Bikes of Blaenau 600 2023

Bikes of Blaenau 600 2023

8 June, 2023

A mixed terrain adventure in the Welsh uplands along the land's finest off-road sewn together with characteristically hilly tarmac, including the Brecons, Berwyns, Black Mountains, Cambrians and Snowdonia.

You can follow along with the race commentary here

Jason Oliver

Name: Jason Oliver

Age: 49

Location: Hereford

Bike: Kinesis Tripster ATR Ti. GRX 810 mechanical. Mason x Hunt 650b alloy buttered up to Terravail Cannonball 650b x 47mm. Praxis carbon 1x crankset setup with 34t x 11-42. Hope carbon post and Richey wcs finishing kit.

Key items of kit: Sleep system is Rab neutrino 200, Exped Synmat, Nemo Dragonfly bikepacking tent.

Apidura expedition bags, with Topeka bar bag for ultimate snack carriage.

James Griffiths (Giff)

Name: James Griffiths (Giff)

Age: 50

Location: Stottesdon, South Shropshire

Bike: Custom Built TORUS Titanium CX/Gravel Frame designed by Andy Jones of Clee Cycles here in South Shropshire, with Columbus Carbon Forks. Custom built wheels with Hope Pro RS4 Hubs, Stans Grail Rims, Sapim CX Ray Aero Spokes and running tubeless 2.1inch Schwalbe Thunder Burt Tyres. Shimano GRX Rear Derailleur and Shifters, XT Cranks, 42-11 XT Cassette and a Single 36t AbsoluteBlack oval chainring. Exposure Toro and Joystick Lights.

Key items of kit: Alpkit Framebag combined with Topeak Front Loader and Rear Loader Bags. Camelback Chase bike vest for water and extra carrying space. Alpkit Hunka Bivvy Bag along with a 2 season sleeping bag and lightweight mat. Smidge Midge-Proof Headnet for the inevitable midges! Pair of Garmin Edge 530s. Anker Power Bank to keep things charged. First major ride of this type so will be interesting to see how it goes!

Lee Endres

Name: Lee Endres

Age: 36

Location: London

Bike: Open WI.DE

Key items of kit: Pirelli cinturato 45 M for thé varied terrain. I’ve also fitted a smaller/oval chainring for the frequent climbs. I’ll be using tailfin bags and a warm sleeping bag - there’s nothing worse than being cold at the end of the long day on the bike!

Greg Hilson

Name: Greg Hilson

Age: 39

Location: London

Bike: Specialized Chisel

Key items of kit: All the good stuff, Apidura packs with sleeping gear in the saddle pack, spares/clothing/electronics in the frame pack. Hydration vest for water and snacks.

Garmin eTrex for navigation, Exposure lights, Specialized clothing and kit.

Ben Yarnold

Name: Ben Yarnold

Age: 30

Location: Burford, Shropshire, UK

Bike: Teme Frameworks

Key items of kit: Wizard works front bag, Ortlieb frame bag, Apidura + Revelate Designs top tube bags.

Jamie Muirhead

Name: Jamie Muirhead

Age: 49

Cap number: 14

Location: Plymouth

Bike: Fairlight Secan

Key items of kit: Tailfin carbon aeropack, Tailfin top tube bag, Restrap custom frame bag.

Richie McColl

Name: Richie McColl

Age: 47

Cap number: 23

Location: Bristol

Bike: Mason Bokeh, SRAM Force 40 x 11-42, Hunt 25 Carbon Gravel Race. Hutchinson Tundra 45 front. Touareg 40mm rear.

Key items of kit: Tailfin Aeropack, Restrap bags and 2 Lezeyne 1300xl & 800xl front lights. Sleep system = Alpkit Hunka Bivvy bag, NewDoar Aegismax goose down sleeping bag, Vango Aotrom sleep matt and a Jamaica Cake for a pillow #lifehack. For luck and companionship a stuffed Robin.

Daniel Mills

Name: Daniel Mills

Age: 28

Cap number: 7

Location: Machynlleth, Wales

Bike: Ribble CGR725 - 1x GRX800 40t Front, 42-11 Rear. 650B Mavic Aksiums with Teraveil Rutlands (2.1" front, 47mm rear) and red Muc-off valves. Very mucky white BLB cloth bar-tape that's well overdue for a change!

Key items of kit: I'm using a mish-mash of Bags from Alpkit, Restrap and Planet X. Sleeping kit is a cheap bivvy bag from Mountain Warehouse that was half price, a Sea2Summit Ultralight Mat, OEX Thermal Liner and an inflatable pillow. My lucky item is numerous bags of Haribo Tangfastics.

