London 100 – Now with moving pictures

London 100 – Now with moving pictures

Back at the small end of August three teams of four, and some individuals took part in the London100. This is not news now.

As you are riding around, it’s all… well its all a bit big, and the scenery is fabulous… however you are making progress and you miss out on it all.

On top of the usual photographs – there was an hours footage from the beginning of the ride – which we eagerly sat through … taking the time to take in the sites…. as opposed to picking a route through people and shouting “on your right” a lot while trying to paint the picture “Dan – while this pace is great, we do still have 95 miles to go.”

However – as fun as an hours footage of us riding is… for us… it fails to cut it for anyone else. MANY THANKS to (Lord) Gary for cutting this down to something most respectable. Here is to happy memories, and to Team B (Dan Liddle, Gary Sheridan, Vic Manley, Anthony Hogbin) and their great day out.

Tour de Môn 2015

Tour de Môn 2015

The blessing and curse of joining a club like VC Melyd is the constant inspiration to push yourself further than you ever thought possible. When I first ventured out with the club as a ‘fat/fit(ish)’ mountain biker my challenge was to finish the Tuesday evening club rides, then it became to finish at pace and need less than a week to recover. Fortunately there is a wealth of knowledge which is freely shared on all aspects from training, nutrition and equipment (thanks all for helping along the way).

Anyway, to cut a long story short I became faster and fitter than I ever thought possible, loosing nearly 5 stone along the way and set a goal to complete a sportive over 100 miles. Whilst to several in the club this is normal, for me this would be a major milestone. I selected the Tour de Mon as the beast to slay; no particular reason, but hey it’s close to home.

So the battle date selected, the terrain familiar, the weather (well it’s Anglesey, how bad can it get?), 103 miles with just short of 4000 feet of climbing. I’ve spent well over a year contemplating the event and at least a few weeks actually doing something about it. As added incentive I decided to raise money for Bowel Cancer research having lost my Father-in-Law, a wonderful Anglesey Gent whose loss last summer prevented me from participating. I also told anyone who would listen that I was entered, so failure would be humiliating to say the least. However, if greater incentive were needed I was dealt a devastating blow just days before the off. My mum, a keen cyclist in her youth had prepped and preened herself and was set to travel to North Wales to cheer me on; but as fate may be she would never make it. Now I had her memory to ride for too.

So when the alarm sounded at 5:00 on Sunday morning I was filled with anticipation and dread in equal measure. I threw my kit into the car and checked and double checked the bike ready for the 7:00 start. If I’d known it was that early then maybe… well it was too late for that! The weather forecast was, oh yes Welsh, rain and or sunshine possibly at the same time so I packed for all eventualities. It was great to see fellow VC riders on the start line, Richard’s sage voice of experience gave encouragement. So after the inevitable faff I crossed the start line, we were off, and whatever may be will be.

The first part of the tour was around South Stack, one of the most stunningly rugged coastlines in Britain. The climbs were short, but sharp, the atmosphere jovial. I knew very quickly that the Aero wheels I’d bought from David were a good choice, the bike felt felt great, quick, stable and bags of stopping power. The confidence boost was incredible and I started to make progress up the field. However, having been humbled in the past I was ever mindful of the advice from ‘Wardy’ our triple ironman and started to take on fuel. I’d prepped bars, drinks and gels and as the terrain flattened out through Treaddur Bay I started the munch and drink that would see me through.

As I approached RAF Valley for the ‘flying mile’ I was adamant that I would not push hard; but the reality was that once the timing gate bleeped I couldn’t help myself. I’d push a little and it felt great! I hadn’t anticipated the cyclocross section escaping the airfield, but there was the feed stop. Gels, snacks, Mat’s favourite Bananas and a free inner tube, well it would be rude to refuse! A quick pit stop and off again.

Rhosneiger passed in a blur, but as we climbed towards Aberfraw the weather demonstrated just how bad it could get. The golf ball sized droplets were unusual and as the first hit me it felt like I’d been hit with a water bomb. In the seconds it took to pull over and don my rain mac I was already soaked, but hey it was warm(ish) rain. Riding through Newborough through what would later be described as ‘biblical rain’ was and experience to say the least.

I was fascinated by the interesting, yet eclectic bunch of riders attempting the ride, I was also equally fascinated by the bikes. A favourite was a classic Cove titanium Hummer with original Pace carbon forks. Now I’ve ridden across Menai Bridge plenty of times in the past, but surrounded by dozens of others was something special.

Onwards and forwards. I caught up with club from Trevor and we settled into a chain as we approached Beaumaris; the blessed relief from the wind was very welcome. Another short rest, this time passing up the free inner-tubes and I was off again.

We had been encouraged thus far been encouraged by hundreds of people cheering us along. Though I felt sorry for the kids sat under a tree in the rain; though to be fair they looked like they were loving it! Though it was great to be cheered by family as I rode through Llangoed, having tracked my progress on the internet.

The cheering and constant clang of Chain Reaction’s Cow Bells was fun, but being cheered on by name as Dave from Prestatyn in Llanddona was nice (our names on the board instead of a number a nice touch) and recognition of the VC Melyd kit.

I met a friend shortly after Benllech who was riding for the same charity and he was in a bad way; I was feeling surprisingly good. However, the next 20 miles would challenge that. I began to suffer, I was hurting. My legs, my arms, my unmentionables. Standing, sitting it made no difference and having only slept a few hours I wanted to pull over and sleep. The headwind was strong and then Noah returned. Getting to the 85 mile feed station took all of my reserve. Rider after rider retired, every few hundred metres a car would be loading up bikes and riders, but many more endured. We rode on in silence through rivers of water, wind and rain. Eventually I made it to Llynon windmill feed station. Feeling sorry for myself I stopped and rested, but thankfully the rain was also stopping. Fuelled up by the army of volunteers, this time provided by the youth firefighters it was time to tackle the last 20.

The surprise came as I approached Valley again. I knew Holyhead was close and more importantly getting there was flat! I felt a second wind building. The rain had stopped and my pace quickened. I could do this, I’d make it. However, there was a problem with my Garmin. I’d downloaded the route and faithfully it’d given me turn by turn prompts, but now for some reason it was saying straight ahead instead of right to Holyhead. Oh, that’s because we were going straight ahead. Never mind, I was feeling great and pushing it. Not even the return of the rain again and the realisation we were going back up South Stack was going to stop me now. I pushed harder. As I descended the final hill to Newbry beach I was greeted with my very own fan club, a drenched soaked gaggle of kids, wife and friends cheering me through the finish.

I felt great and although I knew the inevitable aches and pains would follow I was elated. I was also really grateful for the additional pledges while I rode (thanks all) and found that my original £500 goal had been reached.

Rise Above Sportive

Rise Above Sportive

It is one thing to have a local professional rider hold a sportive on your doorstep… one that manages to pack over 9000ft of climbing in the 185km between Chester and Llyn Brenig on the Denbigh Moors – to cram in two top 100 uk climbs in Bwlch Pen Barras, and the Horseshoe Pass. Hell, priority club starts following a picture with the legend. But then to have the honour of the organisers asking for members of your club to ride with him and keep people from his wheel… well that is amazing. Darren and Alan had the pleasure of discovering first hand what the difference between fast club riders and a professional was for the day…. and to take their legs home in a bag (o;

Cav’ gratefully acknowledged everyone. He thanked people for wearing his team kit, took the mickey out of people in Sky kit, playfully and tastefully, he just joked with a few riders as we past them. More so though he did go out of his way to speak with those wearing charity kit. After all, that is why he, and we, were there.” — Darren Wareing

Thank you to the organisers, and everyone who travelled to the area to take part in the event… whether you did the Long, Medium, or Short route – what an achievement. See you next year.

London100 – The First.

London100 – The First.

This was my first sportive – and I really didn’t have any idea what to expect, and I was starting with the biggest.

My morning started at 4.45am fuelled by a ‘pot of porridge’ for the 100 mile ride ahead.

I left the hotel with no confirmed directions to the starting point so tagged onto other cyclists & hoped for the best. Once I reached our starting destination at the Olympic Park I was pleased to see Sally & Sarah. It was a gorgeous morning, perfect temperature & a great atmosphere as all got ready to be ‘let loose’ on our journey ahead.

I hadn’t really studied at the route, I was aware of two climbs Leith Hill & Box Hill but I had been reassured by my Melyd friends that I’d cope with both. I had ridden 100 miles once previously in the Cotswolds, best to say it was a long day! Training for this Sportive consisted of no plan, I just cycled, enjoyed the miles and the company along the way. Determination I do have, so I never doubted I wouldn’t finish the ride but I did worry about how long I would take. I knew that at some point during the ride I would lose Sally & Sarah, but I actually lost them before I had even left the starting zone, they set off and I was still in the loo!

I was pleasantly surprised once I left the start zone how open the roads felt & even though it was early a few folk had come out to encourage to us on our way. The early miles passed quickly, with relative ease & I decided to stop at the second station to replenish my water (Julie’s words ‘drink plenty’ kept in mind). It felt strange cycling on the ‘wrong’ side of the road so I mostly kept left, I loved cycling through all those red lights!

Along my journey I caught up with Richard (from VC Melyd) who was cycling for the charity ‘Dreams come true’ we spoke briefly, he gave me a hug & on his way he went.

Leith Hill was upon me before I realised & I was determined not to stop cycling. It was congested with cyclists, some walking, some shouting ‘keep left’ I weaved my way through the congestion feeling proud that I wasn’t walking, it was a slow climb. I reached the top feeling relieved & thought ‘one down, one to go’ I was amazed how many people had lined the country lanes to shout words of encouragement; some had set up picnics at the end of their drives with little tables offering cakes & sweets but I didn’t stop!

As the day went on, comfort became an issue – I had a sore neck, stopped to take on food, water, and something for the pain. I stopped at a pretty village called Westcott. Just off the roadside on the green in Westcott Common was a large screen showing the event, rows of deck chairs & a play area for children. Food & cake was being sold with all proceeds going to charity! I did my bit & donated, the cake was gorgeous! Surely cycling is all about the cake stop!

After 20 minutes relaxing I decided I needed to continue my journey towards the dreaded Box Hill, I believed this was the hardest of the climbs but in reality I didn’t find it difficult at all, it was easier then Leith Hill, less cyclists & lovely views as you reached the top. I recall a large KOM sign at the top & I smiled to myself thinking ‘well you’ll never be that.’

My next memory of the ride is heading back into London, cycling along the streets, again lined with people and me jumping all those red lights. The pain in my neck and shoulders was starting to grow – but I didn’t want to stop again as my Garmin told me I had just 20 miles to go.

The roads were relatively quiet considering this event had over 25,000 cyclists on the same route, maybe, just maybe they were still all behind me! Cycling down the Mall was an amazing experience, so many people it was surreal. I crossed the finish line in 7:09:19 overall time, cycling time 6:06:33.

As a first Sportive it was just perfect. Thanks to you all for your company over the weekend & especially to Darren for arranging our attendance at his event. How about next year folks?

London100 – The Dream Team

London100 – The Dream Team

I had taken part in the London 100 the previous 2 years, in fact it was getting a place on the first one that started me cycling. My target time the first year was 7 hours, this time I knew it was going to be 5 hours considering the calibre of people I was riding with. I must admit when Darren put on Facebook who was in team B (Ant, Dan &Vic) a little bit of poo appeared in my pants. Nothing ventured nothing gained I thought and was really looking forward to it as the London 100 will always be special for the reason above and of course it led me too join VC Melyd and to be part of a Melyd Team was great.

We got our start time, EIGHT EIGHTEEN, which was a little later than expected and there was a little disquiet in the camp but in the end we decided to stick to the designated start time and no more was said ha ha. 25,000 riders and we started bang on our time, as I had previous years which amazes me. The organisation was phenomenal and to think that the streets of London were closed for cyclists is mind blowing, this country can get its priorities right sometimes.

We got off to a flying start, flying past riders like they were standing still, this is unusual for me and I was buzzing, this was a bonus to starting late, but that was a matter of opinion and I always try to look on the bright side, very similar to Dan’s outlook . We went through the tunnels at speed near the start (not sure what there called), it would be rude not to make noises for the echo like you did as a kid, so thought I would do one of my famous animal impression that’s usually done to annoy Mat Acton, but Dan was on the front and I realised I was breathing through my [ ‘eyes’ ] and had no spare breath, Ant thought I was doing a bad train impression, oh well.

The first 40 miles went in a flash and we had averaged 22 mph, from previous experience I knew we were on target to average 20 mph and do the 5 hours I could only have dreamed of a couple of years earlier, this made me happy. 50 miles had gone and was still feeling good, we stopped for a toilet break at a feed station, big mistake, this was too delay us by 15 mins and I managed to lose the others, things were starting to go wrong. I continued on my own but with out the same enthusiasm. Shortly after I came to Leith Hill. Things were about to get worse, I wont dwell on that experience but I hope the fact he was doing something he loved and was surrounded by like minded people will give his family some comfort, but I doubt it, RIP Mr Green.

During the wait on Leith Hill my legs had started to fill with lactic acid and they just didn’t feel the same again. 75 miles in I heard DESTROY THEM, it was Dan, it turned out they had the same experience on Leith Hill and we had only missed each other by minutes. Dan my legs are [ ‘not feeling ideal at this juncture’ ], don’t wait for me, go on ahead I said, but he was having none of it, he dropped back and brought the others to me. All had more in their legs than me, but wouldn’t go on ahead.

