CycleOps Road Sportive Builth Wells

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CycleOps Road Sportive Builth Wells 2010. 

The weather looked promising for the whole weekend and with temperatures above 25 degrease and no cloud in the sky the ride was a real challenge for everyone and probably saw quite a few people leaving the event with a sun burned neck as well as the cyclist typical tan lines. 

The weekend

The 2nd event was also a double header with the CycleOps Power Road Sportive kicking things off on Saturday morning. Around 200 riders took up either of the two demanding road courses and saw themselves returning to a buzzing event village with a variety of traders waiting to welcome them home. The fastest riders on the 53mile long standard sportive made it over the line in 2hour and 48 minutes while the last rider rolling back into the event village was out there for more than 8 and a half hours. On the 86mile long course the quickest riders was back in just under 5 hours while the last rider over the line enjoyed the beautiful scenery for more than 9 hours. Once the sportive started coming to a deserved end the XC dirt eliminator took over given in particular the racers of tomorrow the chance to sample some great tracks in the Kids race. 

Here’s the inside story from one of the many riders out on the enjoyable yet demanding sportive course around Builth Wells. 

After a 3 days touring bike ride with some friends across Wales earlier in the year when the weather was not so favourable, I jumped at the chance of riding what I can only describe as some of the best roads in Britain. Smooth, fast, undulating and best of all a very low car count.

The sunny day with temperatures of 26° plus and no clouds only made the experience and the vistas of the Tywi & Crychan Forests and the ride around the Llyn Brianne Reservoir was even more beautiful than any tourist postcard could ever portray.

The ride itself. I was kind of glad that I had not taken to much notice of the profile of the course as it may have meant that I would not have ridden at such a solid and challenging pace. My riding partner was cussing that fact that I had talked him out of not putting a 28 on the back, but when your 40km’s in, you just have to get on with it and we both had to stick with the 25’s we had.

Riding with a CycleOps Powertap over the course soon showed that the efforts required to complete the 136km sportive, was the single most challenging ride I have done. With the two 25% climbs not far from each other (including what I now know to be the famous Devils Staircase), my power readings were also the best peak power outputs since using a powermeter. This was more evident as we got further into the course and the climbing and undulations kept coming. Total climbing for the day was a staggering 8597ft (2620mtrs) which was a real test of endurance. What goes up, must come down and that’s when the real fun was to be had, coming off the devils staircase with the long straights topped out at 74kph. You had to watch out for a small gravel patch at a T junction at the bottom, but that just helps you keep your wits about you.

The signage (arrows) for the course were also excellent and not once was there confusion where to which direction to go. The helpers at the feed stations were all brilliant and some of the young lads very keen to take your bottle, fill it and bring back to you so as to keep you going, but fully refueled.

Free Camping is not something that you usually associate with sportives, but as this event was part of a “Festival” weekend with the MTB Marathon happening on the same weekend, from the same location which meant that there was always something going one from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. It just makes for a great weekend away.

I have done many sportives, audaxes and bike races over the years – This course and event comes out top of my list for completing the package of what a sportive should be. Challenging, picturesque and most of all fun.

When you cross the finish line with all of the other riders grinning from ear to ear, keen to sit around and talk about their ride with such enthusiasm, you know it’s not just you thinking you had a great day out.

The rest of the weekend

Registration for the Sunday run MTB Marathon opened at 7am the next morning to cope with the huge amount of riders who were trying to enter the event last minute. From then onwards everything was focused on MTB marathon riding and with the clock slowly makings its way towards the start time at 10am riders started to gather in the start arena. Exactly ay 10am more than 1000 riders lead out by former World Cup legend Gary Ford as well as marathon regular and equally legendary WC racer Nick Craig made their way into the hills for some 1st class marathon action. The weather added an extra level of difficulty to the event and the feed stations were even more sought after than they normally are. After just 75 minutes in the saddle the 1st rider in the mini marathon made his way over the finish line with the last rider finishing the riding tasks of the full distance and picking up the well deserved event T-shirt in 7 hours and 41 minutes.

Sportive and Marathon Photos and Vito Sport Facebook
At this event we had 2 photographers out on the course; our regular photographer, Jon Brooke and his colleague – the idea being to give you an even greater selection of images to choose from. Check out Jon’s website where you can find your photos to view and to buy. Besides that the Vito Sport Team have put some fun photos and more up on their Facebook and Flickr sites.

Next CycleSport Power Road Sportive – Selkirk on the 31st July 2010
Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to the 1st round of the CycleSport Power Road Sportive in Builth Wells, as the next one is only a few weeks away. After enjoying perfect conditions and some great riding at the 1st round the series will be heading north to the Scottish Borders. 

To find out more about the Selkirk round (including course description and profiles) please go to the event page. To place your entry please go directly to the entry page where you can either download an entry form or enter directly through the new online entry service. 

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