Mike Jacklin

Name: Mike Jacklin

Age: 42

Cap number: 20

Location: Disley, Cheshire

Bike: Trek Checkpoint SLR 7 with RockShox Rudy 40mm forks. Shimano GRX Di2. Pirelli Cinturato 45mm Tyres

Key items of kit: Roswheel offroad medium frame bag and rear pack. Restrap top tube bag. Albion clobber

Michael Drummond

Name: Michael Drummond

Age: 35

Cap number: 19

Location: Frome, Somerset

Bike: Specialized Diverge setup with SRAM AXS mullet drivetrain, hoping a 34t Wolftooth chainring will help paired up with a 9-50t Cassette on the rear. Rolling on Halo Vapour GXC wheels built up with an SP dynamo to power my wahoo and keep the trail lit using a Supernova E3 Triple 2. Hoops are wrapped in some Halo rubber too, a GXR on the rear and a GXC on the front, grippy and fast. 47mm and 650b is new for me with this bike, and excited to get rolling loose and throw up some dust through Wales.

Key items of kit: Ive come to relish rolling my sleep system up all in one nice bundle, and this ride will be no different, S2S Spark Sp1 bag, OR Helium bivvy and a Thermarest NEO air mat is all stuffed in the rear.

Maybe trumping my sleep kit, is my Garmin eTrex 32X - solid, reliable and a great backup for a continuous track out there when it gets remote AF.

Rob Gardiner

Name: Rob Gardiner

Age: 34

Cap number: 24

Location: Cotswolds, UK

Bike: Flyxii carbon gravel frame and Zolla Odesa 35mm wheels with Hutchinson Tundra 45mm tyres. Running old-school SRAM 2x10 gearing with FSA 48/32 front chainset and 11-36 Shimano rear cassette. Stopping comes courtesy of even more old-school BB7 mechanical brakes.

Key items of kit: A Tailfin combined with Restrap top tube and frame bags. Also a couple of feed pouches, which can together carry about 12 hours' worth of sweets and should allow me to survive the Welsh desert.

Alan Goldsmith

Name: Alan Goldsmith

Age: 59

Cap number: 1

Location: Wiltshire

Bike: Ridley Kanzo Adventure gravel bike. GRX drivetrain with 46/30 chainrings and 11-42 cassette. Hunt wheels with 50mm Goodyear Connector tyres. Redshift Shockstop stem.

Key items of kit: Tailfin Aeropack, Big Agnes Fly Creek bikepacking tent, Exped Synmat sleeping mat, Rab Top Bag sleeping bag. Garmin Etrex 20 for navigation. Exposure Joystick lights.

Sam Bennett

Name: Sam Bennett

Age: 48

Cap number: 28

Location: Shropshire

Bike: Cube LImited SL 29er Hardtail, Hope tech XC wheels, Michelin Force XC2 Tyres, Fox 32 Forks, Shimano XT groupset, Ergon GA3 Grips

Key items of kit: Topeak front bar bag, and rear saddle bag. Alpkit frame bag, Exposure Front light, Evoc waste pack, Smith Session Helmet. Goretex bivvy, Thermarest sleeping mat, Berghaus elevation 200 sleeping bag. Food: As much as I can pack! Baby Bells, Bara Brith, some kind of bread covered in peanut butter & coconut oil. Jelly babies!

Webster Wickham

Name: Webster Wickham

Age: 57

Cap number: 35

Location: Hay on Wye, UK

Bike: I’ll be riding is Travers RUSSTI EVO. The bike features a pair of Vittoria Mezcal 2.3 tires, 12 spd Shimano XT, Hope crank, and MASON X HUNT SEARCH 29 MTB wheels with a SON Dynamo hub up front with K-Lite lighting setup.

Key items of kit: I will be taking a tent packed in Ortlieb bar bag (not pictured). Top tube bag is new Tailfin product and I am also using Tailfin Alloy AeroPack with Apidura frame bag and mini bags.

Nic Veloadventurescardiff

Name: Nic Veloadventurescardiff

Age: 52

Cap number: 21

Location: Cardiff

Bike: Trek Checkpoint with GRX 1x 38T with 11-46 and SRAM Force cranks, contact points from Shimano Pro/Discover, Halo GXC wheels and Maxxis Ramblers 700x45 front, 709x40 rear, setup tubeless. Bags from Alpkit.

Key items of kit: The burner from Albion and Endura thermal gilet are my favourite bits of clothing for when it gets cold. I'll be in DHB clothing, which has been my brand of choice for several years. Lights from Endura. In my tool keg, the Dyna plug is probably the most likely bit of kit to be used. I'm aiming to ride single use plastic free, so home made goodies will be filling my food bags.

Steve Chapman

Name: Steve Chapman

Age: 40

Cap number: 30

Location: Clee Hill, Shropshire

Bike: Orbea Oiz M10 TR, Fox bouncy bits, Shimano XT clicky, spinny bits. Maxxis Rekon Race rubbery bits.

