Old forum > Race Report - The Talybont Trial (Croups v Ramblers)

I’ve got to give The Talybont 20 (22.6 according to the GPs, plus four nice big juicy hill climbs) a plug. It is becoming a key feature of the Croups off-road calendar. The timing is perfect - just two weeks before The OMM and so provides an ideal opportunity for some last minute testing of stamina, kit and navigational inability.

Likewise the superb organisation (by the LDW or Long Distance Walkers Association – a much understated organisation keen to open-up its events to those who run, and others like myself) and value for money (£6 - including food…). We’re so lucky to have so many of these events close to hand. The scenery and terrain, Tor-y-foel, Chartists Caves, Craig Pwllfa, moonscape of the infamous Talybont quarry (think post nuclear world…) also make this special.

And so it was that Matt T, Denis M, Graeme D, myself and Paul Dawes from San Dom set-off in good spirits early on Saturday in perfect weather conditions (that will all change come The OMM….). In order to simulate the conditions of the latter we decided to make life a bit more interesting by carrying as much junk as possible in our ruck-sacks (that hurt…) and gave the rest of the field a nice big head-start (which hurt even more..). This may have caused some confusion. As we hung around before the off, Matt explained to a baffled marshall that we, being fun runners, (FLM, GNR etc) felt more at home taking 30 minutes or so to cross the stat-line…

We stayed together for about 12 miles, profiting from Denis’ local knowledge and excellent route finding. The wheels came briefly off for G and me shortly after, a ‘short-cut’ costing us the event’s only drink station and a mud-slide through the forest from hell. It all worked out well in the end though.

The LDW record times and final positions but everyone seemed too polite to ask about such things. Getting-in the beacon butties, tea, cakes was the priority at the finish. As for the day itself, finishing in one piece, finding the control points and fending off “walkers” (many of whom fly along at remarkable speeds, especially on the climbs…) was the key challenge.

Denis pointed out that many LDW members are becoming more like proper runners by the day - hence the Inov8s, lycra etc. Some members of Les Croups on the other hand increasingly look more like ramblers.

More mint cake anyone ?

October 12, 2009 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim

Nice report Tim, I have meant to do this for three years now, I have done the Black Mountains Roundabout and Abergavenny Three Peaks twice but Ian Mac scoffs at me for them being muppet events. Is the Talybont Trial thought to be much harder ? I have heard than finding the "Chartist Cave" checkpoint is an exercise in luck.
The other one I fancy is the Caerphilly Summits Challenge 32 mile route, Sally H and Mick T were joint winners in 2005 when it was a mere 31 miles.

October 12, 2009 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDominic

It was a wonderful day out on the hills, though the last climb up to Craig Pwllfa was an absolute killer with lungs bursting and calves screaming.
As for navigation, the couple of times we required bearings we hit both checkpoints spot on, but we did have the slight advantage of clear visibility and the Brecon Mountain rescue teams manning the points in bright red jackets.

The event is great, though it can be dispiriting to see the same swine walking with a dog appear in front of you when you think you've finally dropped the bugger.

Definitely not a race but a test of endurance, map reading and the ability to stuff as many jelly babies in your mouth whilst continuing the breathe.

October 12, 2009 at 5:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt T

Matt: I've been trying hard to forget about the chap with the dog. 6 paws better than 2 I guess ?

Hi Dominic ! The first time I did this (with Denis in nil visibility) we almost fell into the Chartist Cave. Its so very well hidden, hence no doubt why the lads took shelter there after the Rebecca riots (being deported to Australia may have been an easier option…).

I also wore silly shoes that year (Salmon XA pros = less grip than Gordon Broown) & spent much of the time on my backside (thistles - nice..), wrecked my r.knee and we got lost - VERY lost - twice, headless chickens re-overtaking others who knew how to navigate.

Good or bad though the memory of these ruddy things stay forever, and I guess that’s the point. We are so lucky to have so many LD events on our doorstep where finishing and a long day out is a reward in itself. I know that many runners do ‘dis’ such things as you say (Ian M the last person though ?) but the challenge of travelling on such terrain is so rewarding - and more akin to how we are designed to run ?

Give me the Muppets any day. Better still a crazed Border Collie that pull for six hours, and can carry a rucksac....

October 12, 2009 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim

PS Apols for the typos and general ramblings. I also OD'd on sugar / jelly babies !!

October 12, 2009 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim

Tim, I think Ian thinks I'm comparing the BMR with the OMM, which I can't having had no experience of it, the BMR looks like this if you scroll down a bit after following the link.
BMR Animated Profile (Click Me)

October 12, 2009 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDominic