This Sunday I was riding the Velothon Wales with lots of other Nova Raiders. The Velothon Wales is an 88.5 mile ride starting in Cardiff city centre and all on closed roads. It heads off past Newport then into the valleys and up two big climbs: The Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain.
I drove down on Saturday morning, checked into my hotel and walked into the city centre to register for the event (no registration on the day so it had to be done in advance).
Registration done, I texted Nic to see where everyone else was and we arranged to meet up at a nearby pub for some drinks. When I arrived quite a few of the Wrekinsports crew were there too so we all sat down to chat. Later they went and some more Raiders arrived.
We had a lovely afternoon catching up before heading back to the hotel for a shower and then dinner (at the Bella Italia by the hotel as everywhere else was booked!).
The next morning was the day of the event and we all met at the hotel and rode down to the start line. We were in Pen D with a start time of 7:29 but needed to be there 30 minutes before this.
When we arrived I’ve never seen to many cyclists in one place. Something like 10000 riders and literally people and bikes everywhere. No chance of riding on my own today!
We set off and decided that Nic, Tracy, Ross and myself would try and keep as a group all the way round. The first section was totally flat and we were setting a very decent pace.
Once towards the northern end of the course, we started The Tumble, which is a big long hill right up the side of Blorenge Mountain and in the Top 100 Climbs book. It certainly lived up to its reputation, with the start being pretty steep and under trees and very HOT. Half way up the road emerged from the trees and onto moorland with a light breeze which was much more comfortable.
The next section seemed to be endless dual carriageways and I could have sworn we went down the same one twice but I bet we did not. Then it was onto the second big climb of the day Caerphilly Mountain.
Then it was onto the second big climb of the day Caerphilly Mountain. This was quite a bit shorter than The Tumble but a fair bit steeper. Crowds were at the side of the road cheering you on all along the route, but especially here and it really helped. I didn’t find the climb too bad and did it all in one go before arriving at the final feed station at the top of the mountain.
After this, it was pretty much all downhill to the finish line in Cardiff. It was amazing arriving back to loud cheers from the crowds and then walking round the collect the lovely event medal. A really good ride.
We all met up at a local pub after the ride for a serious amount of beer, interspersed with a meal at this steak restaurant near the hotel. Then a few more beers for good measure!
The next morning we all met for breakfast at Wetherspoons in Cardiff Bay, feeling a little orry for ourselves after all the festivities of last night.
Then it was a matter of the drive home, which was uneventful.
A fab weekend away with great company, a lot of laughs, lots of cycling, lots of beer. Fab!
Route: click here