Dan Ant & Vic dragged me to the finish, still going at an average pace of 20 mph but they could have gone faster. We all crossed the line together, some in more pain than others.

What a ride, what a club, what a team, proud

London100 – The Fast.

London100 – The Fast.

I’ve ridden Ride100 for the past two years and was pleased when Darren asked me if I wanted to be part of a VC Melyd team with the aim of being one of the first back. I’ve had a successful season so far, achieving my goals of attaining 2nd Cat and winning a race (even if it was by default due to a nasty accident involving a horse, that’s another story) but I took a month off training in June. I’ve got a very understanding family who put up with my cycling obsession and part of this break involved two weeks in Italy with no bike. The pizza, gelato and beer proved too tempting so come mid July I was considerably heavier and slower, I thought it best not to mention this to the team given Alan and Darren were riding 200 miles a week each and were looking very lean. Jason’s regular Facebook updates of a pint with the caption ‘it would be rude not to’ was a sort of consolation. Anyway, an intensive turbo and early morning ride schedule got my fitness back to an acceptable level and I was ready to go.

I registered at the Excel centre, stocking up on energy bars, on Friday evening then watched the racing on the Mall on Saturday (well done again to Alan’s junior riders) to soak up the atmosphere of a weekend dedicated to cycling. One of the big successes of the 2012 Olympic legacy. Based on the popularity of Ride100 it would be great to see it expanded to other cities. The time flew by and it wasn’t long before the team met up in the 6am pen, quite a contrast to the year before where I understand it was only at the last minute the event was shortened rather than being cancelled completely due to hurricane Bertha. Jason had an unusual preparation for riding 100 miles by sleeping in his van next to the start line and left it to the last minute to put on a borrowed Melyd jersey. A quick photo was taken so he couldn’t deny this happened and we were off. I have ridden with a few of the riders in the front group so had an idea the pace would be high from the start but there were also a lot of riders I suspect hadn’t got a lot of group riding experience so it was all very twitchy.

My plan was to –

  1. keep in the VC Melyd team towards the front
  2. not do too much work
  3. not get dropped on the hills
  4. if all that worked out then finish in the front bunch

The past couple of years the route took a straight line from East London out to Putney but due to the construction of the cycle super highway along the Embankment it was routed through the City, more landmarks to see but a lot more obstacles to negotiate. At this stage I was probably about 20th wheel and was having to give a hard effort out of each corner to keep up, it must have been much worse further back. The start was stressful and I was looking forward to getting into the countryside and things calming down. Alan summed it up best saying it was like riding in a 2 hour crit race! We all know it wasn’t a race so I apologies if the next bit comes across like that.

Past Richmond Park the team was down to three, Jason got caught up in one of the many crashes and wasn’t able to get back on, by this stage it was more a case of holding position in the bunch rather than riding as a team. Saying that there was a point when Alan, Darren and myself were working on the front pulling the bunch along at 40kpm that would have made a great photo, where is Anthony when you need him. Soon we hit the first leg stretcher, Newlands Corner, which thinned the group out a bit. I took part in a cycling event in Sardinia earlier in the year and found the climbing there a challenge, I’m not built to mix it with 60kg riders on 10km climbs but the Ride100 course is more about power and the first ramp proved I was able to hold my own, this gave me a bit more confidence of achieving goal 3.

We pressed on and were soon at Leith Hill, the hardest climb of the course. I don’t know the roads around Surrey very well but could feel the speed and tension rising as riders tried to move forward in preparation. I was in good position, probably top ten, and as the road started to rise had to work hard to stay there. After a big effort I then saw the sign for the start of the KOM, I was hoping we were near the top! For the number geeks it was well over 400w for the first minute and over 5w/kg for the 6 minute climb. As far as I can gather the group split in two at this point and a fast decent stopped it reforming. We pressed on through the sunshine at a good pace and were soon at Box Hill, things got interesting here as two riders managed to get a gap. I started off in a good position but slipped back a bit and then managed to find a good rhythm (and wheel) to follow. Down the other side and there was no sign of the two or the lead motorbikes so they must have got a decent sized gap.

There wasn’t much time to chat but I did hear about an interesting exchange when a rider asked a friend if they could have a word with the peloton and get everyone to stop for a toilet break! I’m not sure why they couldn’t ask themselves.

We pushed on in a group of about 40, I had recovered after the Box Hill effort and was finding the pace manageable, to the point of having a go off the front, this didn’t last long but strung the group out a bit. Although the speed was high and there were times when a paceline got going, in general no one was prepared to commit to bringing back the break. There were a few attacks coming in to London and Wimbledon Hill, a pimple by North Wales standards, caused a bit of suffering given the pace but nothing got away. It came down to a bunch sprint, not ideal for me but I was in a great position round the last corner. Coming along the Mall I managed to get overtaken, do some overtaking and finish 18th in the bunch, 20th overall. I know this as I was sad enough to watch the BBC highlights in slow-mo counting the riders in.

Alan and Darren finished shortly after while Jason had the worst luck with another couple of crashes and an injured knee. The big difference to last year was rather than shivering making my way straight home I went for a pint in the sunshine. The perfect end to any ride.

Official time 4hrs 1min 57secs (a good 30 minutes faster than 2013)

Strava link – https://www.strava.com/activities/359270093

Fred Whitton Challenge 2015

Fred Whitton Challenge 2015

VC Melyd had no less than 17 entries for the Fred Whitton Challenge 2015. As they are offered up I will be posting them here for you to read through. A tough event, less than ideal conditions from rain to strong wind, and all the usual Lakeland highland passes over 112 miles and 13 000ft. Times falling between seven and twelve hours it was a rough, but emotional day for all.

Here we have reports from:

Si Jones

Sue Brierly-Hobson

Anthony Hogbin

– —oOo— –

Si Jones

Saturday arrived, the much anticipated ride was but a day away. I loaded my van with all that was required and set off to collect my two friends and fellow riders. all was loaded and off we set, full of joviality and talk of how we would attack the FWC. We arrived at the hostel mid afternoon and sought our place of rest for the night, met up with fellow club members and then headed off to sign in then later for a meal together. Much banter was had about gearing, strategy and of course the usual mickey taking. Once fed and watered off we went for a final drink or two and then to bed.

