Author Topic: Mille Cymru 2018  (Read 26722 times)

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
Mille Cymru 2018
« on: September 15, 2017, 12:12:33 am »
Placeholder! Can't wait for dates to be announced.

I think we'd fly over from USA just for this one (if we weren't already planning to be in UK by next Summer)

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 07:30:29 am »
Somebody told me end of July...  ;D

αdαmsκι

  • @Dr_AAY
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Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 08:04:02 am »
Ah crap. That means it'll be during school holidays and I won't have any excuse not to enter.
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

https://tyredandhungry.wordpress.com/

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 08:53:27 am »
Ah crap. That means it'll be during school holidays and I won't have any excuse not to enter.

Likewise... although it might be too big for me. I need to see how I do in the BCM... but by then it might be too late to enter the Mille... on the other hand I hate to enter events and then DNS (even more so when they are 70 quid or so)...  dilemmas...  ??? ???

andyp

  • Andrew Preston
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2017, 10:43:12 am »
Likewise... although it might be too big for me. I need to see how I do in the BCM...

Unless you're being super modest, in general, I think if you have to see how you do on the BCM then you won't make it round the MC1K... Last time I'd finished the KSW600 in daylight, having had 90 minutes sleep in Bude ...and I only just made it round (15 minutes to spare) sleep was 1hr night 1, plus 1.5hrs, plus 40minutes.

It was brutal.

The BCM goes north / south the easy way up all the valleys, and the fast way down them, the MC1K feels like it crosses them East/West and back again. And has a loop along the coast which is along a windy beach, up a headland, down a headland, along a windy beach [repeat] ... the drop out rate was high last time – You just can't 'will' your way around this one, the hills are really steep, and frequent.


andyp

  • Andrew Preston
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2017, 10:58:48 am »
Ha! So. Worried I might have exaggerated I wondered if I'd written an email with the sleep etc. recorded, and found an account of the ride I'd ridden... I don't think I posted it anywhere, and reading it now it feels like it captures some small part of the huge effort involved. for me it was the hardest thing I've ever ridden. That 3rd night was so hard. and so slow. there were a couple of hours I was broken and sure I'd pack when I got to the control. Anyway ladies and gentlemen, if you've got time spare, pull up a chair: this is what I made of the last MC1K:

Mille Cymru
I thought that having done the Bryan Chapman I'd done a really hard ride in Wales, and that compared to Wessex, Wales wasn't that hard. Er no. The MC1K was really hard. It was a ride that hammered your legs with constant successions of steep hills that have you out of the saddle, and needing to lay down power for a long time to get to the top. It was also a ride with amazing views, a great spirit amongst the riders, and great controls.

The first day was superb. However, arriving at the night control well after 1am, in a fair sized group of competent cyclists (so not that slow), I was 3 hours behind my planned ETA and (after quickly eating, showering, and changing) had only time for an hours sleep to get back on schedule to set out at dawn. And I still hadn't yet fully comprehended what was in store.

But on day 2, after only a few hours pedalling, we turned left out of an innocuous valley on to a steady climb, which turned into a steep, long climb, which turned into a mountain, that kept climbing and climbing into the clouds above, and I finally started to realise this was going to be really very hard.

By the evening of a hard day two, after a never-ending series of 20%+ leg testers around the Pembrokeshire coast, we finally reached the amazing 'van of delights' control as the sun began to set. I felt happily punch drunk on the combination of achievement, views, exhaustion, sun, and sleep depravation. After missing the rain while shopping in Carmarthen Tesco @ 10pm we headed North through the darkenss, up the long steady climbs on wet roads back to the night control, not much further behind schedule, which was good. How hard could day 3 be?

Most people at the control ahead of me, which meant it was quiet: enough time to quickly shower and change, sleep for an hour and a half, before getting up, out, and off out again in the damp grey dawn for the Devils Staircase.

Tired and quite slow, the next couple of hours were a highlight of the ride: regrouped overnight, the slower riders (like me) set off earlier, the faster ones sleep longer, and catch us - pretty much everyone saw everyone again on the way to Tregaron, as the sun rose over the dew-covered mountains.

