The weather looked promising with 25 degrees and no cloud in the sky so the CycleOps Power Road Sportive from Builth Wells, on a choice of two demanding road courses, was a real challenge for everyone. Over 200 riders left the event with a sun burned neck as well as the typical cyclists' tan lines.
The fastest on the 53-mile standard sportive made it over the line in 2 hours and 48 minutes while the last rider rolled back into the event village after 8 and a half hours.
On the 86-mile route the first rider was back in just under 5 hours while the last enjoyed the beautiful scenery for more than 9.
Here are an insider's comments from one of the riders:
"After a 3 day touring bike ride with some friends across Wales earlier in the year when the weather was not so favourable, I jumped at the chance of riding what I can only describe as some of the best roads in Britain. Smooth, fast, undulating and best of all, a very low car count.
"A sunny day with temperatures of 26 degrees plus and no clouds only made the experience and the vistas of the Tywi & Crychan Forests and the ride around the Llyn Brianne Reservoir even more beautiful than any tourist postcard could ever portray.
"I was glad that I had not taken too much notice of the course profile as I might not have ridden at such a solid and challenging pace. My riding partner was cussing the fact that I had talked him out of not putting a 28 sprocket on the back, but when you're 40k in, you just have to get on with it and stick with the 25s we had.
"Riding with a CycleOps Powertap over the course soon showed that the efforts required to complete the 136km sportive was the single most challenging ride I have yet done. With the two 25% climbs not far from each other - including what I now know to be the famous Devils Staircase - my power readings were the best peak power outputs since using a powermeter.
"This was more evident as we got further into the course and the climbing and undulations kept coming. Total climbing for the day was a staggering 8,597ft (2,620m), which was a real test of endurance.
"However, what goes up must come down and that’s when the real fun was to be had, coming off the Devil's Staircase with the long straights topping out at 74kph. You had to watch out for a small gravel patch at a T junction at the bottom but that just helps you keep your wits about you.
"The signage for the course was excellent and not once was there confusion about which direction to take. The helpers at the feed stations were all brilliant and some of the young lads very keen to take your bottle, fill it and bring it back to you so as to keep you going fully refuelled.
"'Free camping' is not something that you usually associate with sportives but as this event was part of a “Festival” with the Chain Reaction Cycles/VitoSport MTB Marathon happening the following day from the same location, it meant there was always something going one from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.
"I have done many sportives, audaxes and bike races over the years – this event comes out top of my list for completing the package of what a sportive should be. Challenging, picturesque and most of all fun.
"When you cross the finish line with all of the other riders grinning from ear to ear, keen to sit around and talk about their ride with such enthusiasm, you know it’s not just you thinking you had a great day out.
Photographs of the event are here.
The next CycleSport Power Road Sportive is in Selkirk on the 31st July 2010
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