start to the season for Mitas UK Team
April 13 2016.

The newly-formed Mitas UK Team enjoyed its inaugural outing in full team colours last weekend when it took part in the first round of the Scott MTB Marathon Series at the Royal Welsh Show Ground.

The morning started with thick frost and low temperatures but the Welsh sunshine soon broke through and the day looked set to be a dry but windy affair.

A quick coffee was the order of the day before the Mitas lads signed on in the main arena and prepared for the ride ahead. Matt Lane, Ben Roddick and Matt Morgan all opted for a short 25km ride to get their season underway, whilst Faisal Douzi and Andrew Evans aka Earnie, opted for the 45km half marathon. Team coordinator Chaz Lane meanwhile, took the madman’s approach with the full 65k marathon. In terms of tyre choice and taking the unpredictable weather condition into account, all team members opted for the popular Kratos tyre, with the exception of Faisal who went for the Hyperion tyre.

On inspection of the course map, it was clear that there was a fair bit of road riding before the off-road element started and so, with a couple of extra shots of air pushing the tyres to 35-40 psi they were ready for the off. The mass start of 800 riders heading to the mountains of Wales was a magnificent sight as the stream of riders snaked along the road like a huge conga.

Although designed primarily for muddy off-road riding, the Kratos tyre rolled well on the pure road surface and in many places the team found itself rolling past large groups. Here, Matt Morgan, Faisal and Earnie found some impetus and forged ahead to get to the front of the main group. Starting at the back of the mass, Matt Lane and Ben found it slightly harder to carve their way through, meanwhile Chaz decided to hang back and conserve energy for the ride ahead. Matt L and Ben took it in turns on the front, but with no idea how far ahead the other riders were, they were unsure how hard to go at the pack.

The tyres came into their own on the initial climb to just over 400 metres, gripping at every moment. On top of the Welsh mountains the wind was unforgiving and even with fast rolling tyres the ride was pretty brutal. Thankfully where there is an ascent, there is also a descent, which helped the rider’s legs. Matt L and Ben hit the last descent at the same time as they had been riding together most of the way but Ben’s downhill experience kicked in and he pulled a good lead. This lead was lengthened when Matt L was held up the next road section for passing cars. Already having completed the course, Ben was greeted by Morgan and shortly after, Matt L rolled home. Faisal was next back looking rather worried that Earnie had not finished and the lads waited patiently for the eventual return of a rather disgruntled Earnie. It transpired that he had been sent the wrong way on a split section of the course, which lost him a vital 24 minutes, and 1st place! Speculation was now on as to the whereabouts of Chaz. Riders from the full marathon started to return and counting them back seemed endless hoping Chaz would have gained a decent position. Eventually Chaz returned riding slightly strangely having suffered from cramp for nearly 50 per cent of the ride.

At the end of the event, all the Mitas UK Team finished safely and with some credible results. The tyres again impressed all riders and really suited the job in hand.

25km – 125 riders
1st - Matt Morgan
7th - Ben Roddick
8th – Matt Lane

45km – 268 riders

8th Faisal Douzi
13th – Andrew Evans

65km – 285 riders
156th – Chaz Lane (65km)

Next up for the Mitas UK Team; Bristol Bikefest 11th June 2016.