The first control was ridiculous: approaching, it was clear there was something (else) epic ahead: with only 3km to go the very fastest riders were just passing me on the retrace to join the route - they'd overtaken me a long long time ago. And so it was - a steep long climb out of a valley to a ridge, right, and a 500m of vertical descent down a tiny lane to an ancient farm house at the bottom of the same valley. Park. Control. Eat. Drink. And retrace.

I did check that John Hamilton doesn't cycle round Wales asking people at the bottom of massive hills if they'd be a control and (although he might do that) in this case the home owner was an audaxer.

So as I set off, for the first time ever, my bike got pushed. I've often ridden at the same speed as people pushing, but it'd always been a badge of honour that my audax bike had never been pushed. But this was so steep, my legs were already very tired, and there was a long, long, long way to go. I had thought it'd be many years before I had to push, and didn't expect to be anything like as happy about it when the day came. This ride was superbly hard. In a perverse way it felt great to be in the midst of such a challenge that was testing me harder than ever.

Then came the long valley climb to the reservoirs of Rhyader, and then the thousand steep valleys on the road to Llandios, and then the enormous hulk of a mountain to Machynlleth, and finally the beautiful rolling coast of north wales at sunset towards and the van of delights. Barmouth bridge, with a big group, and then heading off up a valley to Snowdonia.

But now I was tired, and worried: when planning the ride I'd figured I'd be at the night control at around midnight. But at 11, instead of heading up from Llanberis over the final pass of the day, I was still pedalling up a hill far from LLanberis, indeed still heading North, and clearly going to be on the road until well after 2am.

That was hard. I decided to pack at the next control. I promised myself if I finished I could DNS the 24hr TT, which helped. Eventually, I tried to stop thinking about how hard it was, and just pedal. That worked.

At the Northern most point info control our little group joined up with a couple more, and we all finally turned South East again. It was a great relief: now every turn of the pedals was heading us in the direction of the finish and with a murmur of chat which made the miles pass, we pedalled on.

My light batteries died at the bottom of the pass at Llanberis - it being over an hour after I'd been expecting to stop. By the time new batteries were found, and the old removed and changed, the group had gone. I had the pass to myself.

A beautiful quiet starlit night, pedalling up and up in the darkness with the front light off, only the grey starlight, and shadows of the night. No wind. Silence. It could have been a low point, but it was the opposite: a real highlight of the ride. The group waiting for me at the top, resting on the benches, was the spirit of this event.

Fast descent to the final night control, full to the brim with sleeping cyclists. Whispers, blankets, tea, food, and a corner to sleep.

I calculated just 40 minutes sleep would have to do: longer would mean the average speed for the last 100km might be unsustainable through the relentless terrain... and so our group set off in the cool dawn light, pretty much the whole ride setting off within an hour of each other and spreading out into a long thin line on the climb after the first info control.

After a few more stiff climbs, a quick early morning coffee at a farmer's roadside cafe before Bala, kind of revived our tired group, and then off to climb Bwlch y gros.

Vernwy control, just in time, and then off with the other stragglers to chase back to Upton. Even though I was within the Els Vermulen 'always achievable 6 hours for the last 100km window' it was a fairly frantic start, but as the descents continued, the climbs shortened, the flats lengthened, and our average speed picked up, the sense of urgency fell away.

The last 50k we were down to a group of 3 working together, we metered out the effort to finish in time. “Precision audaxing!” I said 500m from the end, with 15 minutes in hand, disbelieving shakes of the heads from my two companions. We had dug deep.

We were the last 3 to control in time. 2 more out of time, and almost 30 DNFs behind them.

Mille Cymru was a relentlessly hard adventure. Stunningly beautiful route, excellent controls, lovely volunteers, and a great atmosphere on the road, much bolstered by the superbly crafted night-time regroup.

I had significantly underestimated the challenge: it left me feeling even more wrecked than my first sleepless finishing-just-in-time Wessex 4 and 600's – despite the thousands of long-distance and AAA miles I've done since – and is, of course, all the more satisfying a memory because of that.




Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2017, 11:06:43 am »
Likewise... although it might be too big for me. I need to see how I do in the BCM...

Unless you're being super modest, in general, I think if you have to see how you do on the BCM then you won't make it round the MC1K... Last time I'd finished the KSW600 in daylight, having had 90 minutes sleep in Bude ...and I only just made it round (15 minutes to spare) sleep was 1hr night 1, plus 1hr, plus 40minutes.