We woke/stirred about 5 a.m, some of us slept, many of us did not. To my amazement there were people already leaving as we got up to prepare for the day, we showered, dressed, ate and then off we went. The queue of people arriving was long, the weather wet and faces of the passing riders so very miserable. We looked at each other and began to wonder just what had we let ourselves in for. Needless to say this would not put us off, we parked double checked all we has was what we needed and headed off for the start/finish line. Pockets packed with food stuffs of all types, bottles filled tot he brim with all sorts of magic concoctions to see us through the day…….I was beginning to get a little apprehensive, it was going to be a big day and already it was wet. I was under dressed for the weather as it was and the forecast was horrendously wrong as it was, what could we expect later on. It was too late now, over the line we went, a small group of us riding together and keeping one another company through the day. We clocked some miles, my mood got better and it seemed like maybe I was going to be okay, maybe my clothing was suitable after all. The rain stopped, the temperature rose. We got to the first noticeable climb, it’s name escapes me, names really aren’t my strong point but we rode it and it was fine, I was warm, slightly wet but warm, it was good. We stopped at the top for a quick top up of energy foods and to wait, eating is so very important, this I had drummed into myself before the outset. We re grouped and off we set down the very steep descent, a marshal shouts “steady, there’s been an accident half way down!” This made me nervous, I am already not good on descents on wet or damp roads, they make me nervous! I tentatively descended behind my fellow riders, riding within my comfort zone, I didn’t care if they were quicker I could always catch them up if need be but it was okay, there was no need for catchup. I was glad that was over……but I knew there would be more.
We rode some more flats and some more bumps, there were riders over taking but that didn’t bother me, I didn’t know the route and would rather be slower and finish than blow before then end. The pace was okay with the odd sprint here and there on the flat and the slog up so many climbs, I was enjoying myself, the weather was holding and the day was going to plan. Then came some more long climbs, steep thigh burning long climbs. We took those in our stride, we were used to those, we live in Wales, it’s just like our back yard. This continues for a few more hours, then the wind begins to pick up, the rain begins to fall heavier, there isn’t a single part of my body that isn’t cold and wet. We stop for a short break, then another of our group randomly appears, I don’t know why I was surprised, he does it all the time. We whine about the hideous weather and then continue on together. We hit another thigh burner, not so much that it makes you want to cry but people are already beginning to walk them, this isn’t a good sign when this is literally half way I think to myself. Up we go, climbing and climbing in the pouring rain, again at the top we are warned about the descent being steep and so very precarious, there are straw bales on the outside of a corner, I feel nervous, I’m on carbon rims, I think to myself please don’t melt as I’m almost constantly on the brakes all the way down. I get to the bottom and all is good, I’m there, we are there and everyone is alive and unbroken. We ride off into the now strong wind, the type of wind that makes wish it would just go away,not strong enough to slow you right down but enough to put unwanted extra pressure on your thighs and sap your energy some more. We trundle on chatting, taking in the utterly breath taking scenery and generally in good spirits despite the weathers best efforts to ruin it, then comes another long hard climb. I ride it at my pace, I loose all recollection of where any of my friends are I just ride, at my pace, in my little world, I see a tent at the top or so very near the top at least and there are many people. I approach and hear the phrase of the day “good effort lad” and someone hands me a kinder bar, within seconds it has gone, then a blue ribband and again it has gone within seconds. I was hungry, so very very hungry, I had run out of food, I was beginning to feel it’s effect and knew I needed a food stop and to get warm. I was aware of what was to come……98 miles in it was there, that one everyone talked about, the one people say the pro’s were walking, HARDKNOTT pass it was known as, the slayer of fatigued riders. I had no intention of walking anything, I’m too stubborn but I was beginning to wonder if I would be anohter one of its victims. We found the next feed station, it had heaters, the feeling was like I had been rescued from a desert island, oh and it had coffee too, it was incredible, a real mood lifter. We met up with more grouo members, chatted, warmed ourselves and then we all set off together for THAT HILL.
We rode for a few miles, the weather had broken by this point, it was warmer, less windy and above all not raining. Then it came into sight, I had that feeling in my gut, I knew it was going to hurt. We approached and already people were saying they were walking it. I had no such intention, it wouldn’t beat me, no way. There were two of us riding, myself and a team mate, we rode, we encouraged each other, everyone else was walking, people in the way, I was swerving to avoid but I carried on, we pushed each other, we were determined. I could see the top, I could no longer hear my team mate, briefly I thought I hope he makes it, but then my thoughts go back to me, where I am and how I’m doing. I make it to the top, mashing at the peddles and then there is that feeling, emotional, that feeling like you’ve done something you never thought you really would. I feel truly emotional as I sit back down in my saddle and take it in. I conquered Hardknott when so so many couldn’t. I did it, for me, for my own sense of achievement I did it, and then my team mate comes over the top, still on his bike, still peddling. I almost well up, it truly was an emotional experience for me, we had pushed one another, we had dug so very deep in the reserves and we had done it! It’s one of those hills, the ones you see people doing and you think wow that really must hurt…..it’s true what you think, they really do hurt, they burn deep within your legs, your arms, they ache like you have been swinging an axe for hours on end as you literally heave yourself up them. You tell yourself not far now, you think of the crest of the hill, you see it, you again tell yourself it’s not far just 50, 40, 30, 20 more yards and I’m there. You can no longer feel the pain in your legs, you’ve switched off from it, you’ve taken yourself to that place in your head where all that matters is the next peddle stroke. On a short ride I’m sure it would be much much easier but we were doing on the Fred Whitton, it was along way in and a lot of elevation had already been gained. That was it though, it was done, the hardest climb of the day had been conquered. My team mate and I descended the other side, it too was incredibly steep. We rode off, one more pass to do and we could relax. The last one was tough, not for very long but the last couple hundred feet, the legs felt empty, not completely but enough that they whine as soon as it kicks up a  little. I zig zag near the top as the pain kicks in, lessen the angle, take some pressure off my broken muscles. We hit the summit and off we go, again down a slightly scary descent but it was almost flat from here, nearly home. You feel a weight lifted as you do it, as you know it’s almost done. The ride so many say is horrendous, is the toughest you will ever do is nearly over. We get to some flat ground and I turn and say to my team mate shall we put the hammer down, he laughs and then off we go. I lead out, from nowhere I have found some energy, where does it come from, how can we always put some speed on at the end of such a gruelling ride. We switch half way thiugh and he takes some pressure off me, then again I am back on point. We over take absolutely everyone we come to, single riders, groups, all of them fair game, not one person managed to keep up or over take us. I still don’t know how we did it but we did. The finish line ws in sight, I hit the roundabout as fast as my legs could push me and there was a welcome sight, another team mate who couldn’t unfortunately do the ride due to injury, I smile, wave and then keep pushing to the line. I was done, I was so very very happy, I had ridden the Fred Whitton Challenge.

