Wild Wales Challenge 2016

Wild Wales Challenge 2016

Well, I have done The Wild Wales Challenge twice before. After each time, I have said never again. I don’t like steep, gnarly hills, and they are de rigueur for WWC. However, they do take you around beautiful parts of North Wales that I would otherwise not get to.

When Mark suggested in it in March, it seemed a long way away, at its traditional time of August Bank Holiday Sunday, so I agreed. It was also long enough away from the last time, to fade my memory of the pain, yet remember the spectacular views over the Mawddach Estuary.

This year has not been a hard year’s cycling for me, so I did not think I was fit enough for this years challenge, 97 miles and 9000 feet of climbing. So with trepidation the weekend arrives. I was sort of hoping for the usual bank holiday weekend weather, rain, as we had agreed we would not do it if the weather was poor. Well, lo and behold, the weather was set to be OK.

There weren’t many Melyd riders at the start, so Mark, Sally and I set off at 8.30 am. Sally left us, when the road started to climb! That first climb was tough, and long. I had descended it before, but never climbed it. The scenery was stunning from this direction, and the descent was good too!

Then, it became lumpy; steep short climbs through some forests. I started to think about bailing, as the route crossed the main road back to Bala! However, when we got there the road was very busy, so Mark persuaded me to carry on to the first control point, where we could look at route options! So more climbing, some on the A470, which was unusual for WWC, and very busy. But, what a great fast descent, to the control point, for a welcome rest, drink and cake!

We met up with others from the club there, but most importantly for me Greg and Paul. They just smiled when I groaned and said ‘I can’t do this!’
Unbeknown to me Mark had warned them, and asked them to persuade me to ride with them!

After we all refuelled, we went outside. The sun was shining and Greg made it clear him and Paul would ride with us, at a pace that would help me get round. So, I agreed to try.

Paul talked me through it, Greg paced me. Paul has a lot of experience of pacing, having completed the triple ironman last year, and he can talk! Paul was suffering with the heat, so I was climbing faster than him, which psychologically helped me (sorry Paul!). Greg and Mark set a nice pace. Greg said it is only 25 miles to lunch, which didn’t sound a lot, but did take a while, with the continued undulating course! However we were riding through stunning scenery, on quiet lanes, so was living up to what I expected!

After lunch, we climbed over a never ending hill! I don’t know if it has a name, but it caused me to have cycling Tourette’s, as bend after bend revealed more hill to climb! Eventually we got to the last control point, nearly at Lake Vrnwy. Another coffee, and cake!

I was now feeling happier. I knew the roads we had to cycle to get back to Bala. Round one side of the lake, and up to Bwlch y Groes. Then a fast descent down to Llyn Tegid, and a short ride back. Tactically, I had saved my gel, so had it on the flat road by Lake Vrnwy.

Fortunately the last big climb was I remembered it, having done it before. Some steep ramps, with easier sections in between, even some downhill!
As I was approaching the junction, which heralds the last steep section before the summit, I saw Mat, Sally, Greg and Mark! Photo opportunity! Wow, what a view. So we all posed for the obligatory selfie, then I set off for the last challenging section of the day, made worse as the road had recently been tar and chipped. It was like wading through treacle! There was a photographer there, if I see the picture it will not be a smile on my face, I was grimacing!

The last bit was as thought, easy, knowing the challenge was in the bag.

I can honestly say I would not have done it without Greg, Paul and Marks help. As I was cycling I reflected on this, and this ride made me really appreciate being in a club. The support that we offer each other, helps us improve and overcome our fears. As a coach with VC Melyd for women, I try and do this for others, and have been privileged to see lots of new women riders improve and feel confident enough to join our club. I also reflected on a recent article I had read, about how our attitude can affect us, and hold us back. This was certainly the case for me! I looked at the numbers and thought I cant do that! The WWC reminded me of the help and encouragement I have received since being part of this great club.

VC Melyd, a great club to be part of!

Time Trial – Round 24 – HC

Time Trial – Round 24 – HC

A large turn out this evening for the third penultimate event of the year – the Rhuallt Hill, Hill Climb – with a great number of personal bests achieved.

Many thanks to Andy Malcolm, Gary Houlston for arranging the weather and running the event – as always no help – it doesn’t occur.

