Huge turnout for Gore Road sportive and Merida Mountain Bike marathon
More than 1,100 riders participated in the Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive and the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon at Ruthin Rugby Club May 24-25.
Gore Bike Wear Road Sportive – Ruthin round
The sun was out when riders started arriving early on Saturday morning to sign on and then to tackle the standard or the classic sportive which was laid out for them. Almost 150 riders made it to the first installment of the new edition to the event weekends, and going by the feedback when they came over the line they had a great time out on the hills.
“What a great start to our Sportive series,” said Ben Washington from Gore Bike Wear. “We saw lots of happy faces coming back over the line and the feedback from the riders has been all positive: ‘a fantastic course, lovely weather, a lively event village, top notch facilities paired with ample parking and camping space – simply a great combination’.
“I am sure that this success will make the rounds in the sportive community and hopefully we will see lots of return customers as well as some new ones at the next round in Builth Wells.”
The two road routes on offer were the 40 mile (1,080 m of climbing) and 80 mile (2,069m of climbing) options.
Both routes headed out of historic Ruthin along the pastoral Vale of Clwyd towards the coast. The climbing started as the route went through the centre of Denbigh past its 13th century castle. Moving up onto the mooreland above the town the route cut back to pass Lyn Brenig, famous locally for its fishing and watersports. Next stop Cerrigydrudion where the two routes parted company.
The 40 milers headed back to Ruthin through Clawdd- Newydd. The 80-mile route carried on towards Bala and its famous lake. Back towards Corwen through the town centre and over the river before taking the scenic backroads towards Llangollen.
Then came the final challenge, the Horeseshoe Pass. Chris Boardman still holds the record for the ascent here. Topping the final miles took in a descent of the Nant y Garth Pass before the return to Ruthin.
“With the first round behind us now the focus turns to Builth Wells where John Lloyd is putting his years of road training experience into the two courses on offer,” said event press agent Michael Wilkens. “We’ll have a more detailed course breakdown in one of our next newsletters and add it to the website.”
As you would expect there was more going on than ‘just’ the roadies getting their fair share of happiness. The weather forecast was again promising and when the more than 900 riders left the Rugby Club on Sunday morning everything looked like a great days riding in the sun.
Unfortunately half way through the day the rain started to come in turning the up to then ‘bone dry’ course into a slightly more slippery affair. But that had no impact on the riders having a great day out in the Clwydian hills.
In particular the improved 75km course went down a storm with the riders and was called ‘the best Ruthin course ever’. With conditions being fast and dry at the beginning of the day it took less than 1.5 hours before the first rider came over the line but with rain slowing the second part of the day down the last rider finally concluded the ride with more than eight hours riding time.
Next round of the series: Builth Wells 5-6th July 2008
“With only six weeks to go before the third round kicks off in Builth Wells there is lots to be done on the ‘birth place round’ of the MTB-Marathon Series,” Wilkens added. “John has been working on the courses since last year’s Builth Wells event came to an end and he has come up once more with four mountain bike courses that will guarantee a great day out.”
The Builth Wells will also see the return of the MTB Chariot races as seen at the April round in Builth. So the third round of the series will be even more action packed with the sportive on Saturday, followed by Chariot racing on Saturday afternoon and finished off with the Merida Bikes MTB Marathon on Sunday morning.