– —oOo— –

Sue Brierly-Hobson

So, 10 days before the event, I was chatting with a pal about our respective cycling challenges, and theorising ‘what next’ for 2016; he thought the Fred Whitton Challenge was ‘The One’ for next year. “Maybe” I thought, recalling the recent VCM Facebook posts about 30% hill climbs as the blood ran chilled through my veins…… Fast forward a mere 8 hours, and I receive a message from my VCM buddy Simon telling me there’s a few spaces available on ‘Fred’ THIS YEAR. He reminds me I’ve been doing the training anyway so why don’t I enter? I’d be very welcome to travel with the VCM team. Oh. And I have to sign up by tomorrow.

With just 2 years cycling experience, but a few endurance events under my belt, I feel that my cycling skills are developing. I’m working hard to improve further and enjoy the challenge. But now we’re talking about me going with the VCM-Supreme-Cycling-Beings to do the toughest cycling event in the UK. Oh – and did I mention it’s the TOUGHEST CYCLING EVENT IN THE UK?

Clearly I said yes. I’m nothing if not determined. With a pinch of deluded.

I share the journey to the event with Anthony and Simon. Anthony and I bemoan the pending hills; Simon tells us it’s going to be fine. I meet the remaining VCM members over drinks and dinner that evening. The conversation turns to the best cassettes to use, wheel weight and rim depth…..those hills……and the weather. Fred appears to have a knack of taking place in rather inclement conditions. We all have different weather apps which forecast different elements – we avidly compare and hope for the best. The ladies and I retire to our hostel room where I enjoy an enviable 2 hours of anxiety-induced teeth-grinding sleep. Fran and I are first up at 4.45am – and hey, the weather looks calm!

The ride over to the event does nothing to still our nerves as the queue to park hardly shifts. Our hopeful 6.30am start drifts further away; I am substantially slower than my comrades, and if I’m to make the first cut-off, I need to get peddling ASAP. Anyway, finally we start peddling at 7.19am, into the increasingly wet kind of rain infamously characterised by Peter Kay. I enjoy the first few miles with Simon, Anthony and Sally, rambling up a couple of hills and taking a few snaps together before the boys head off with their super speedy legs!

Sally and I continue on for about 20 more miles together; in a very short time I learn so much from her that will help me en route. Sally is a FWC veteran; having completed the event last year in just 8:50 she is a heroine in my eyes! Unfortunately, she had a nasty accident 3 weeks before the event this year and her resulting injuries mean she can’t complete the full ride; she just wanted to start with us all and I’m so glad she did. We part company after about 35 miles: she heads back to Grasmere and I make my way to Honister Pass as she tells me I’m on track to make the cut-off, I just have to keep this up…….

The ride to Honister is fun. Lots of positive encouragement received from fellow cyclists as they fly past me, and I fly past, well, mostly stationary things. Honister is the first ‘big’ climb comprising some of those nasty gradients. I peddle as hard and as far as I can, determined to pass the 3 burly chaps who are walking their bikes up. And I do! But then I stop because my lungs are bulging inside my throat and I think it’s best to just hang over the handle bars for a few moments while I swallow them back down. One of the guys says: “ah once you’re off you’re screwed”. Humph. You’re talking to Determined and Deluded here Mister! First, I don’t have cleats, and second, I have Sally in my head telling me if I can find a flat spot for my back wheel I might get traction. It works! Back wheel flat, bike at a 45 degree angle to the road ahead, peddle across the road, snake forward – and I’m OFF! See ya boys!!

I complete Honister in 3 sections, rather pleased with myself, but becoming increasingly concerned I might miss this cut off. Foot down, speed up and I actually pass a few cyclists!! I arrive at the 12:00 cut-off at 12:01, where the Cut-Off Police tell 8 lads and me that: “the road ahead is twice as difficult as anything you’ve done yet”; he’ll only let us go if we guarantee we can manage it. We have 3.5 hours to do 25 miles before the next cut-off. Determined and Deluded says: “come on chaps, what are we waiting for?” I realise it’s me talking as I lead the way forward. For a minute. And then they all pass me. Ah well! Having made the cut off I can take a moment to enjoy the ride. The weather is grey and damp, but not too bad; the landscape is beautiful, and I have 3.5 hours to travel the distance I would usually complete in less than 2: all is well with the world.

And then the wind came.

I have completed some unpleasant weather events, and I consider myself a tough little tyke-on-a-bike, but I can honestly say I spent most of these 25 miles thinking I really might not complete. The hills over this section were very manageable, but the wind was just relentless, battering and howling; tearing at my bike and my soul. Urgh. I maintained focus by counting small milestones: if I get to 70 miles then it’s just 42 to go; if I get to 73 then it’s just 10 to the cut-off, and if I…….

I arrived at the pre cut-off feed station with just minutes to spare. The Marshalls somehow ushered me in towards a cup of tea and slice of malt loaf, while another filled my water bottle. I suspect that Determined and Deluded was mostly just Dotty by now, as I mumbled: “the cut-off, the cut off” into my brew. Within a minute another Marshall was negotiating me kindly back to my bike saying: “you need to go now or you’ll miss the cut-off”…… and as I wiped the last malty crumb from my lips my feet were peddling yet again, back into the still fierce wind. It took me exactly 3.5 hours to do 25 miles, with no time to spare. Urgh.

But once I knew I’d made that cut-off, the doubt fell from me in waves – I knew I would finish the event now. Determined and Deluded was back!

Hardknott Pass is just silly: lots of 30% uphill gradients and nonsense hairpin bends to play with your mind. By now, there was a few fellow Fredians walking up ahead of me, and it was encouraging to know I wasn’t absolutely alone. I knew that Hardknott was the ‘One to Conquer’ and I was going to peddle up this thing if it killed me. So I used my wee snaking technique to peddle up in about 8 sections, managing to cycle up all bar one final hairpin. I honestly enjoyed every single minute of this. I no way had the skill or strength to do this all in one go like many of my awesome VCM comrades, but I dug in and peddled what I could. Just an amazing feeling! While peddling up I passed red-jacket woman. This meant I wasn’t last and added to the fun! But on the scary descent, during which I hung on to my brakes for dear life, travelling at a pace that would shame a snail (even walking a couple of short sections), she passed me again. Humph.

Then it was Wrynose Pass next, the final big climb of the day at around 100 miles in. I’d mentally built this climb up to be a monster; I didn’t realise I was actually ‘doing it’, while waiting for the hard bit. I passed red-jacket woman, (woooohooooo!) and peddled all the way up with just one short break. I couldn’t believe it when I reached the top and the Marshalls told me that was ‘it’! And then the Red-Clad Nemesis passed me going down again. Humph.