While the points lead now seems that first is a given – the rest of the field is open to taking… see you next week people.

Round 24 – HC – Rhuallt Hill

Wind speed Light Surface condition Dry Date 20160823
Wind direction var Temperature 20 Course code D0/11
Air pressure 1020
Position Name Category Club (s) Time PB Points
1 Tom Brazier Senior Team Elite 5.26
2 Mike Lewis Senior Rhyl CC 5.40 x 30
3 Alex Jones Senior Come and Try It 5.45
4 Graham Stephenson Vet-B Rhyl CC 5.58 x 29
5 Ben Bright Youth B Come and Try It 6.04
6 Terry Glynn Vet-A VC Melyd 6.16 28
7 Tom Davies Youth A MTRT/Rhyl CC 6.20 x 27
8 Dave Watt Vet-A Team Elite/VC Melyd 6.24 26
9 Rhion Morgan Senior Rhyl CC 6.36 x 25
10 Will Harding Youth B Come and Try It 6.41
11 Edward Woodhead Youth B Rhyl CC 6.43 x 24
12 Ashley Roberts Senior Rhyl CC 6.46 23
13 Richard Ashcroft Vet-A Rhyl CC 7.01 22
14 Nic Wright Vet-B Rhyl CC 7.42 21
15 Sally Cunliffe Vet Lady-C VC Melyd 7.43 20
16 David Fanning Vet-B Clwb Beicio Bala/Rhyl CC 7.45 x 19
17 Tim Erasmus Vet-B Rhyl CC 8.27 18
18 Peter Hughes Vet-C Rhyl CC 9.24 17
19 Sparrow Harrison Vet-D Rhyl CC 12.06 16
Time Trial – 9 mile – Two Up

Time Trial – 9 mile – Two Up

This weeks event saw a 2up time trial around the D1/9 course.

Attendance was low – however much fun was had.

No points were attributed to this event.

Round 24 – 9 mile – D1/9 – 2Up

Position Name Time
1 Nic Wright 00:22:39
1 Graham Stephenson 00:22:39
2 Tim Erasmus 00:24:29
2 Simon Price 00:24:29
3 Dave Fanning 00:24:51
3 Hywel Lloyd 00:24:51
4 Ed Woodhead 00:25:47
4 Sally Cunliffe 00:25:47

 

Alpine Adventures: the ‘Marmotte and Me’

Alpine Adventures: the ‘Marmotte and Me’

The ‘Marmotte Gran Fondo Alpes’ is frankly a real ball-buster of a ride (even for those of us who don’t have them!) It’s a total of 120 miles with over 17,000ft of climbing taking in 4 of the legendary climbs of the French Alps. The combination of long, relentless mountain climbs, technical descents, and the extremes of alpine weather, makes it impossible to equate this to anything in the UK.

Like all the best (or foolhardy) plans, it started from the comfort of the sofa on a chilly November day when having a ‘challenge’ for 2016 seemed like a good idea. Getting in is the first challenge … a case of ‘fingers on the buzzers’ the moment entries open .. but having got a place, it was on to months of training – a weekly regime of increasingly long and solitary rides round the mountains of Snowdonia … without so much as a glass of Prosecco to ease the pain : )

How did it go? I’m sure I’ll bore most of you about it out on a ride sometime, but here’s a few of the Highs and Lows …

Mountain Highs!

– Riding the iconic alpine HC climbs! Starting with the Col du Glandon, it was a sweat-fest up the 28km climb to the summit at 1924m, followed by the combined ascents of the Telegraph and Galibier – a total of 35km from the baking heat of the valley to the summit at 2642. I absolutely loved this climb, especially the final section of the Galibier as it steepened to the summit – admittedly, this happy feeling didn’t appear to be shared by many of my fellow riders : )

– Alpe D’Huez! Finally, with 100 miles of hard riding already in your legs, and nothing left to give, you’ve got to get up Alpe D’Huez to the finish line. An classic climb, 14km and over 1000m of ascent up the iconic 21 bends and steep gradients, it was a ‘love / hate’ affair as in a fair bit of pain, I dug deeper than I ever have before, to ride continuously to the finish line at the top.

