The Trans Cambrian Way (TCW) is a long distance MTB route, conceived by IMBA, that follows a winding route of just over 100 miles from the Welsh Border at Knighton nearly to the sea at Dovey Junction. As a route, it's challenging both in terms of distance, navigation, trail surface and general lack of facilities along the way. No surprise then then that IMBA recommend this as a three day trip, and one that makes an excellent bikepacking route.
With the recent trend of tackling obvious multi-day routes in as short a time as possible elsewhere in the UK, the TCW seems to have escaped attention with only two timed efforts in the last five years. The record stood at just over 12 hours for both a solo effort and a pairs effort.
On the 1 April 2012, Mark Goldie took advantage of some exceptional riding form and an uncharacteristically dry March to attempt to beat the current record. He tackled the route in the traditional east-west direction taking an entirely self-sufficient approach. To reduce fatigue as much as possible, particularly in the upper body, Mark's strategy was to put all his gear on the bike. We made a Clouded Leopard for Mark recently that maximised storage space around bottle positions on the seat and down tubes to provide a place to put food, waterproof and tools. Mark's frame had a third set of bottle mounts beneath the downtube to give him enough water capacity, but the freedom to ride totally without a hydration pack.
Mark's blog provides an excellent account of the day which resulted, not without incident, in the fastest passage of the Trans-Cambrian Way in 11 hours 44 minutes. It was the first anyone has ridden it in under 12 hours, not to mention the first recorded singlespeed attempt.
We caught up with Mark recently to ask him how he'd found the frame bag:
It's amazing just how much it'll hold with some careful packing. It lives permanently on the bike and I haven't used my backpack since receiving the frame bag. I'm loving the frame bag a lot!
Well done Mark on a superb and inspirational ride!