120km within 10 hours. 2000m of climbing (2 Audax Altitude Award points)
A scenic day out on quiet lanes in Shropshire’s blue remembered hills. 2 excellent cafe controls at Ray’s Farm and Acton Scott with free drinks included and homemade soup & cake at the finish.
“Into my heart on air that kills, From yon far country blows
What are those blue remembered hills, What spires, what farms are those?
That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain
The happy highways where I went, And cannot come again”
From “A Shropshire Lad” by A.E. Housman
403km within 27 hours. 4100m of climbing (1.75 Audax Altitude Award points)
The National 400 was originally devised by the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) in 1983 and was organised by them until 2005. Audax UK revived this popular event in 2012. The National 400 is intended as a gentler introduction to the longer distances with evenly spaced controls, usually manned by volunteers, providing food and drink. There is also normally one or more controls where there have been some sleeping arrangements made if you want a few hours sleep. The route is also designed to be relatively simple to navigate and not be of a too demanding nature.
The 2017 edition is being hosted by Cycling UK Shropshire with a roughly triangular route between Shrewsbury, Hereford and Aberystwyth. Highlights include a visit to the historic Ironbridge gorge, Shropshire’s “blue remembered hills” and the Wye valley through Herefordshire before crossing the Cambrian mountains via the Elan reservoirs to the coast at Aberystwyth. The return over Plynlimon back to the Severn valley uses quiet A roads overnight for easy navigation (and being held at the end of June you’ll get maximum daylight).
The route has been chosen to minimise gratuitous climbing – there’s a 100km section in Wales which is just hilly enough for AAA points but mostly you’ll be looking at the scenery rather than riding over it. And as usual for the National 400, tlc is guaranteed with village hall controls being run by experienced AUKs, and all food is included in the entry fee. Continue reading
307km within 20 hours. 4950m of climbing (5 Audax Altitude Award points)
31st year of the AUK classic ‘There (and back again)’ from the Shire across ‘blue remembered hills’ to the wilderland of the Elenydd, in the depths of mid Wales.
Between lrfon and Camddwr you are as far away
As you will ever be from the world’s madness
The loneliest it is said, even in this land of lonely places
Flying from madness, maybe we bring it with us
From “Above Tregaron” by Harri Webb
The Elenith has been well established as an Audax UK classic since 1986, when 50 entrants took the start from ‘Trikie Towers’ in Kidderminster. Over the years riders aged from 16 to 70+ have come from across the UK and beyond to tackle the challenging route from the edge of the English Midlands, across the Marches and deep into the green deserts of mid-Wales. Snow and hail storms, easterly gales, a 20 hour ‘shower’ and even occasionally a day of unbroken sunshine with a tail wind out and back have all been experienced.
In 2012 after 26 years of organising Dave Pountney and Kidderminster CTC hung up their organising hat, and passed the baton on to CTC Shropshire. The Elenith evolved into Yr Elenydd with a new start and finish to the route from our HQ in Upton Magna, but retaining all the features that have made The Elenith a classic over the years.