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    The route is posted on Map My Ride at http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/34212160. I think you can upload into various GPS’s. Weather looks good and better than when I rode it on Sunday.


    Okay folks I called in today to clarify the route and for those doing the extra leg I’d the full 112 miles after riding the course shown in the link above we ride out to lamphey hang a right and head up the ridgeway. Then route is as per the plan, my confusion was where was the turn point.

    On a separate note, one day I will manage to get some quiet nights and good sleep prior to a Sportive. But not this time!

    Enjoy all!


    Finished :-) Fantastic weather – feed stations were well stocked with … water ran out of bananas

    Best laid plans of mice & men route slightly changed & no one really stuck together. But as the target was to ride it in 8 hours I think everyone did that – so excellent.

    For me it was 90 enjoyable miles followed by 20 or hell – last hills & was cramping up

    Also seemed like a good idea to cycle down & back – didn’t enjoy cycling bask

    Hope everyone else enjoyed it


    As Kim was supposed to attend a marshals briefing in Tenby on Friday evening, we decided we might as well go and watch the swim and I could register for the Saturday ride. As always, there is just one more thing you need for your bike and so we found ourselves in Tenby Cycles buying a bag for the top tube to keep all my Geobars in. Jon was in good form as ever and gave me a promotional High5 sample box he had that was full of energy enhancing goodies.

    The swim was a bit of a farce as the strong rip tide took all but the strongest swimmers off to Caldey Island and only a very few made the 1 hour cut off time allowed for the second lap. Eventually most made it to shore at the very end of South Beach and jogged back along the sand. There were a lot of very pissed off Long Course Weekend competitors who’s weekend was ruined at the first hurdle.

    On the way back I started my careful preparation for the ride with a bag of chips. Then, while Kim cooked a large bowl of pasta, I fitted the timing chip and numbers to the bike and read the booklet that came with the High5 selection box. It promised significant improvement by following their regime of energy drinks and gels…..

    We left the house at 6am on Saturday morning to meet up with Carlton and Shaun who were aiming for a similar 15mph average speed that I set myself after my recce ride the week before. In keeping with the High5 performance plan, the normal Weetabix was forsaken for an Energy Source Extreme with 30g of caffeine.

    We all assembled at the Salterns Car Park for a 7pm start. Glancing around there was some very tasty kit and some serious looking dudes complete with aero helmets. I was beginning to worry I might just make a complete tit of myself…

    In my haste to leave the house I forgot the strap for my HRM which I was planning to use religiously to ensure that I did not go off too fast. Anyway straight from the off we all got separated and I think the caffeine kicked in as I shot off up the road just to prove I could keep up with at least a few of the big boys (and girls). Mike Smith must have had the same for breakfast we both found ourselves heading for together Pembroke at high speed.

    The first ‘test’ was St Daniel’s Hill where I found that the majority of these super athletes weren’t that quick up the hill and managed to get past quite a few of them (that tells you either they were very slow, or the power of caffeine). The funniest sight was a guy on a full works time trial bike, disk wheels, aero helmet etc. out of the saddle desperately rocking from side to side trying to get up the hill. He was in for a very nasty shock as the day wore on.

    Once up St. Daniels Hill it was a fast pace to Freshwater West with the wind slightly behind. Jon was at the top of Fresh West hill snapping away giving words of encouragement. There must have been 20 – 30 photographers on the event jumping out from hedges and it was very hard work trying to look ones best the whole way round.

    I caught up with Sean on the climb out of Angle and we rode in a group to the first feed station at the top of the Ridgeway. By this time it was getting rather warm and I had drunk both bottles. I tried a Geobar and it made me gag so it was onto the gel sachets. If it is good enough for Dylan…

    Due to an incident on Providence Hill (a murder it transpired) there was a diversion put in place from Molleston down past the Grove to Narberth Bridge. This cut out the drag out of Templeton for which I was very grateful. Local knowledge proved to be an asset as I knew to brake at the bottom of the hill and change down for the short steep hill up to the golf course. Others weren’t so acquainted with the road and a few went off at the corner and others, having made the corner, fell off on the hill as they were in the wrong gear.

