First Gravel race in the UK

Well it sort of was.
An underground organised collection of barebones people intended to try out the proposed gravel race in Wales. As it was 3 riders only started on a cool but changeable April day, just the rider, a GPX track and a bundle of food and drink. ahead lay 100 miles of finest forest tracks.

The weather forecast of cold spells of rain, lack of entry fee and commitment all make these a tough mental commitment, but I was well up for this, as was Big Dave L with a shiny new Dirty harry to try out. Due to tired legs I went for the Anthem for comfort and the chance to fit a 30T cog for spinning up the considerable climbing.

Welsh Mint

How did it go;

  • Only finisher in 9 Hrs 47 mins two DNF’s
  • GPS devices can loose satellite connection even with clear skies, hey Dave.
  • Always have a bail out route or two planned
  • YHA is a good water stop just under half way, I only drank 4  x 750ml bottles
  • Food – ate 3234 calories *see below* on the way round – Alpkit stem cells are great.
  • Trees still down and Track after Reservoir chapel is wrecked, slows progress.
  • Some of the down hills are proper full on MTB only at speed. In my opinion skinny tyres would be slower.
  • A great route and brilliant fun, no way do you have time to be bored.
  • 9am start is perfect for a good breakfast and return food option.
  • Big bird statue is a great start point
  • Take 2 will happen, navigation knowledge will cut time alone, big temptation to compare different bike, tyres too.

After a big Breakfast of cereal, toast and a cooked plate the following more than fuelled me round. (calories)

  • 350  Two Torq Bottles to start
  • 200  Two bananas
  • 500 JP patented trail mix
  • 215  eat natural dark Choc
  • 147  Torq sun dried banana bar
  • 439  Quorndon strawberry flapjack from Spa
  • 462 Quorndon Choctop flapjack
  • 312 Two Kellogg’s choc rice cakes
  • 264 Cliff Builders protein bar 20g protein mid ride
  • 340 Four SIS cola caffeine gels for the caffeine hit
  • 114 Torq Orange & banana gel

I made that just over 300 calories an hour which is a tad excessive really, could be saved on.


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