I am thinking of entering this one ,anyone done it that would care to comment on the route.
This is a great route/day out. And that's in spite of shattering my shoulder en-route in 2007. And have ridden it just about every month of the year, probably 20 - 30 times over the last 5 years.
There are "off road" bits, but these are all NCRs of one number or another, and have surfaces typical of sustrans quality.
The first bit comes soon after the Transporter Bridge and is about 1km long, there are chicanes at either end - so it pays to get in front of any tandems or recumbants. NCR part 2 is on the Caldicot levels - this is best described as a cinder track - but has never caused me any problems.
NCR part 3 is from Shepherds Patch to Frampton - this can be a bit like cycling on cobbles, so pick top gear and keep a steady speed. There'll more than likely be other users on the track, so forget about road-speeds.
NCR part 4, from Elmore to/and through Gloucester. The surface is good standard - you'll be saying good morning to all the anglers along the canal path for half an hour or more. There's a road option, but it's such a busy route I'm not explaining it here as the organiser's gone to lengths to find a pleasant alternative.
Cycle path part 5, from Symond's Yat East to Monmouth - You cycle down the banks of the River Wye. The surface is again typical sustrans quality - 2009 we were doing evens along most of this bit. (that was Phil Chadwick, Mike Pain, Ian Llewelyn and myself). There is one small stretch (10 to 20 m) which was cut-up by a loggers truck.
NCR part 6, from Pontypool to (about 3km before) the finish. The final control's on this bit. You get onto the Brecon & Usk Canal just before the Pontypool boundary sign, and follow a couple of NCRs virtually to Arrivee, and it's 99% down hill. The surfaces are again of typical sustrans standard.
I've never had any issues with the surface of any of these stretches, and have only ever ridden them on 23mm tyres. All stretches are by-passable by using main roads - but why you should want to is beyond me, enter it and ride it for what it is - a summer saunter.