Another two

With lockdown looking like it is going to begin easing in the coming weeks and months I’ve been online again (because I’m bored) looking at events, tours and things I can book or plan on the bike later this year.

So far I’ve got the Mad March Hare Sportive in March as my entry carried over from the cancelled event in 2020 and in my last blog I talked about one of my highlights this year, The Two Ton Tour. 200 miles, 2 days, nearly 20,000ft of climbing. Can’t wait for that one in July.

Getting way ahead of myself I’ve been thinking about the summer holidays with Dan. I usually have a week or two off with him then and (provisionally) this year is no different. As I haven’t seen my folks for over a year (except distanced on a driveway Xmas Eve) it will be great to spend some time with them. Now they live in North Wales so it’s no surprise I’ve checked out potential events around there in August and I’ve got my eye on the Tour de Mon, a 106 mile tour of Anglesey. Always Aim High events, the organisers, are expensive in my opinion, and I’d normally steer clear due to that and that its so far away but this year given the money I’ve saved, the folks live close enough and its somewhere I’m yet to cycle (except a road race I did in about 1993!) why not? If anything COVID has taught me is life is too short. So I think I’m in when my leave is confirmed.

a proper cycle tour around an island

Originally I hadn’t got anything in the diary for May and I was thinking about doing something by myself like a permanent Audax. Those are still a possible and I’ll talk about them a bit more in a second but browsing online events calendars I stumbled upon the Black Rat Gran Fondo which grabbed my attention for a few reasons. Not too far away (1hr drive north of Bristol), it crosses the Severn Bridge (twice), a tasty distance (181km), loads of climbing (2400m) and it ticks off a bucket list climb too, Gospel Pass. All in for £30. I can’t see any reason not to. Throw in a ride through the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean and I’m sold.

The only part of the route I’ve cycled is the B-road from Abergavenny to Raglan. The site of so many 50 & 100 mile TT finishes in the 90’s

Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean. Could be beautiful but brutal.

The only other types of ride on my radar at the minute are the mini-epics I’ve ridden over the past few years. I plan a route, ride it then write about it after. This year, to add a little extra flavour I’ve been looking into permanent audaxes. Click here if you want to know what they are. Saves me explaining but the main point is it is a pre-determined route whether you do it officially or not is up to you.

I have a local club, the Beacon RCC, and one of their members Phil, is a prolific Audax rider and organiser and has devised a brutal permanent called Montgomery Madness. 205km, 3450m of climbing (WTF!). It’s a long day out on your own through some beautiful yet remote parts of the Welsh Marches. The ridiculous amount of climbing makes me want to have a go just for the achievement.

Useless fact. Phil won a free entry to the first ever Mad March Hare Sportive I organised for coining its name!

I can do this anytime, so I’ve got this pencilled in for a nice, sunny day, in June, as the final touches to my training for the Two Ton Tour. There is also another 305km one called The Elenydd which is a local classic which takes you down to the Devil’s Staircase and back but I think I’ll give that a miss. Thats mental.

Beautiful route, Stupid elevation (3450m)

So overall, fingers crossed 2021 is shaping up to be some kind of normal. I just hope we have a long, warm sunny Summer now. I think we all deserve one.


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