Attenburrow stars in Battle on the Beach

Hannah Attenburrow. Picture: Anthony Pease. Website: www.anthonypeasephotography.co.uk
Hannah Attenburrow. Picture: Anthony Pease. Website: www.anthonypeasephotography.co.uk
Mike Williams on his way to second place in the veteran 50 race last month. Picture: Neil Marshall (171322-123)

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Hannah Attenburrow showed her winter training is paying off with a solid start to her season in the Battle on the Beach race.

The Pedal 2 Pedal rider travelled to Wales for the race in Pembrey Country Park, alongside around 700 mountain bikers.

Now in its third year this race has grown in popularity year on year with 2016 being the biggest and best so far.

Attenburrow, who is training for the seven-day TransAlp Challenge in July, finished in 16th place out of a high-quality international field.

She said: ‘I am really happy with my result.

‘It was my first race of the season and with a new bike I just went out to see what was possible.

‘There are things I need to improve on but overall my stamina has improved so much which makes all those winter miles worth the effort.’

Battle on the Beach is run by A Cycling who also organise the UK’s only stage race Epic Cymru.

The idea of a beach race came from the Dutch and Belgian races.

Although those events are nearly all beach, the Welsh version packs in 6k of beach racing on a 15k course which is negotiated three times.

Attenburrow added: ‘The battle starts on soft sand at the top of the beach, while the DJ pumps out motivational music and gets the riders ready for what’s to come with riders jostling for position close to the front.

‘The soft sand start is hard work and with so many people in a compact space picking your bike up is pretty impossible.

‘So when the gun goes off it’s about pushing as hard as you can while watching out for other people’s pedals and flying wheels of those who have picked their bikes up.

‘Once on the hard packed sand cyclocross skills come in handy as you launch yourself on to your bike and charge out to catch a group moving fast.

‘The key to the beach is to get in a bunch and work together to make the 6k beach stretch less taxing on your legs.’

There is quite a nice mixture of tests including sand dunes and tracks through the trees with sandy climbs and loose descents.

Lots of spectators turn out and other riders always give their support.

It is an ideal race for riders who are looking to test their speed and endurance and also those who just want to do something different with friends.

Dutch rider Karen Brouwer took the women’s title in a time of 1hr 49min.

The men’s open was a hard-fought battle between Richard Jansen, the Dutch beach racing champion, and fellow Dutch rider Bram Imming.

It was close right up to the line with Jansen taking the win by just a second, finishing in an impressive time of 1.35.08.

For the first time the day race was accompanied by a night race.

Battle in the Dark took place on the Saturday evening and was a shorter loop of the main course taken on in time trial style.

For more pictures from the Battle on the Beach race click to see the website anthonypeasephotography.co.uk