Wild Wales Challenge 2012

I have to hand it to the Merseyside CTC they continue to selflessly organise an excellent event that they don’t get to ride.
In the middle of Wild Wales no less.
Probably the toughest ride since the Etape in 2009 I haven’t done myself any favours by putting on 20kg and it shows.

The electronic tag sign in for the second year had about 600 of us on the road in a little over 15 minutes. This had the unforeseen consequence of the biggest queue at a control point I have ever seen with about an hour wait.

It defined the British and queues, orderly with no one pushing in except Zel of The Sunlight. Who I would class as marginal ;>)

2.5 miles in after tagging on to a club doing 9.5mph across the lake shore we were confronted by the climb of the Hirnant.

I’ve been shying away from hills since the Etape  and I’m about to get my come-upance.  That along with the lowest gearing I could muster, it wasn’t enough.

One theme that does shine through is that the more time on the bike the morethe

weight falls off. Expect a big increase in ride miles.

The Hirnant Pass probably defines the dictionary definition of a glacial valley.
Next up a fast descent to Lake Vyrnwy where I should have stopped to take a picture of the dam as it looked spectacular with water spilling over the weir.

One of the features of the ride was it was almost entirely up and down, the only flat section being the ride along the lake.

Some of the views today were stunning.

Possibly the longest queue at a feedstation EVER

Stopped on this climb to recover and take a picture it was earily quiet and far in

the valley below you could see the sheep running around the purple heather.

Another missed photo opportunity were the 3 Model T Fords along the route.
Someone had a support vehicle following them around the ride, all well and good but where’s the challenge? The annoying part was having the same car come past you on narrow climbs 4 or 5 times with me being a soft sod and stopping to let it pass.

There was a stop at Machynlleth for food and drink with riders emptying the shelves of the Co-op of water. The shop manager coming out with a plastic bag to put the empty or not so empty bottles in.

Out of Machynlleth I ended up riding with a chap from Chester Tri  who sticking in big efforts on 39X27.  What doesn’t come through on a post like this is the number of people you interact with. You tend to end up riding with a section of riders of a similar ability. If you are suffering they are suffering.

Dinas Mawddwy stop had no queues and the card reader had packed up so it was a manual checkin with the main event a few miles down the road.

This climb is relentless the easy bits can be 18% with the Sunlight telling me it’s 29% at the top which is where the armco starts.

Nothing worse than looking in the sock draw and finding 1 Assos sock, talking of which had a chap fall off in front of me on the Bylch who was wearing one fluro pink one and fluro yellow/green one and they were long to boot more like legwarmers.

Highest road pass in Wales

Ancient capital capital of Wales no less, you learn something every day. Thinking back there was a chap on a recumbent trike , mountain bikes were more suitable at times or at least the gearing.

Wolverhampton wanders no Wheelers won the team prize with 39 riders turning up.

Great video from Alan of the ride, great site too.


11 thoughts on “Wild Wales Challenge 2012”

  1. Frank,
    Good to see that you made it around. I was registered for the ride but a last minute commitment cropped up and I couldn’t make it. I was looking forward to seeing you again and I really wanted that piece of slate. I think your tale would have been very similar to mine, too little cycling, too unfit and too much regained weight. As you say, it is time for a rededication to our goals and get back in to it. Get back to your daily posting, as a confessional if nothing else!
    Cheers Tony

    1. Hi Tony,
      I did bump into another Arabian Gulf rider thinking it was yourself. Knows who you are works in a different country, such a small world these days.
      I’m on the verge of finally finishing the house and the deal is on my 4 off I’ll be back on the bike. A TourdeFrank2013 is in the offing which will be a signifcant change of lifestyle.
      Lost nearly 2 kg on the ride which would be sustained if I was out more. Had to stop to wipe the salt out of the Oakley lenses, salt stains on the jersey too.
      Good idea about the daily posting, I’ll give it a try there is still plenty to post about if you frequent the Eureka Cafe.

  2. I would like to have seen a graph of your heart rate on your website,
    a long side the profile of this years WWC.
    Perhaps next year Frank.
    Yes, I need more cycle miles also, and I have cut down on eating bread & spuds.
    Pay us a visit soon, you know where we live.
    Barbara & Alan.

    1. Hi Alan, I need to lay off the booze once and for all and get back to doing the miles I used to do. Rather than go into the red I’ll just stop now.

  3. Frank. You owe me 2 gallons of petrol! Where was the heads-up that Vita Cycles had folded on your blog. Dragged the wife all the way up the Wirral to Vita only to find it shuttered-up. Asked the shop next door what was going on, to quote; “we thought that they had all gone away to the Tour de France, only they didn’t return”. I guess it is history. Sad.

  4. Hi Tony, it is sad. went in the morning it ended and Barrys last comment was “end of an era”. Drove past yesterday to find the To Let signs up. There was a chance they could emerge online but seems unlikely.
    I’m not going to be the one to put the final knife into them.

    I ride around in my Vita cycles top with a Sky one over it to avoid getting lynched. No one I know got burnt except maybe a few trade suppliers who frankly did take the piss out of them at times. The shop was a season out of synch at times.
    Lights when it was getting lighter, winter kit when it was the time to push summer kit.
    Phil is doing this RAAM ride with Raf team, probably needs the time to get up to speed. 170 miles a day is a tall order if youve never done 120.
    Worse if you get blown away by customers on test rides, which they both did.
    If you stick a customer on a 3.5k bike with nothing on it they are going to nail it.

    I’ll put a post up now things are settled.


  5. Great video Alan sums up what a great day it was. Liked the shot with the chap on the trike as he must have nailed it on the descents to crawl up the steep bits. Must look into a GoPro for next years Tour De Frank.
    Nice site by the way I’ll give you a link.

    1. Much appreciated Frank! The GoPro is great, especially in bright sunlight. It can struggle a bit in low light.
      I use a K-edge bar mount. Rock solid, so as long as the road surface is half decent, you’ll get a good image. For more stable images use the helmet mount, as long as you don’t mind looking quite conspicuous!
      A lot of downhill mtb’ers use the chest mount but it may not suit a road riding position.
      I’d like to get a seat post mount for some rear facing action. I’m sure it’d make my club mates look spectacular on fast descents.

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