And then it was just about 10 miles to go! Red-Clad Nemesis was nowhere in sight but by now I was determined to beat her. At mile 102 I found myself wishing for climbs so I could pass her. Determined and Deluded was clearly possessed by Delirious and Demented at this stage, but sure enough, the hills came, I spotted her in my sights, I peddled on up and past with a (probably not very sporting) glint of success in my eye – bye bye Red!!

The remaining miles were just the most amazing ever. Yes I was tired, but I KNEW I was going to conquer. WHAT A FEELING! I turned in to the finish line with a total time of 11:49 and with the biggest smile on my face. I was so happy to see Fran, Sally, Anthony and Simon waiting for me. I babbled incoherent nonsense to all of them and insisting on hugging them all. Lots.

The whole experience was just fantastic, and I’m so glad I was offered the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and embrace a new challenge in these beautiful English hills. Here’s to the next adventure!

– —oOo— –

Anthony Hogbin

For me the mere mention of The Fred Whitton Challenge was an uncomfortable moment. It conjured up the cawing and flapping of startled crows, and the distant tolling of ancient bells indicating the onset of the end-of-days… on an overcast and foreboding day… in the rain… while lost. It was generally something I didn’t want to get any of on me.

So – imagine my surprise when 2015 is my year for actually making the ballot. So – I was in.

112 miles and 13000ft of ascent, taking in a route involving all of the highland passes in the Lake Lands.

Six daddy ‘named’ ascents, three boasting gradients over 25%.

As you can imagine “I do not like hills” was ‘overjoyed’ with the news of a place. It is – within reason – for me, perfectly safe to enter ballots knowing full well you never get a place. That kind of luck has to run out at some point it would seem.

A century or so in my legs this year, one of which at around 10k/ft mark and leaving me spent and with cramps.  I was about as ready as I was going to be by the time Saturday came around. There we were – sat post dinner, (another) ale in my hand, trying to make some kind of sense of the wildly differing weather forecasts we had access to. 17C breezy, and dry – or 8C wet all day, little wind.

For those who do not ride – what this boils down to a wardrobe disaster waiting to happen – something regretfully always seems to catch me out. As someone who generates a lot of heat – being stuck in too many layers is my nemesis.

The decision in the room was if we woke to torrential rain – and we don’t start. It’s not worth the risk or the torture. Experience says that once you are soaked through, miserable, slipped a few times, and losing sensation in your extremities – you would happily part with whatever the entry fee was to not be there. So this was a calculated risk – and one we were mostly all agreed on.

After a sleepless night – 5am arrived. It has been a very long time indeed since I last slept in a bunk. Four growed-up’s  full of food, beer, and foreboding cat napped their way through the night, and with all the precision of freshly woken hibernating bears, grunted and shuffled their way through the 5am alarm and systematically like a production line through the single shower. This was an unrehearsed and non communicative ballet that was a miracle to behold.

Moments later it came to putting food and coffee into their faces surrounded by familiar faces, and half clad fellow cyclists. A curious feeling of being above brethren in a monastic kind of way – to the left of me, to the right of me – coffee, porridge, eggs, toast, clad in layers of armour for the day ahead.

Blue clear skies swept away in the space of a bowl of porridge disappearing. Replaced with a view of a wet world outside the kitchen window. Look at what you could have won. Not put off we pulled together our things and made for the door.

Bags. Cars/Vans. Doors shut. Engines. Road. Queues. Windscreen wipers. Grumpy looking groups of riders heading the opposite way, tyres hissing through surface water.

Shoes on, bikes out, pockets stuffed, spot fellow-club-members-in-huge-grass-car-park, decide you need to brave the toilet after-all, and assemble for the start gate.

Light rain was the order for the day. Wet roads. Group of four. Sally is in for a quick 50 – only doing the first climb and back (broken thumb and pelvis and all), the rest are in for the long run.

The first real hill is Kirkstone at 454m it is the highest point of the day. It is an ascent that you can feel in your legs – but it is all still talking and smiles – not the standing, stomach compressed, having deep and encouraging conversation with your soul type. Re-grouping at the top, the marshals make with some serious and repeated warnings. Sure – you think they are just saying brakes, keep speed right down, slow, slippy – “I bet they always say that” meets “how hard can it be“. But you have equally seen the ambulances going by while you were making your way up. Hmmm.

Introduction to the hills of the lakes 101. Brakes. All of the brakes. Letting off for bumps or mud on road then hard back on. In the wet. They meant every word.

You find yourself wondering “can I ease off yet” – eventually I see straight ahead and ease off, and the pace is good.

Reminding myself of the mantra ‘start slow, stay slow’ – bigger gears, but BPM low.

The day becomes more of a blur. Rain starts, rain stops, moments of sunshine, more rain. There is a LOT of climbing, but it is not the hill reps from hell I had been imagining it would be. My group of two saw Si and I make good progress. Onto roads I recognize, into Keswick and out again. As fate would have it – we stop for comfort brake – and so-unlike-mat-to-be-playing-catch-up – but Mat rides by. Happy familiar faces, rain. We are now three. Bikes – onwards.

The weather is there, you are wet but comfortable its reached a kind of point where you are not noticing or not caring or something. We round a bend and suddenly the road is taking no prisoners and it is kicking up shows no sign of letting off. Cars (a statistically unlikely proportion of Mercedes with elderly drivers), mostly pulling over to let each other pass. Riders are trying to stay on. A few early walkers – but weaving between cars and walking riders was a dream. People teetering, and people trying to zig zag up the foot of the climb. #winning. Still – there was a nice stream down to our left, and I got to push a few others back into riding. Levelling off for a bit I am back on and in the game again just in time to see the road meandering up proper. This is another steep climb but not mental. No breathing-through-eyes required.

Honister pass is now in the bag. Mix of marshals and mountain rescue this time. They are even more keen about brakes – and I have learned my lesson – there will be no seeing how it goes. Stopped to regroup with Matt and Si, and down the other side… backside off the back of the saddle – tarmac rippled from cavitation (the tarmac will not stay flat on gradients like that – it forms waves as it collects in steps…. wet steps… of varying traction. Nice.

The view was stunning. Hugely life affirming feeling of staying alive as best you can as whizzing down the descent with a heady and saturated world of colours – grass, rocks, water, gravel, hills, speed. There were ZERO pictures as both arms were fully busy with staying on the bike and keeping the speed down. Amazing. The kind of moments you see in your dreams.

To Buttermere – and the first food stop is upon us at around 50 miles. Almost a surprise in many ways. Here, now?

Still buzzing from the slow-brakes-full-on-descent we pull into the food stop. Maltloaf, ham, cheese,and jam sandwiches (not all together – a choice), and water. One of each, and empty 750ml bottles refilled and duly electrolyted. Nom nom nom – chat, glance at map… followed by the vocal slap in the face of

“you have 10 miles to cover to the cut off point – and you have 50 minutes – there is a timed pass between here and there”.

