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May 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm #21690celiaMember
After some deliberation, I decided to do the tour of Pembs this year, as I cried off last year with the rain, what also swung it for me was the promise of my dad and his wife Carol coming to visit, I thought they may enjoy doing the ride with me. after a few emails back and forth they decided they would do the 50 mile route on their tandem.
On Sunday morning we got ready and they were alarmed to see me shooting off on my bike at 6am. They thought I was doing a warm up ride, but actually I went to let Kim’s chickens out, the advantages of staying in Pembrokeshire! They had brought their motorhome and a huge trailer with the tandem on the back so I suggested that we take our car to the vent with the trailer, after a nifty bit of reversing in the school car park, by my dad we decided to park in the coach park at Oriel y Parc. Carol was beginning to get nervous by now and mentioned “fitness freaks ” They also spotted a Cannondale tandem, and so the competition was on!
After collecting our numbers and timing cards it was back to the car to change, me in dynamos top, sleeves, windproof and shorts, them in fleeces fleece gloves leggings and base layer. The tandem was loaded up, complete with flag and hazard signs, and we were ready to go.
We decided not to ride together as I would be faster so swiped our cards and said our farewells. The first part of the route was along the A487 and was a nice gentle warm up, so I started shooting past people saying Hi on my way, I later realised that nobody was returning my cheery greeting so gave up! We turned off at croesgoch where some cyclists quizzed me about the route, I had no idea so told them it would be hilly, they were from the Gower so used to hills, this is where we encountered a gibbering heckling old farmer, we quickly sped away. Then it started to get steep with a 20% hill out from Abermawr (I think, memory is a bit hazy) I was wondering whether to have a gel yet when I turned a corner and a marshal leapt out from behind his car and asked me if I wanted to do the timed hill climb. I swiped my card and went for it. I passed 2 people nearly colliding with a wobbly man and was passed by one, not so wobbly man 😉 swiped my card at the top and then downed a gel, something I haven’t practised very much and had to spit out bits of plastic or maybe it was rhubarb, who knows! There were some really bad road surfaces at some points and had to stop in an inch of mud to let a tractor with a tiller on the back to get past. Many people behind me were wondering if they had known that there was a sportive on.
As we approached Fishguard I had been wondering whether to “go for gold” which meant an average speed of 15.5mph for my category. I knew I was making pretty good time, but also knew there would be no time for stoppages. So I arrived at the feed station, filled up my water bottle, eyed the queue for the toilets and decided to make a break for it. I didn’t know my time exactly as I had forgotten to start my stopwatch until about 15 mins in, and I knew if I looked at my average speed I might give up if I wasn’t on target, so I tried to latch on with some Celtic Tri men who had passed me earlier (they had obviously had a more leisurely break) I passed them as they were chatting, which must have been a red rag to a bull, as they stopped chatting and sped past me never to be seen again. We split off from the longer routes and up over to Puncheston, this was a nice gentle climb with fantastic views followed by a long descent into Puncheston. After that the route was pretty flat and undulating so I got down on my bars and hoped there wasn’t a sting in the tail.
About 3 miles from St Davids I nearly missed a right hand turn which took us round the back of St Davids a marshal slowed us down and we crossed the foot bridge at the bottom of the Cathedral and up the sting in the tail of a steep hill on a sharp corner, then under the archway at the top of the Cathedral and through town to Oriel Y Parc. I swiped my card and took it inside where I got a printout of my result 3.14.56 1 minute inside gold standard I was very happy!! I also came 3rd overall out of the 50 milers
I sat in the sun and ate my cawl while I waited for my boys to meet me, and texted my dad and Carol to find out how they were getting on. They had stopped for a pint in Letterston.
It was a great venue at Oriely Parc the boys spent a lot of time running up and down banks with my dads dog, and there was plenty of grassy areas to sit down in and pic nic benches. The weather couldn’t have been better, and there was good ice cream down the road. As we were walking up the road, my dad and Carol arrived back so we cheered them on and met them. They finished in a time of 5:31, which they were pleased with, especially as they stopped for a drink.
Overall we really enjoyed the day, and will be back
Love The Rain, Live Your DreamMay 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm #24710leightspMember
Yes it was a really enjoyable day had by all I think. I signed up for the 100 but ended up doing the 75 (good decision) after meeting a couple of Dynamos just before Newport. There were a couple of nasty little climbs, the one up from Cilgwyn to the top of the Preseli’s and out of the Gwaun Valley stick in my mind. All was going reasonably well until about mile 62m when my rear derailleur cable broke at the lever and I was stuck in high gear. Luckily managed to get it on to the 3rd from top sprocket and plodded back with three front chain ring gears. Let’s hope next year they the dates don’t clash with the Carten! I won’t post my time, but I passed according to my certificate! See you Wednesday.May 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm #24718Andrew_WrightMember
I opted for the 75m rather than the 100m and thankful I did. Looking back I loved the event & course but I found it a little too unforgiving at the time with endless hills and technical descents with no chance of making any time back. For the first time ever I walked up a hill out of the Gwain valley joining the back with the 50m route. Walking was solely due to cramp which kicked in after 50miles every time I rose from the saddle (which was a lot!). I ended the day on 5.57.02 drastically missing my target of 5hrs, I think I ended up 28th overall our of 198 so not too disheartened. Already thinking of shelling out on new gears if they use the same route next year. Good HQ, friendly feed stations, stunning views, only slight niggle was a fw of the signs and a couple dodgy/mossy roads without warning. Well worth the effort!
Hopefully see you on Sunday morning.
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