After test riding the route the weekend before, this time it was my turn to do the organising for this new event. As always, riding is far easier than organising.
A healthy entry was swelled by a couple of latecomers in the last couple of days leading up to the event, including one rider from Australia (in the UK on business), and the weather forecast for the weekend resulted in only 1 DNS, leaving 36 starters.
The weather didn’t start out looking like it was going to fulfill it’s promise though, with a cool and overcast morning as they set off from Upton Magna heading for the Tanat Valley. After a quick breakfast top up I set off after them in the car for the first control. The flatlands of north Shropshire meant the field was well bunched although that soon changed when they hit the 4 mile climb of the Milltir Cerrig.
It was decidedly blustery on the top with a stiff north westerly which would make itself felt all the way out to Llanberis. Photos of suffering AUKs duly acquired it was on to Bala where Jonathan Blowers was stamping cards (having made sure he’d grabbed the comfy sofa in the cafe). All riders safely accounted for (after a brief scare where we thought we’d lost one but turned out he’d gone to the wrong cafe – the lack of bikes is normally a bit of a giveaway!)
Leaving Bala the clouds parted and for the rest of the day we were treated to Snowdonia in glorious sunshine – absolutely stunning views. Next stop Llanberis and Pete’s Eats where the tea comes in pints! Our turn to stamp cards now (well Linda’s as I hiked off up the hill out of town to get some more photos). Job done here it was time to rush off down to Aberystwyth (busy life this organising) as I wanted to catch up with Andy Cox who was running the control at the Boat Club there about my forthcoming 1000k. Andy had arranged a top spread for the riders and of course the attraction of a bar! No time for us to enjoy it though – a quick bite to eat and head back to Upton Magna to open up the finish. Of course with the England game on the roads were deserted now.
Back at the hall and get cooking. The first riders arrived back at 12:30, followed by quite a gap giving us time to doze through the small hours before the majority of the field came through (hardly anyone else turned up until nearly 5am). Ed Hargraves turned up as dawn broke to help out with the last few hours. The final 3 riders made it back at 9:20am to complete a full house – not a single DNF.
That might have been the end of the event, but of course the organiser still has to pack up and go home – 1pm by the time I got back and unloaded the car. 42 hours after first setting off for Upton Magna on Friday evening (less than 8 of which were spent asleep).
Another great event – the weather really made it. A whole day (and night) of stunning North Wales scenery. As one rider said “The ‘wow’ factor just kept on coming all the way round”.