My Marmotte Low …

– It has been said that in riding the Marmotte ‘most people will go to hell and back at least once during the day’. For me, hell came at the top of the Galibier – I had felt really strong on the climb, but was hit by an alpine storm at the summit. Gales, sleet, torrential rain, and a 40km technical descent off the other side – my worst nightmare on a bike. Cold to the core, road as slick as ice, steep hairpins and dark tunnels, my shoulder froze in a muscle spasm making braking difficult and made a hard descent even more dangerous. Scared and shaking, I just wanted to get down in one piece : (

Fini

My Marmotte: I had hoped just to get round safe, so was gobsmacked to find that I had finished in ‘Gold’ time! There are few things that I am genuinely proud of having achieved, but this is one of them. The Marmotte is punishing – the climbs and descents are hard and relentless, the alpine weather is notoriously extreme and unpredictable … but ultimately it was fantastically rewarding! Go do it if you can : )

sue_williams_marmotte_Gold

Time Trial – Round 23 – D1/9

Time Trial – Round 23 – D1/9

The last of the nine mile courses this season for the VC Melyd & RCC time trial league.

Thank you to everyone who took part and helped out this evening. A clutch of personal bests on a day of mostly confused weather.

 

Round 23 – D1/9 – 9mile TT

Wind speed Moderate Surface condition Dry Date 20160809
Wind direction NW Temperature 14 Course code D1/9
Air pressure 1025
Position Name Category Club (s) Time PB Points
1 Mike Lewis Senior Rhyl CC 20.38 x 30
2 Tom Brereton Senior Team Elite/VC Melyd 22.17 x 29
3 Chris Mann Youth A MTRT 22.25
4 Rhion Morgan Senior Rhyl CC 22.28 x 28
5 Tom Davies Youth A MTRT/Rhyl CC 22.55 x 27
6 Dylan Roberts Senior Wrecsam Tri 23.06
7 Richard Ashcroft Vet-A Rhyl CC 23.39 x 26
8 Nic Wright Vet-B Rhyl CC 24.02 25
9 Richard Lee Vet-B Rhyl CC 24.11 24
10 Ashley Roberts Senior Rhyl CC 24.27 23
11 David Fanning Vet-B Clwb Beicio Bala/Rhyl CC 24.36 22
12 Simon Price Vet-B VC Melyd 24.55 21
13 Hywel Lloyd Senior Rhyl CC 25.42 20
14 Sally Cunliffe Vet Lady-C VC Melyd 25.54 19
15 Tim Erasmus Vet-B Rhyl CC 26.28 18
16 Sparrow Harrison Vet-D Rhyl CC 34.35 17
NWRR overall series results – after round 4

NWRR overall series results – after round 4

Following up on the success of this last weekends North Wales Road Race Series – round 4 from Llyn Brenig – we have results for round 4 for both this round, and overall for the NWRR series 2016.

Joe Bowers will wear the yellow series leaders jersey and Dylan Kerfoot-Robson will wear the white Under 23 series leaders jersey. However both are on the same points going into round 5.” — Simon Parkinson

You may wish to look over these two write ups / reports of the event from two other points of view – one from our local Jack Nash of MTRT’s – and the another fantastic write up by Nick Pulling of Team Chronomaster.

Great to see such good racing, and acknowledgement of the club’s efforts. Well done all.

Thank you to the event organisers VC Melyd for putting on such a fantastic race series held on spectacular roads. I will be racing the fifth event in the series in a few weeks and will definitely back next year to race in the series.” — Nick Pilling.

Time Trial – Round 22 – D1/5

Time Trial – Round 22 – D1/5

Thank you to everyone who helped out this evening, and well done to those who achieved Personal Bests.

