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The third Bear Bones ‘Winter Event’ took place last weekend. The imaginatively titled There ‘n back included the usual ingredients … big hills, boggy bits, getting lost, getting cold, smiling, laughing and swearing were all present to varying degrees depending how well your initial route planning had gone.

If just going out to ride wasn’t enough incentive to pry your arse of the sofa in January, then going out to ride with the chance of winning a prize should have added that little something extra … and little it was. Gnorm the gnome (actually 6 pictures of him) had been placed in various locations known to be regularly frequented by bikepackers – Spar shops! If you managed to find one of these pictures and bring it to the finish, then fame, fortune and a big gold star in the bikepacking hall of fame was assured.

I’m slightly amazed that all 6 pictures made it to the finish … firstly I’m amazed because they were spread over an area of 300 square kilometers and secondly I’m surprised no one was tempted to burn them in an attempt to keep warm!

Found Gnorm … celebrate with a milkshake.

That’s right, it was pretty frigid. Sunny and dry was the order of the day on Saturday but the big clear skies did nothing to insulate the weary traveller as the sun waved goodbye and the shadows lengthened. Those ‘in the know’ spent Saturday doing everything possible to keep their kit and especially their shoes dry, knowing full well that failure to adhere to this principle would result in a very uncomfortable Sunday morning.

Sunday morning coming down.

The first riders home started to appear around 10.00am on Sunday morning and fell into the loving warm embrace of Llanbrynmair community centre. Shoes were removed and hands blown on, as the therapeutic effects of tea, toast and cake gradually restored movement to cold limbs and digits and life to numbed brains.

By mid-afternoon most had returned but a few still remained in the land of mountains and Spars … either revelling in the challenge or wondering quite how they’d got themselves in this position when they could be plonked at home on the settee. The last man home rolled in a couple of hours after the sun had gone to bed and the rain had started … with the last Gnorm! You can read about his weekend here.

So, that’s it for another year. If you were there, your bikepacking year is well and truly begun … if you weren’t, then you’ve possibly still got all your toes!

I’d like to thank Miles from CYCLEMILES who very kindly donated 6 sets of Monkii products for the fortunate finders of Gnorm. I’d also like to say thank you to Liv for helping out while I was playing in the hills and a big thank you to Dee … without her there’s no relief from the pain and suffering! 


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