Key items of kit: A selection of bags, some borrowed (thanks Molly), filled with some bits to keep me warm at night, Terra Nova bivvy bag, Anker battery pack, Fenix BC26R lights with spare batteries. Fairly comprehensive tool kit, space for lots of snacks. I'll also be carrying a Salomon running vest with closer proximity snacks, water and a waterproof jacket and shorts. Large tub of Happy Bottom Bum Butter.

Rebecca Richardson

Name: Rebecca Richardson

Age: 37

Cap number: 22

Location: Wales

Bike: Merida Ninety Six 9.6 29er 2017 DT Swiss wheels Pirelli Scorpion 2.2 (tyres in photo to be changed) 34T front (to be changed from 36T showing)

Key items of kit: A mixed bag of kit that I have collected over the years. A changeable weather forecast means some extra spares have gone in.

Front bar - Expedition dry bag XL with velcro straps (DIY), inside down trousers and 4 season bivvy bag with midge net. Bar - Exposure light and back up Cateye Ampp200 Top tube - 'Pro' waterproof pouch for phone and two Anker battery chargers and cables. Sides - two bottle pouches (birzman and pro) to make up for lack of places to fit water bottles in frame. Bottle holder with integrated pump and basic tool set. Rear - Apidura bag with down jacket, waterproof and merino base layer Chase camelbak with 1.5L water sack, pockets with spares and repairs, and food Clothing: Rapha all weather waterproof jacket, Specialized bib shorts, Specialized gravel t-shirt, Rapha merino base layer, Jack Wolfskin Down Trousers, Rab Down jacket, SPD mountain bike shoes , lightweight gloves, buff. Water treatment: Water filter bottle and chloride dioxide tablets. Spares: one tube, puncture repair kit, gas, pump, tyre boot, gaffa tape, spare chain link

Barry Lynham

Name: Barry Lynham

Age: 45

Cap number: 4

Location: Romsey

Bike: Ribble CGR 725 Sram Apex with AbsoluteBlack 38 oval chainring and 11/46 sunrace cassette Hope RS4 hubs with DT Swiss 650b rims Terravail Rutland 2.1 front/47mm rear Redshift Sports Shockstop stem Crank brothers egg beater pedals

Key items of kit: Restrap frame bag/tail bag/cannister bag and top tube bag. Alpkit Ultra 80 sleeping bag, air mattress and bivvy bag plus inflatable pillow. Exposure rear light and Nestling Led front light (Amazon special, but awesome and so light). Lucky hip flask filled with Red Leg Spiced Rum for those dark moments! 🤣

Robert Flack

Name: Robert Flack

Age: 33

Cap number: 25

Location: Malvern

Bike: Specialized Diverge Expert Roval Terra C wheels 43mm Panaracer Gravelking SK tyres set up tubeless Sram eTap AXS shifting

Key items of kit: Garmin 1040
Exposure Strada front light Restrap barrel and frame bag Apidura racing hydration vest

Andrei Tereskin

Name: Andrei Tereskin

Age: 34

Cap number: 2

Location: London, UK (originally from Novocherkassk, Russia)

Bike: I'll be riding my battle-tested bike built on "On-One Pickenflick" titanium CX frame and SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset, wheels built with carbon token roubx g33 rims and enve hubs, Specialized Rhombus Pro 47mm tyres. My gearing is 38 front and 10-44 rear. Have flared carbon handlebars and carbon aerobars raised by 30mm for comfort and option to stretch on long tarmac sections. For lighting will be using lights by Exposure and Fenix.

Key items of kit: Regarding bags, in the back I have Tailfin AeroPack with carbon arch and in the front 20L Alpkit drybag inside harness by Nerpa Gear. Top tube bag and one of feedbags are from Revelate Designs, another feedbag is from Nerpa. For this ride I've decided to save some weight and not take a frame bag. Going to have one bottle inside the frame and 2l bladder inside backpack.

I'm taking a new DCF tent (rediculously lightweight) and for sleep will have Thermarest sleeping pad & pillow and down sleeping bag by Naturehike.

Hannah Sargent

Name: Hannah Sargent

Age: 33

Cap number: 12

Location: Malvern

Bike: Orbea Terra, Panaracer Gravelking SK tubeless set up

Key items of kit: Garmin GPS, Exposure light, spare clothes in the bar bag, pretty comfy sleep set up in the saddle bag, first aid and mechanics out the way in the down tube bag, easy to reach snacks in the top tube bag, Apidura race vest for extra hydration and snacks

Ewan Partridge

Name: Ewan Partridge

Age: 33

Cap number: 10

Bike: Canyon Grizl

Key items of kit: The lovely Collins Cycle Works has custom made me a split frame bag and top tube bag, and I also have a seat pack from Topeak. Outdoor Reseach Helium bivvy and Therm-a-Rest Neoair sleep mat provide sleeping arrangements. Fidlock bottles plus a bladder in the frame bag, and rather a lot of sweets.