Round 22 – D1/5 – 5mile TT

Wind speed Light Surface condition Dry Date 20160802
Wind direction SW Temperature 19 Course code D1/5
Air pressure 1014
Position Name Category Club (s) Time PB Points
1 Mike Lewis Senior Rhyl CC 10.39 x 30
2 Rhion Morgan Senior Rhyl CC 11.16 x 29
3 Tom Brereton Senior Team Elite/VC Melyd 11.22 x 28
4 Tom Davies Youth A MTRT/Rhyl CC 11.46 27
5 Richard Ashcroft Vet-A Rhyl CC 12.06 26
6 Nic Wright Vet-B Rhyl CC 12.11 25
7 Richard Lee Vet-B Rhyl CC 12.23 x 24
8 David Fanning Vet-B Clwb Beicio Bala/Rhyl CC 12.31 x 23
9 Sally Cunliffe Vet Lady-C VC Melyd 13.09 FT 22
10 Chris Johnson Vet-A Ruthin CC 13.25
11 Tim Erasmus Vet-B Rhyl CC 13.30 21
12 Anthony Hogbin Vet-A VC Melyd 14.10 20
13 Sparrow Harrison Vet-D Rhyl CC 17.37 19

 

Time Trial – Round 21 – D1/25

Time Trial – Round 21 – D1/25

With so many away with the London100 event as teams and individuals the turn out was sparse – however to those who took part and helped deliver the event – many thanks.

D1/25 – Round 21 – 25 mile TT

Wind speed Light Surface condition Dry Date 20160731
Wind direction NW Temperature 15 Course code D1/25
Air pressure 1016
Position Name Category Club (s) Time PB Points
1 Graham Stephenson Vet-B Rhyl CC 59.32 FT 30
2= Nic Wright Vet-B Rhyl CC 65.35 29
2= Ashley Roberts Senior Rhyl CC 65.35 x 29
4 David Fanning Vet-B Clwb Beicio Bala/Rhyl CC 66.35 x 27
5 Richard Lee Vet-B Rhyl CC 67.18 FT 26
6 Simon Price Vet-B VC Melyd 69.39 FT 25
7 Tim Erasmus Vet-B Rhyl CC 75.43 24
8 Peter Hughes Vet-C Rhyl CC 80.41 FT 23

 

 

Time Trial – Round 18 – D1/9 x2

Time Trial – Round 18 – D1/9 x2

North Wales Time Trials continue with the VC Melyd & RCC League. This weeks instalment of the race of truth took place over 18 miles, through two laps of the D1/9 circuit.

A wind assisting along the approach to The Wall, and along the top road towards Llandurnog – alas meaning the road back to the Denbigh roundabout was hard going.

Thank you to Simon Parkinson and Martin Austin for running the show, and Michael Lewis who won in a class of his own. Chapeau to Rhion Morgan, Tom Davies, and Tom Brereton on their PB’s… particularly to Tom B. for his second place on a standard road bike. Bravo.

Next week brings a 5 mile course to the Llandurnog Roundabout and back – making it more of a sprint – but equally more accessible to all…. why come along and have a go?

Fancy specialist bike or not – this is you against yourself.

Round 18 – 18 Miles (2x D1/9)

Wind speed Moderate Surface condition Dry Date 20160726
Wind direction SW Temperature 16 Course code D1/9×2
Air pressure 1017
Position Name Category Club (s) Time PB Points lap 1 lap 2
1 Mike Lewis Senior Rhyl CC 42.43 x 30 21.09 21.34
2 Tom Brereton Senior Team Elite/VC Melyd 46.13 x 29 23.00 23.13
3 Rhion Morgan Senior Rhyl CC 46.14 x 28 22.58 23.16
4 Tom Davies Youth A MTRT/Rhyl CC 47.19 27 23.43 23.36
5 Nic Wright Vet-B Rhyl CC 49.20 26 24.34 24.46
6 Ashley Roberts Senior Rhyl CC 50.23 25 24.59 25.24
7 Simon Price Vet-B VC Melyd 51.54 24 25.30 26.24
8 Sally Cunliffe Vet Lady-C VC Melyd 53.27 23 26.49 26.38
9 Chris Johnson Vet-A Ruthin CC 53.37 26.32 27.05
10 Anthony Hogbin Vet-A VC Melyd 53.44 FT 22 26.25 27.19
11 Peter Hughes Vet-C Rhyl CC 61.42 21 30.35 31.07
12 Sparrow Harrison Vet-D Rhyl CC 75.52 20 36.30 39.22
Time Trial League Points July 2016

Time Trial League Points July 2016

So here we are ploughing through the Time Trial season – and I keep posting the results – however – there is a VC Melyd and Rhyl CC time Time Trial League no less. Yes.

