Author Topic: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020  (Read 1146 times)

Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« on: January 03, 2020, 02:12:23 pm »
It is here. No PBP qualifiers or LEL prep this year so a gratuitous series of BR AAA events to benefit from the extra time. (Almost) All ridden by myself in the past, some established, and honed to provide the best appreciation of hills across the South West and beyond, all with GWR links.

Sat 7th March - Wells, Mells & Broader! 200 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/wmb200
Sat 25th April - Bill's Easton Connection 300 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/bec300
Sat 9th May - Exe Barnstaple Branch 400 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/ebb400
Sat 9th May - Down & Black 200 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/db200
Sat 30th May - Devilishly Elegant 600 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/de600
Sat 11th July - A Bluestone's Throw 400 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/bst400
Fri 28th Aug - The Giant's Tooth 500 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/gt500
Sat 19th Sept - Chalke & hAAArd Cheese 200 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/caaac200

Interactive maps for each event in the links which also then link back to AUK registration.
Also shorter distances available on each day all with AAA points for a mini challenge. Full list of current GWR events here: www.gwraudax.co.uk/calendar-events

Kicking it off is the third running of Wells, Mells & Broader! 200 with 2.75AAA. Not only does it use the wonderful traffic free Colliers Way, a former railway, for a lovely descent into Radstock but also controls at Yeovil Railway Centre in the old transfer shed where freight was moved from broad to standard gauge rolling stock. 83 finishers in 2019.


Next up is the second outing of Bill's Easton Connection 300 with 5.00AAA. Making a beeline from Easton, Bristol to the coast and Easton, Isle of Portland, terminus of a GWR branchline and on to its Lighthouse at The Bill; use a couple of railway paths in the process, Weymouth was a GWR dock with steamers serving the Channel Islands. Then zig west along the Jurassic Coast before zagging back across the Dorset Hills with views of Cerne Abbas Giant. The final stretch challenges you to Shaftesbury's infamous Gold Hill before passing through Longleat Estate, using the 2Tunnels Greenway into Bath and one final push to get you back to the Arrivee. 58 finishers in 2019.


Then we have the Exe Barnstaple Branch 400 with 6.75AAA. Straight out of Bristol over its domineering Dundry Hill and into The Mendips to descend Cheddar Gorge. Cross The Levels and gently climb The Quantocks to plunge down to control at Bishop's Lydeard Station. Scale Exmoor passing below Dunkery Beacon. Then the fun begins along the North Devon Coastline; Porlock Toll, the brute out of Lynmouth, Valley of the Rocks to the western tip of Exmoor - this is the most arduous section gaining a massive amount of climb in a relatively short distance. From Ilfracombe use the old Barnstaple Branchline gently climbing The Slade Valley before rounding the headland at Croyde, pick up the old railway line again at Bruton into Barnstaple. Once more up onto Exmoor, another long climb. Run the southern ridge with views to Dartmoor before dropping down to pick up The Exe Valley to Bickleigh and Devon Railway Centre. Back east you go over the Blackdown Hills to Winsham for dinner (inc). The final leg home enjoys some respite to Wells before once more back across The Mendips and Dundry Hill.


An additional distance on the same day as above to give options for people's commitments. Down & Black 200 with 3.00AAA. As above but after Bishop's Lydeard Station you cut across into the Blackdown Hills to pick up the 400 return route benefitting from afternoon tea at Winsham.


Finally (I say finally as there is no alternative for this one, it is the pinnacle) there is the Devilishly Elegant 600 with 10.25AAA. This is the calendar version of my ACP SR 600 perm https://www.facebook.com/GWRaudax/photos/a.243710282767244/769053283566272/. First up you have The Cotswolds around Stroud to contend with. Then relax up the Severn Valley until to The Malverns, Herefordshire’s hills, Long Mynd and beyond. Cross the Severn once more and edge Berwyn to the Old Horseshoe Pass; IMHO this is the toughest bit. North to the Clywdians and descend Bwlch Penbarras. Over the hills and through Clocaenog Forest as the Milk Race once did. Then into Snowdonia to Llan Ffestiniog. More mountain roads as you climb Bwlch y Groes the ‘easy’ way before descending the hard to cruise down the Dovey Valley and around the coast. Up into the hills once again to Devil‘s Bridge stopping at the station of the Vale of Rheidol Railway; with locamotives made at Swindon’s GWR works it was the last state operated steam railway only becoming a charity when privatisation occured. Over to the Elan (Elegant) Valley and descend to the Wye; for a bit. Glorious hills to Hay-on-Wye, more hills, and views of Raglan Castle, to Chepstow before back across the bridge to the Arrivee.
Entry is open. The sleep stop is bijou: no bedding provided but sleepingbags & mats transported if you don't carry them yourself; simple evening meal and breakfast; no showers.