It was brutal.

The BCM goes north / south the easy way up all the valleys, and the fast way down them, the MC1K feels like it crosses them East/West and back again. And has a loop along the coast which is along a windy beach, up a headland, down a headland, along a windy beach [repeat] ... the drop out rate was high last time – You just can't 'will' your way around this one, the hills are really steep, and frequent.
I did the BCM LAST year. I finished at 18.30 having spent a relaxed 7 hours in a B&B in Penrhyndeudraeth. Do I stand a chance of completing this? Aim sure I read the mille cymru is not as hard as mille penines. Or is it harder? 17000metres and the description above makes it sound very hard.
   E = 77  SR = 2

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 11:55:56 am »
Likewise... although it might be too big for me. I need to see how I do in the BCM... but by then it might be too late to enter the Mille... on the other hand I hate to enter events and then DNS (even more so when they are 70 quid or so)...  dilemmas...  ??? ???

I'm pretty sure that I've seen some references to your times on previous rides and if memory serves they're very quick, reckon you'll be fine on the BCM and MC.

I did the BCM LAST year. I finished at 18.30 having spent a relaxed 7 hours in a B&B in Penrhyndeudraeth. Do I stand a chance of completing this? Aim sure I read the mille cymru is not as hard as mille penines. Or is it harder? 17000metres and the description above makes it sound very hard.

7 hours in a B&B  :o 7 HOURS :o :o ... jeez the one time I completed BCM I got a couple of hours kip and finished with a couple in hand, you'll be fine. Think I'll be giving it a go and logging the same sort of schedule that Andy P describes (at best)

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2017, 12:30:21 pm »
Ha! So. Worried I might have exaggerated I wondered if I'd written an email with the sleep etc. recorded, and found an account of the ride I'd ridden... I don't think I posted it anywhere, and reading it now it feels like it captures some small part of the huge effort involved. for me it was the hardest thing I've ever ridden. That 3rd night was so hard. and so slow. there were a couple of hours I was broken and sure I'd pack when I got to the control. Anyway ladies and gentlemen, if you've got time spare, pull up a chair: this is what I made of the last MC1K:



I did look at your ride on Strava a few days ago, among that of others. Your average moving speed was very low, which makes things harder,  as you are constantly chasing and never have time to rest, which in turn makes you more tired and slower. Chapeau for completing!!

My comment about the BCM is I want to see what is my average moving speed... if it's 24 km/h, then I have a fighting chance to keep the average above 20 in the MC1K, if it's 21 or 22, then I would be in the same position as you were, struggling to average 18. At this stage, it is a question mark.

I know over a similar terrain to the MC1K I can keep 22-23 km/h moving speed for 200 km, but that obviously is not sustainable over longer distances. That is however the golden ticket, as it gives you plenty of time to rest. I've done a few calculations (admittedly inspired by Peter Lewis article about LEL on Arrivee) and worked out that below 20 km/h moving speed, it becomes too much of a struggle, constantly being on the "out of time" line.

This is my Peter Lewis inspired BCM chart... green line is 24 km/h, red line is 20 km/h  30-45 min stop at each control except the night, which I planned at 4+2. It's a simplistic model that assumes constant speed. Peter's model was far more advanced


hillbilly

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2017, 12:38:39 pm »
We are somwhat spoiled with choice for the ultra long rides these days.

I feel the kindlings of want, for the precious MC1K.  That said, based on last time, if I decide to do it I won't be doing any other Welsh rides (or at least very few) in 2018 as by the time I did John's ride I was bored of Cymru and packed through lack of motivation.

andyp

  • Andrew Preston
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 12:53:30 pm »
I did the BCM LAST year. I finished at 18.30 having spent a relaxed 7 hours in a B&B in Penrhyndeudraeth. Do I stand a chance of completing this?

yes. if you're in the same shape, no problem: with me as a benchmark of only just finishing with a Wessex series, and finishing a KSW with 3hrs to spare, and 90 mins sleep under my belt that year means that that sort of form – + Mille Pennines experience – would be absolutely fine.