    I was then looking forward to the adulation of the crowds lining the streets of Narberth as a local boy came through sporting Club colours. I was met by complete indifference and a lot of tutting as I weaved in and out of a load of frankly clinically obese grockles with their equally obese children and ridiculous dogs wheezing their way from one pavement to the other. I really do think the M50 and M4 have a lot to answer for. Still I bet Andrew sold a lot of pies on Saturday and Roger will never be out of a job. Anyway, enough of my sizest remarks and on with the cycling.

    Starting our club rides from Narberth, you never really appreciate quite what a long drag it is up to Princes Gate. Still, the high point of the ride (literally and figuratively) was at the turning off the Taverspite Road where Kim was marshalling and it was all downhill to Wiseman’s Bridge. Again, the hill out of Wiseman’s Bridge after some 65miles cycling in the sun is a different proposition to a club ride. Even on the first lap there were people getting of and walking. St Brides Hill followed and then back to Tenby for the second pit stop. Trouble was, by the time I got there, probably mid-field, there was nothing left but water much to many people’s annoyance. Luckily I was still well stocked with lots of gel with and without caffeine!

    By this time I seemed to have got myself into a group of one, the battery on my phone has been exhausted by the GPS that was about as much use as a chocolate spanner telling me once again that was I either stopped or travelling at about 120mph. Even worse no background soundtrack to distract me from the nagging thought that I was completely knackered.

    The sports drink I got at the first drinks station tasted like cough medicine and every time I bit into a gel sachet it seemed to spray all over me. However, I had worked out by now how long it took for the gel to kick in and for how long that euphoric sense of well being would last (a bit like KERS?). I was therefore forcing the drink and sachets down in dread of the hills to come. I think I hit my lowest ebb on the drag from Carew to Crosshands the second time, the wind was right in your face and the road just seemed to undulate on for ever. I also got cramp in my right foot and decided to take a break at the top of the hill down past the Grove for some self applied massage. Just to add insult to injury I managed to sit on a nettle, swapping one burning sensation for another.

    One I got through Narberth for the second time and had stopped for a refill of gel and water at Kim’s marshalling post, I convinced myself I would make it and close to my target time of 7:30.

    Wiseman’s Bridge for the second time was hilarious (in a delirious sort of way). People were walking up it two abreast and a girl in front of me asked if one of those walking could catch her. I was out of the saddle going slightly faster than the pedestrians when I heard a cry from behind ‘get out the f**king way, coming through’ as Carton shot past me tailing another Ace up the hill.

    The last bit of St Brides Hill up to the roundabout was absolute torture but then there was a nice fast decent to Tenby and onto the finish in the square. Barriers out, waving crowds, this was more like it I thought as I sprinted toward what I though was the finish. It transpired that the waving was to try and slow me down as you have to negotiate a hairpin bend at the bottom of the square and then go back up to the finish. I just made it round to cross the line at a more sedentary pace with my bike computer showing exactly 15mph average. Job done.

    In hindsight I enjoyed the ride and it was particularly gratifying to see lots of those flash bikes I saw at the start finishing well behind me. As Mike Smith (or was it Lance Armstrong?) said as we were debating this very issue at the finish, ‘it’s not about the bike’.

    As a postscript, I think we need to consider an ‘away strip’ for the summer months as a black jersey on a hot summers day is probably not ideal!


    Thank you Ian for the latest tail.

