On Sunday 16th June I took part in the Etape Eryri, completing the Canol route which consisted of 76 miles and just less than 6,500ft of ascent. The day which was superbly run by Always Aim High Events, started and finished in the castle square in Caernarfon with the historic castle giving a wonderful backdrop.
|On Drws y Coed Climb|
The first part of ride took us along the shore front on the opposite bank to the castle before cutting inland through Penygroes then through the village of Nantlle this really was a beautiful area and a joy to cycle next came the hard bit the climb up Drws y Coed and a timed hill climb section. I managed the climb in 6:41 (170th/964) not a bad time I could have done it quicker but was conscious that I didn’t want to burn myself out as this was so early in the ride. A nice descent down to Beddgelert (ignoring the first feed stop) and a very enjoyable ride along the Afon Glaslyn followed before the long and at one point I thought never ending ascent up to Rhyd and a little further along the even harder and in my opinion the toughest ascent of the ride up to Llan Ffestiniog, again I ignored the feed stop and continued on through to Blaenau Ffestiniog and up the Crimea Pass, the descent down through Dolwyddelan and onto Betws-y-Coed was a delight topping out at 56.8mph a bit scary but great fun.
It was whilst I was riding through Betws-y-Coed that I first saw my wife and kids cheering and waving at me this gave me great encouragement and spurred me on, next was a leg sapping ride up to the third feed stop in the car park of Tyn-y-Coed, My family had drove ahead of me and met me at the stop. I topped up with fluids had a quick chat and pressed on, the next section was the hardest few miles of the day for me as the ride along the A4086 from Capel Curig to the Pen-y-pass turn against a strong wind really was draining the only consolation was the superb view this gives of the Snowdon horseshoe ahead, Moel Siabod to the left and the slopes of the Glyderau immediately to the right. I eventually reached the turn up to Pen-y-pass, this was also where we combined with the riders doing the shorter route coming up from Beddgelert. This meant the ride from now on was busy, after the climb a very enjoyable descent down the Llanberis pass followed and again my family were on hand to cheer and support me as I rode through the town. We then turned left off the A4086 and a wicked sting in the tail as I ascended a steep climb up and over to Waunfawr before heading back to Caernarfon as I approached the finish the pace quickened and I crossed the finish line again with my family there to support me in a time of 4hrs 36mins meaning I came in 25th overall out of 311 riders and 4th in the over 40 category.I really enjoyed this Etape event, is was superbly marshalled along the whole route and the atmosphere in the castle square was excellent, well done to Always Aim High for putting on a great day, and a special thank you to my wife and kids who cheered and supported me, really gave me a boost.
Hopefully I will be able to add some photos once they become available.