First place is awarded 30 points, and then each place after first gets a point less. These are added together. ….What do points mean? Prizes!

So on those obscure nights, when the weather looks too hot, too cold, too wet – get out there, go get the points – gotta catch ’em all!

Well done to everyone – and to so many VCM riders for taking part in the league. Particular congratulations to David Griffiths and Sally Cunliffe for fourth and sixth place at this time!

Lets see if next year we can get more competing through the season : )

1 Nic Wright Vet-B Rhyl CC 381
2 Richard Ashcroft Vet-A Rhyl CC 327
3 Mike Lewis Senior Rhyl CC 324
4 David Griffiths Vet-A MTRT/VC Melyd 320
5 Tom Davies Youth A MTRT/Rhyl CC 315
6 Sally Cunliffe Vet Lady-C VC Melyd 296
7 Rhion Morgan Senior Rhyl CC 243
8 Tim Erasmus Vet-B Rhyl CC 234
9 Morgan Hughes Junior Team Elite/Rhyl CC 200
10 David Bell Senior VC Melyd 172
11 Simon Price Vet-B VC Melyd 168
12 Graham Stephenson Vet-B Rhyl CC 167
13 Tom Brereton Senior Team Elite/VC Melyd 158
14 Ashley Roberts Senior Rhyl CC 153
15 Sparrow Harrison Vet-D Rhyl CC 150
16 Rhys Wainwright Senior MTRT/VC Melyd 146
17 Dave Watt Vet-A Team Elite/VC Melyd 145
18 Simon Parkinson Senior MTRT/VC Melyd 132
19 Edward Woodhead Youth B Rhyl CC 91
20 Simon Hall Vet-A VC Melyd 86
21 Laura Ellis Senior Lady MTRT/VC Melyd 74
22 Peter Hughes Vet-C Rhyl CC 53
23 Dave Tudor Junior NFTO Race/VC Melyd 52
24 Katie Dawson Vet Lady-A VC Melyd 52
25 Reece Lessiter Junior MTRT/VC Melyd 50
26 Ben Hughes Senior Rhyl CC 46
27 Andy Malcolm Vet-B VC Melyd 46
28 Darren Wareing Vet-A VC Melyd 45
29 Tim Buckley Vet-A VC Melyd 41
30 Donna Warren Vet Lady-A VC Melyd 39
31 Jack Blanchard Youth A Rhyl CC 32
32 Fran Hoare Vet Lady-B Rhyl CC/VC Melyd 30
33 Jack Nash Junior MTRT/VC Melyd 29
34 Callum Dixon Senior NFTO Race/Rhyl CC 26
35 Alan Overson Vet-B VC Melyd 26
36 Paul Singleton Vet-B Rhyl CC 26
37 Chris Williams Senior MTRT/VC Melyd 25
38 Aries Jansens Senior VC Melyd 24
39 James Morris Vet-B Rhyl CC 24
40 Anthony Hogbin Vet-A VC Melyd 23
41 Finley Douglas Youth C Rhyl CC 23
42 Justin Lewis Vet-A VC Melyd 22
43 Jason Breakey Senior NFTO Race/Rhyl CC 21
44 Becky Hoare Senior Lady Army CU/Rhyl CC 21
45 Evan Burgess Youth C Rhyl CC 21
46 Chris Johnson Vet-A Ruthin CC 20
47 Anthony Webb Youth C Rhyl CC 20
48 Gareth Hughes Vet-A Rhyl CC 19
49 Joel Lingard Youth E Rhyl CC 19
50 Hywel Lloyd Senior Rhyl CC 18
51 Paul Griffin Vet-A Rhyl CC 18
52 Bryn Baxter Youth D Rhyl CC 18
53 Steve Lovibond Vet-B Rhyl CC 17
54 James Johnson Youth C Rhyl CC 17
55 Glyn Morris Vet-B VC Melyd 16
56 Greg Powell Vet-B VC Melyd 15
57 Steve Sharp Vet-B VC Melyd 15
58 Sarah Bayliss Vet Lady-A Rhyl CC 12
59 Richard Sumner Vet-A VC Melyd 12