    Mine on the Dragon ride was somewhat contrasting…it is a tail of getting up obscenely early,freezing at the 1 hour + wait to start,foul sports drink at feed stations,deteriorating weather ascending The Bwlch for the second time (Andrew getting the jump on me by 3 mins) and then charging the last 15 miles or so to the finish(catching up those 3 mins..apart from 2 seconds!). To cap it all it looks like there’s been a complete blunder with the timing chips for almost everyone..so there will be no record of our 7 hrs 2 mins riding time at 17.2 average……..do I care about any of this??? Absolutely not(well apart from those 2 secs!) as Audrey (long story..involving a Russion Princess) the new bike was absolutely brilliant..roll on the Tour of Pembs..Audrey can’t wait


    The official times are now up

    The stats are

    time speed

    mean 07:20:06 15.00

    median 07:07:43 15.43

    top 10% 06:12:46 17.71

    top 25% 06:37:37 16.60

    fastest 05:33:09 19.81

    slowest 09:49:12 11.20

    My time on clock 7:08 & official time 7:10 both outside midpoint :( – I thought I rode OK (but 138 out 269 rode faster than me)

    Dragon boys – based on that course is probably 20% harder than this – you probably would have been in the top 10%



    Nice work on the stats!

    I managed 7:32:12 and was 170th out of 269 so just under my target of 15mph (14.8). I was slightly less than ‘average’ (I can live with that!)and faster than 99 which, compared to where I was in March, shows some improvement!

    Having got the taste for pain, I have now decided to do the full TOP on Sunday but will not be keeping company with Andrew and Roger.


    Valleyman its good to here you are up for the big one on Sunday, if you up for a riding partner, I’ll be happy to ride with you (2’s company), on your own is a long way. MatG has a cold and might not be riding the the full distance, so I need a partner. We’ll let Andrew and Roger look after themselves.


    That would be great. See you Sunday. Maybe Roger and Andrew won’t want to get their new bike and shoes respectively and we can lead the charge for the Dynamos!


    Lovely description of your ride.

    I had a blinder of a ride, managed to hook up with a group way above my ability and somehow rode the first 3 hours at 20mph average! (don’t know where that came from) anyway made a rookie mistake at the ridgeway, I stopped to reload my drink bottles even though I had enough and as a consequence lost the group I was with. Worse, with the red mist down I tried to rejoin as I had at one point before ( I also noticed their hill climbing wasn’t so hot)

    Yeah that went well, I chased a tail end charlie who’d dropped off the back and never caught him. Ended up, blown, empty and dropping pace. Decided to sit up for a bit on that hellish second time from Carew to Crosshands and hope I could recover. Managed to latch on to a guy in the end then another and we reformed a chase group. I left them on wisemans hill and kept on riding.

    All in all I came in at a creditable 6 hrs 36 mins.

    However, I feel awful now as I have been classed as DNF!


    I followed my group through tenby but did not stop at the feed station and now I’m wondering if we were supposed to have gone under the railway bridge and round Tenby like last year. However, the map was different to last year and I followed all marshall instructions. Just gutted now, thanks to a missed turn I feel as if I have been branded a cheat.

    The worst thing is it was probably my best performance to date. Did the whole ride sans the little ring around Tenby at an average of 16.4 mph! But it is all for nothing according to the official timing.

    I know in my heart I played with a straight bat but it still has left me with a sour feeling, so…

    Tour of Pembs here we go!

    The TOP was always my target event, some silly colleagues wanted to go for a gold standard 16.5 mph, I think I’ll have a go and see how things go.

    I shall report accordingly!


    Does anyone know can you still see the photos anywhere – can not find them!

    Have seen Jon Mills’ ones but official ones



    Today I had a mail from activity wales telling me that they have amended the record to reflect my actual time. I feel so much better. No more explaining the DNF to my friends.


    Sweaty Eds

    ValleyMan, I have read through your account of the Wales Sportive several times and can find no mention of the fee you surely received from Cycling Weekly for posing in their latest issue. In the photo on page 77 you are handily placed in second about to overtake one of the Aces. Now that really has put the Dynamos firmly in the map. 😆


    …bit of a mix up, I thought I was posing for Saga magazine. I will be demanding an appearance fee next year. That is the only time I have cycled in the drops this year, if I had been sitting up in my normal pose it might have been a better advert for the Dynamos. Still Fossa Sports should be happy!

    PS will be signing copies for a modest fee on next Sunday’s ride.


    The 2012 Wales Sportive is on Saturday 9 June. Details on their website


    … and then you can do the Dragon the next day

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