It's only two weeks now until the GORE BIKE WEAR Road sportive team descends onto the smallest town in Britain, Llanwrtyd Wells, for the opening round of the three-ride series on Sat 4 July. road.cc will be there, and we hope to see plenty of you on the start line!
What makes the GORE series so special? Well, like most sportives you can just turn up and ride, and you'll be treated to a real challenge, some wonderful scenery and great support out on the route and at base. But you can also camp on site for free for the weekend if you want to make a trip of it or bring the family down (we will be!) and if you've got a dirty MTB there's the Merida MTB Marathon on Sunday too: enter both and you'll get a £10 discount. It's not often you can get your fill of road and mountain biking in a single weekend...
The first round offers two different courses of 50 and 90 miles, with 1600m and 2600m of climbing respectively. Both routes start from the Show Field, Llanwrtyd Wells and the ride will split immediately on leaving the venue. The 50 mile route heads west through Llanwrtyd Wells towards Abergwesyn. The 90 mile route heads east, gently descending towards Llangammarch Wells, then along undulating B roads through Garth and Beulah and then west to rejoin the shorter route in Abergwesyn.
Both routes then turn towards Tregaron, eventually reaching the Devils Staircase. One mile long and super steep, the staircase has been ridden by the Milk Race and the Kelloggs Road Race in the past, and is just as tough a challenge today.
After the staircase you drop steeply, only to face another climb almost as steep and a bit longer. After a second descent it's time to turn south down the Tywi Valley towards Llandovery, reaching the first feed-station and checkpoint at 33 miles for the longer course and 25 miles for the shorter course. Take your time and enjoy the view as this viewpoint overlooks the Llynbrianne Reservoir, one of the most beautiful valleys in Wales.
On reaching Llandovery the shorter route turns east and climbs over the Sugar loaf and then descends back to Llanwrtyd Wells. The longer route follows the main road for a few miles before turning onto B roads towards Brecon. The second feed station is near the village of Cradoc, at approximately 67 miles. Just past Cradoc the route turns left towards Upper Chapel and then left again over the Eppynt Military Range (one of our favourite roads here at road.cc), descending to Llangammarch Wells and continues back through Cefngorwydd to Llanwrtyd Wells.
We're off out to recce the route on tuesday, so stay tuned for a route report (we'll take the video camera if the rain holds off!) later in the week. For more details on the ride including profiles and course details please go to http://www.gorebikewearsportives.com/llanwrtyd_wells.php. To enter point your browser at: http://www.gorebikewearsportives.com/entry.php.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.