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 01:06:32 pm »
I did the BCM LAST year. I finished at 18.30 having spent a relaxed 7 hours in a B&B in Penrhyndeudraeth. Do I stand a chance of completing this?

yes. if you're in the same shape, no problem: with me as a benchmark of only just finishing with a Wessex series, and finishing a KSW with 3hrs to spare, and 90 mins sleep under my belt that year means that that sort of form – + Mille Pennines experience – would be absolutely fine.
To be clear I don't have mille pennies experience. The only 1000km I have ridden was Rondon Luxemburg which I found surprisingly hard. Although losing my main front light between st Pancras and brussels was a major factor. (Relying on headlight was ok until it ran out of juice on night 2 leaving me emergency bivvying arriving at my planned sleep control 5 mins inside time in the morning,) and deciding to pack during atrocious weather on day 3 before recovering to finish.
I think BCM is not as hard as the southwest 600s mainly because the descents are benign, yes there is a lot of climbing, but all that height gets fed back to you at a reasonable rate, so no throwing it all away braking on steep twisty descents. This is key to maintaining a good average speed i think.
   E = 77  SR = 2

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2017, 01:11:44 pm »
I think BCM is not as hard as the southwest 600s mainly because the descents are benign, yes there is a lot of climbing, but all that height gets fed back to you at a reasonable rate, so no throwing it all away braking on steep twisty descents. This is key to maintaining a good average speed i think.

It's typically the advantage of Welsh rides over those in the North and South West. Little joy climbing Honister, Hardknott and Wrynose, as the descent is just as slow and painful. On the other hand Llamberis pass  ;D

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
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Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2017, 02:36:31 pm »
I read the mille cymru is not as hard as mille penines. Or is it harder? 17000metres and the description above makes it sound very hard.

I've done the Mille Cymru successfully and the first day of the Mille Pennines.  I'd say they are similar in difficult of climbing and roads but (I'm sure Andy won't mind me saying this) the Mille Cymru is slightly better organised with a nicer sleep stop control.  I didn't realise there was a Mille Cymru next year.  I want to have another shot at the Mille Pennines.  Too little time, too many rides
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andyp

  • Andrew Preston
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2017, 02:54:58 pm »
...which I found surprisingly hard.
yep. that's what I find too: For me it's the extra night out at 600km pace which makes 000's hard. MC1K was/is 20km over distance too, which is basically at least an hour less sleep as well.

I think BCM is not as hard as the southwest 600s mainly because the descents are benign, yes there is a lot of climbing, but all that height gets fed back to you at a reasonable rate, so no throwing it all away braking on steep twisty descents. This is key to maintaining a good average speed i think.
The thing that the MC has in common with the Wessex rides is the huge number of like-being-kicked-in-the-quads 20%+ climbs. If you're not ready for/able to do them, they just sap your strength in the way than an alpine-like drag never will. John might come along to tell me I'm wrong, but word on the ride was that around 20% packed on the first night after 268km... and I think the overall DNF rate was over 30%  :o

Another trip down memory lane, my photos of the last one here: http://bit.ly/2x20fmP. It is awesome.

Anyway, great incentive to ride over the winter to build fitness, lose weight, and to do the Wessex series in the spring. It nearly broke me, but I loved it, and I'll be on the start line if at all possible  :thumbsup:

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2017, 03:24:23 pm »
Nice pics Andy !

Looks like it was a 'four seasons' sort of ride (looks like you experienced all of them !).

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2017, 04:43:38 pm »
...which I found surprisingly hard.
yep. that's what I find too: For me it's the extra night out at 600km pace which makes 000's hard. MC1K was/is 20km over distance too, which is basically at least an hour less sleep as well.


The problem is exactly pace. If you can do your 300 km daily duty in 15 hours, then you've got plenty of time to recover... if it takes you 20 or over, then you're screwed.

Realistically for a "solid" ride on MC1K one should be looking at 45 hours on the saddle. The quickest I have found on the Strava database did it in 49 (there is a 40 but it's been flagged)... so I assume 45 is very difficult and 50 is the next best thing. I think 50 is borderline, you need to choose your food stops wisely to avoid wasting precious time.

Basically, the way it seems to me is that time management is on the essence... the longer the distance, the more it becomes a priority.