*rabbit in headlamps*

Chewing continues now at a more rapid rate, and we make haste to our bikes like so many WWII Spitfire pilots to their steeds. Out of the car park and right – then before us the ascent. Pretty much all visible. Who builds roads like this? How is this fair? Why do I now have two FULL water bottles and a belly full of food? Not my finest planning moment.

We climb again into the mist, height gain is regular, linear, walkers (with bikes) come and go – and to be fair are not going a great deal slower than we are. I was starting to holding back the group. I told Si and Mat to make haste, and I would make my own way. I watched as they got progressively smaller, and then, eventually disappeared from view. On my own now – riding style changes accordingly.

The descent however – this was different – a little steep to start with then open views of corners – less brakes for this one , more rocket sled.

I was now passing people who passed me on the way up. Two people tagged along for the ride in my substantial draft – I was up for that – these were good times. Little in – lots out. Skull and crossbones sign shot into view, and a switch back lost us about two stories of height in two bends…. and back on the pace. Into Braithwaite and through the cut off with 20 mins to spare. Left out of the village, and up again.

Up up up. Nothing epic – just bucketfuls of the stuff. Forestry sided the roads, so many people out. Passing and being passed now. Drivers waiting for traffic, windows down shouting encouragement, cow bells by the side of the road, so many people, then tents, car parks, mountain-bikers at the side of the road cheering us on. This was something special. This was different to other rides. Who where all these people – how long had they been standing there in the rain. Children, pensioners, cow bells, and  shouting out support… it all felt very personal… one of two thousand – it was personal for all of us. Amazing.

The rain is backing off but the wind is building. It had been behind me, and moving around as we make our way around the circuit.

Making progress on my own now, rolling scenery, and moving from group to group – on my own – no club mates in site, just plodding on – keeping it steady… then who should I see just stopping at the side of the road, Mat and Si again. Great success!

The wind is now not a funny thing. Drafting people as best you can as you make a slow motion ascent into wind. Crosswinds buffeting me constantly – whipping in through gates and fence lines. Lighter weight Mat is complaining the most. In fact he is complaining a lot. Si and I of the same weight and height, and say nothing, just a glance at the deep section wheels / sails we are sporting. Nice. The descent is upon us and there is a lot of steering going on that we are not necessarily sanctioning. But strength in a group is a happy place.

The next climb kicks off big style. I can hear up ahead the noise of cow bells and clown-car-horns – the type you would hear in the Tour de France. Smiles. People are on both sides of the road, they are holding out things like chocolate and shortbread… but shouting there is a feed station up ahead.

Foolishly I read this as “up ahead” and also thought this was likely to be the brow of the hill. No, such, luck. The climb wound up. I caught Mat again – he was not in a happy place… commensurate with me catching a racing snake, uphill, into wind. He muttered something about ‘Elephants on his back’ and I moved on. I caught a group of riders who were huddled together – a proper moving echelon of people desperate to eek out an existence on this hillside that was as wind free as possible. Fluid is not a word I would use, but we chopped and changed and rode down hill into the wind together, people jumping into the group as we passed. It was as good as it was ever going to get up here – this was not fun. We were having to work now while descending.  What looked like an industrial area, maybe a dock, or an airfield was ahead of us… it was one hell of a blot on what thus far had been a landscape effected only by the odd quarry or town…. as I got closer I realised it was Sellafield… that would do it!

Calder Bridge – food stop. Car park, tables outside a hall. An awful lot of bikes, but not so many people. I filled my bottles and could hear the din from inside the hall, and people coming out with what… surely not… could it be true? Hot beverages in flimsy plastic cups of joy?!

In we went. Heaven. Immediately lit up by heating lamps, we wandered in the out door, and around the building to the in door to join the queue. Banana sandwiches – oh yes. I am not a fan of generic non proved bread, and bananas – they do not agree with me. At all. However to find these together, in a holdable form in the queue for sugary tea (again which I do not drink) 90 miles into a wet and hilly ride was many banana smelling slices of heaven. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, familiar voices of Donna and Paul who had table space – and chairs! The trick here was clearly going to be getting back out on our bikes again…. after-all… feed stop only 30 miles from the end… why would you… oh…. oh dear – Hardnott and Wrynose lay ahead.

An impromptu round of Jenga unstacking our bikes – we set off. I had clearly hooked by Di2 cable on someone’s quick release and unplugged the cable. First I knew of this was climbing out of the village. O kept hitting the lever to shift up the cassette but feeling no discernible difference. Looking back I see the cable and socket dancing perilously between chain and teeth – about to meet its maker. Stop, plug in, pray, merciful gods, gear-go-up-gear-go-down, and continue. Phew. Team of five now – we are in good shape and good spirits, even Mat has clearly lost his Elephants, and the sun is out – great success.

We are chatting, its all very pretty, all is good, not a care in the world and a mere 90 miles or so in our legs. Happy days.

Then it starts.

It seems fairly innocuous enough – there you are on the valley floor, with two hills overlapping ahead. It starts to head up – curving – switching back on itself gaining height very very quickly indeed. Then again. Before reaching the top.

No Bwlch Penbaras is our local hill-with-a-comedy-corner – each of these switchbacks was more than a match for that one left hander. This was no laughing matter. Those ‘rambling’ by this point had a hard enough job pushing their bikes up this – the pain in the shins and calves was remarkable – this was a real climb with real moments of 30%. Walkers being cursed at – as those still on their bikes by this point really were not going very much faster at all, hard to pick out over your shoulder, not least of all since their routes were defined by their need to balance. Top dead centre was like a black hole where riders got sucked into walking… with the odd faller here and there. It was late in the day – and while some would say they ‘failed’ – I say they saw sense… for those who where hesitating – for those who were still feeling okay – it was okay to not risk it.

Riding between crazy steep parts was a blessing – feeling so much easier than walking up those gradients. Walking was no soft option. The burning was quick to go, and the smoothness of pedalling over stabbing cleats down onto a wet tarmac slope was an easy choice.

A car on the switch back stinking of clutch and tyre smoke was stuck. Wet tarmac, in uneven step like waves, and lack of momentum – it was essentially beached. The stench and the noise of spinning tyres, as vehicles gathered in front and behind it. Rather be us than them right then. Every time.

The downhill was INSANE.

By this point in the day – my dislike of descending on the drops had been discarded as a pointless thing – and if I wanted to not end off hugging a rock or down a ravine – then I needed to pull those levers from the drops…. backside hung well off the back of the saddle, road thankfully drier now, although the unwelcome waves of the cavitation causing my front wheel to shud-d-der. The road snaked left and right dropping away – the most picturesque of stone bridges and colours, oh the colours, OH THE NEED NOT TO ENGAGE INTIMATELY WITH THE SCENERY!

I pulled up on some gravel on the almost level alongside Paul, my hands were cooked from pulling on the levers, and reached for my camera. It was beautiful. The hardest part was now done, the journey had made just being there all the better. The camera fails to capture the elation of just being here, right now.

Rolling on, and switching left and right before a section that felt actually concave in descent before marshals and a house…. it would appear the Hardknott Pass ends in someone’s front garden – then left and “next!”. Just the Wrynose now… everything I had read suggested it was equally wonderful – just less of it – having failed to drop down again.

Progress across the picturesque valley between passes was alongside a gorgeous river. Hills of greens and browns, and water of grey gleaming rocks.

Ah. Okay. Slapped back into reality as I make out the meandering road with coloured dots on it ahead. Last monster to slay – and here I was with Paul and Donna. Pushing now a little further up, holding onto the bike, a slip, a ramble, back on, a bit more riding, another ramble – back on and over as the cutting rose towards the sky. Just as we round the corner to the top Donna points out the 10 miles to the finish sign lent up against a boulder.

I maintain this was a lie. A cruel and unfair lie. That or a mirage – as it would appear we were the only ones to have seen it.

Over the top, and now watching the brakeless mad lass disappear away from me a lot more confident in her brakes and tyres than I was (not to mention physics and ability to stop and steer while dropping-from-a-plane over undulating tarmac through bends).

Catching up once it levelled out we hauled each other along – a marshal shouts out 7 miles to go. Leading out a stream of riders from Team XIII, and back to the lake. The lake we headed out alongside, it arcs into view on our right – somehow feeling like it should be on our left (not a circle – heading back on same road – realise that now). Donna chirps up “it’s the end of this lake”. Drafting as best we can now, slowing up as the ground rises and the long line of riders doesn’t take the front – but goes wide and drops us. How long is this lake?

The roundabout comes into sight, and we ease up – glancing up I recognise Sally and Fran by the roadside taking pictures. Big smiles, big relief. The large inflatable gateway, and marshals directing us onto what I can only describe sheet ice plates with gaps and steps as we head under the timing arch, and into then pen. Off the bikes…. looks of disbeliefs and mild panic as we have no idea where anyone is. Collecting our timing printouts, and fumbling for our phones to catch up with our friends…. we were done.

There is changing in the back of a van, there is fumbled recovery of meal ticket resulting in pie, beans and gravy (genius move) with a cup-o-tea . So many smiley elated faces. This was an emotional thing.

Without a doubt – the first event I have ever finished feeling so elated. So proud. So smiley. We did a thing. We had about six hours of rain. We got around in ten hours. A sense of achievement I had not managed before. This was a good thing.

What a day out.

Oh yeah, and I still don’t like hills 😉

Circle of Hope ride

Circle of Hope ride

The Circle of Hope ride is a local charity event that’s been greatly supported by our local cycling clubs since it started. It offers a great 100 mile route.

There are other route options. It’s on the 3rd of May. VCM and RCC always have a good showing. We could treat it as an “extra” away day for the club, both Sunday ride groups as there is a 50 mile option too.

I’m in. Who else is?” — Darren Wareing

The weather is due to be on the moist side – however the event is for raising funds for North West Cancer Research. Routes are 10, 50 and 100 miles taking in Cheshire and North Wales. The event starts and finishes at Castell Alun High School, Hope.

While the weather is indeed looking moist the entry fee could be looked on as having ‘paid to stay dry’ (something those attending this years Cheshire Cat would appreciate being VERY worth while) and in the process the added warm feeling of having supported a local charity.

For more information and entry – visit the CIRCLE OF HOPE website.

VC Melyd Sunday 26th April 2015 – 106 mile 9500ft climbed

VC Melyd Sunday 26th April 2015 – 106 mile 9500ft climbed

106 miles 9500ft climbing and STRAVA route – this is not a short walk in the park.

As road bike routes in Snowdonia go – this heads out over two highland areas proper, and comes back via some large lumps. Starting and finishing at Saints Gym Meliden and passing through Ruddlan there and back.

Heading out from Prestatyn Through Rhuddlan, Bodelwyddan, Engine Hill then cutting left to follow the river valley before the drop into Llanfair TH.

Climbing up out of there to Llansanan and across to the two lakes before joining the A540 across the moors to Pentrefoelas.

Turning at the Chocolate Shop and ascending over to Ysbty Ifan on the B4407 toward but not going as far as Ffestiniog. Heading back towards Llyn Celyn / Afon Tryweryn and on towards Bala.

Climbing out of Bala to Cerrigydrudion and taking the B5105 out through Llafihangel on towards Ruthin – through and up the Clywd Gate, Cilcain, and then back over Moel Arthur, Llandyrnog, onto the 9 course, and along to Blue Hand before staying on the road back to Trefnant, and back along the waen and the rugby club road.

This is a *very big* day out.

Weather at this point looks to be moist.

A fantastic warm up for those with the Fred Whitton Challenge looming.

Screenshot from 2015-04-22 10:20:11

CB Dwyfor Selfie Challenge (Reliability Ride)

CB Dwyfor Selfie Challenge (Reliability Ride)

CB Dwyfor are organising a reliability trial on the beautiful Llyn Peninsular later this month. Funds raised from the event are being used to support youth cycling within the club. Titled as their ‘Selfie Challenge‘ – It is almost as if this was ‘hand tailored’ to the specific needs of the VC Melyd Away Day. This would be SUNDAY 19th APRIL 2015 for your diary.

If you are interested – let them know – it promises to be a great day out with friends by the number of names we have down as interested already, and supporting a good cause along the way:

80km & 110km Selfie Challenge (Reliability Ride) hosted by CB Dwyfor to raise money to support its youths. £6 entry fee only. No fuss, no marshals, no signage, no expensive entry fee…just you, your bike, a route map and great company on the rolling lanes of the Lleyn Peninsula, North Wales. Register by requesting a registration form to beiciodwyfor@gmail.com. More information here: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/126870/Sialens-Selffi-/-Selfie-Challenge-CB-Dwyfor

Sialens Selffi 80km neu 110km gan Clwb Beicio Dwyfor i godi arian i genfogi ein aelodau iau. £6 i gofrestru. Dim ffys, dim marshals, dim arwyddion a dim chostau cofrestru gwirion…dim ond chi, eich beic, map o’r daith a chwmni gret ar un o’r 2 sialens heriol ar lonydd gwledig Pen Llyn.
Cofrestru drwy yrru cais am ffurflen gofrestru i beiciodwyfor@gmail.com. Mwy o fanylion yma: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/126870/Sialens-Selffi-/-Selfie-Challenge-CB-Dwyfor