I am quite good at short stops, so maybe I have an advantage there, but I am not good at falling asleep quickly, so there is a disadvantage there... even more so in a noisy dormitory.
Permanent might be a more viable route for me, more flexibility on timings, more options for time management. The older permanent route goes through the same village 3 times... just a matter of booking a B&B for three nights...

Pete Mas

  • Don't Worry 'bout a thing...
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2017, 05:05:51 pm »
Was the 2nd edition of MC1K harder than the first? I rode the first, with about 3hours sleep then 2 hrs the next night then no sleep the last night - just ate and pushed on, and finished with maybe 3 hrs in hand. Mind you, I remember we had very favourable weather conditions for Wales. For comparison, I used to ride BCM on about half an hours sleep, and finish with 2 hrs in hand or so.
''It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive."

R.L.Stevenson

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2017, 05:12:48 pm »
I got decent sleep on nights 1 and 2 of the 2010 MC1K. I rode that year's BCM in 36h30 with 4h sleep.

I never tried the 2014 edition, having been too busy with work - I did hear it was harder.

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2017, 06:29:55 pm »
At a rough guess I think 2014 edition had about 2000m meter more climb? (17k vs 15k)


Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2017, 07:27:54 pm »
Mille Cymru territory is in a different league to Bryan Chapman. The Pembrokeshire Coast is similar to Devon and Cornwall with short super steep climbs and descents. The descent and climb out of the control near Devils Bridge as well as the Devils staircase are super tough. I'd compare Mille Cymru with the Pendle 600 or the Kernow and Southwest 600 which are amongst the toughest calender 600s - just add 400k more of the same. In 2014 I did Mille Cymru in 73 Hours. For comparison I did LEL in 92 hours this year, an extra 440km in just 19 hours extra riding time.

LEL in a hurricane is a nice jolly compared to Mille Cymru in the sunshine with a tailwind.  :demon:

But don't let that put you off  :) It's an amazing ride through constantly stunning landscapes and countryside and you won't believe how many places in wales start with Lla.....

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
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Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2017, 08:21:14 pm »
Was 2014 harder? Hard to tell. I'm a 2010 veteran. You can only ride the event that is put in front of you :P

Is this the correct route for the 2014 version?
https://ridewithgps.com/trips/4381285

Mille Cymru territory is in a different league to Bryan Chapman. The Pembrokeshire Coast is similar to Devon and Cornwall with short super steep climbs and descents.
Agree about the coastal bit, but its saving grace for me was bunging it all in one leg. I just mentally ring-fenced that bit as a section where I would average about 14kph and that is that. It made the other 900-odd km seem quite rideable! There really weren't very many daft chevron bits inland, with quite a few nice descents -  I don't go to Wales without some nice descents on the menu.

Overall it seems that 1000k+ UK rides are getting tougher (except LEL - we all know 2009 was the hardest edition). Speaking from the full-value end, this is a shame. Opinions will vary, but I don't like rides that turn into sleep-deprivation challenges, and that is how the welsh and pennine 1000s have been for all the "less fast" riders. Having said that, MC1k changed routes quite a lot for 2014 - assuming above route is correct - so I shall wait-and-see what JH does for 2018.
I suspect that the rumoured scottish event will be more palatable :)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2017, 09:14:05 pm »
Mille Cymru 2014 was the hardest ride I have ever done.

Day 2 was definitely the worst. Although on paper this had the least climbing, it was all concentrated on short and viciously steep climbs on the Pembrokeshire coast. If you can survive this, and the Devil's Staircase at the beginning of day 3, you can get round. I managed it finally with an hour to spare, but after that section really had no worries about running out of time.

The other big problem on the event was the temperature. Overnight on day 3 it came close to freezing, the Betvs-y-Coed night control looked and felt like a refugee camp. Wales definitely has weather.

After all these warnings, it is a great event. Just be prepared for it to be really, really tough.

Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2017, 09:31:07 pm »
Mille Cymru 2014 was the hardest ride I have ever done.

Just when I was thinking I love Wales maybe this should be my big ride, someone says something like this and Borders of Belgium is looking good again.
   E = 77  SR = 2

andyp

  • Andrew Preston
Re: Mille Cymru 2018
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2017, 10:14:18 pm »