A new route for 2020 A Bluestone's Throw 400 with 6.75AAA - same as the other 400 so no easy option  :demon: . This has actually been on the cards for a long time after I ready about Craig Rhos-y-felin and it being one of the birthplaces of Stonehenge's bluestones; I do believe there was a Time Team or similar suggesting they floated them around the coast rather than dragged across land, some suggest it was actually the glaciers that deposited them from their source, but I digress...
Having crossed the Severn Bridge into Wales make your way to Usk following NCN42 with a superb drop down to the valley floor. Back lanes to Pontypool and the old road as you climb up for the first stop at ‘Breakfast in Bread’ – open early for you; then over to Crumlin. On to the spectacular Hengoed Viaduct; sold for £1 once the tracks were ripped up. Follow this old railway for a while then various cycle routes to first the Taff Valley, second the Cynon. Into the hills and follow NCN47 arching north above the Rhondda Valleys through forest and open hill tops on tracks and wind farm service roads before descending to the Neath Valley. Over to the Tawe. Remote hill tops to the Amman Valley. Into Carmarthan on rural lanes and out on more to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Craig Rhos-y-felin for an al fresco BBQ (by the stone outcrop subject to landowner confirmation). Now you are all ‘beefed’ up it is time to return. You will be thankful that you have put almost 2/3rds of the climbing behind you at this point! Head back to Carmarthen, bit of A40 here but there is an adjacent cyclepath should you wish to use depending on time of day. Enjoy the respite of ‘flat’ roads up the Towy Valley for a good 30km before climbing up to Usk reservior and over to Trecastle. The next 70km to Usk is all ‘downhill’ and easily navigable late in the evening with tired legs. Up once more then downhill to Chepstow and the bridge. Finally that last hill of the ride, small in comparison to what is behind you, will feel like a mountain!
This event compliments the visit to Stonehenge, Avebury and Woodhenge the following day and can be done back to back. www.gwraudax.co.uk/ptna200


Back for 2020 and an odd distance not usually found in an SR but it can be substituted for shorter distances, The Giant's Tooth 500 with 8.25AAA. Legend has it the Giant Bica lost his tooth on Llangrannog beach whilst eating berries from the cliff. The solitary rock is known as Carreg Bica, or Giant’s Tooth.
With a late start cruise to Sennybridge along the Usk Valley through the night before into the hills at Trecastle. Then the Towy Valley passing through Carmarthen. Now let the hills begin proper like as you head to Fishguard, a former GWR port with their steam ships serving Ireland, then skim along the coast to Llangrannog. Inland again to Tregaron and the infamous mountain road with its iconic phone & letterbox. Descending the Devil’s Staircase can be just as daunting as climbing it! Then across Sennybridge Ranges via Mynydd Bwlch-y-Groes stopping in Sennybridge this time. Buckle up for The Devil’s Elbow then you are into The Valleys, hopping across for the final leg home through Caerleon.


To round it all off the Chalke & hAAArd Cheese 200 with 3.00AAA; a variation of the popular winter route but hAAArder! You head out from Warmley Station along the Bristol to Bath Railway Path, now get ready as the similarity quickly fades. Vaulting over valleys to Frome, then more ups through chalk downs with glimpses of Fovant’s Badges to the Chalke Valley, named after a small tributary to the River Ebble emerging at Broad Chalke. After the control you turn back on yourself before continuing up the valley as the winter version did to Shaftesbury first climbing onto Charlton Down, the northern edge of Cranborne Chase; here you may see on the horizon The Needles if a clear day. Leaving the hilltop town behind the Mere thought of #wills_hills may dwindle, briefly, before passing East Somerset Railway, stopping at Cranmore Memorial Hall for CAKE laid on by the WI! Continuing up and atop The Mendips before descending to Cheddar for some cheese then, you guessed it, ascending its mighty Gorge for the final hint of the winter route as you traverse The Mendips to the Chew Valley and on to the Arrivée.


Cloth badge for all those completing the SR Series in one Audax season from the above selection; further details: www.gwraudax.co.uk/aaa-sr (artwork to follow soon)

Do you accept the challenge?

Happy New Year!

S2L

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2020, 03:33:26 pm »
are you talking about one Audax year or "any year" as in 12 months for the badge?

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2020, 03:35:35 pm »
are you talking about one Audax year or "any year" as in 12 months for the badge?

The longer ones won't be running next year so you'll be hard pressed to complete it other than this season. I'll update though.

S2L

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2020, 03:56:58 pm »
Yeahbbut one could start with the long ones and finish with the short ones next year... would that count or only AUK years count?

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2020, 04:06:00 pm »
No. One AUK season only. Back to Brunel's Billiard Table Series in 2021. I have my flatter 300 that I hadn't confirmed in time for last, plus I may swap out Wells, Mells for later in 2021 for seasonal variance.

There may be an additional AAA 200 later in 2020 within the season, just firming up the schedule at the mo.

I aim to do the AAA SR in non PBP & LEL years.

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2020, 07:46:09 pm »
The 600 will be very hard. A third more cimb again cf the Brimstone. CET will be able to say how many have completed his Cambrian 6C (similar amount of climb) as a BR (as opposed to an ACP SR600). Very few.

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2020, 09:29:39 am »
It is and I make no apologies for that. If I've managed it others will. For instance 21 (20 less me) completed TINAT 600 in time which had more climbing and off road sections.

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2020, 11:41:15 am »
Why would one apologise for a 'good thing': hard, Will? Was a complement. I note that the calendar event will be easier than the SR600 at BR pace: 2000m less climb - but with a Cotswold and Malverns yo-yo meander.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2020, 12:59:34 pm »
<the hilly 600>
It is and I make no apologies for that. If I've managed it others will. For instance 21 (20 less me) completed TINAT 600 in time which had more climbing and off road sections.

"more ... off road sections"  - at the risk of invoking Lynne Truss, does this mean your event DOES have off-road sections? I don't think it does (I've read the details), but wanted to clarify  :P
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: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2020, 07:23:36 pm »
Why would one apologise for a 'good thing': hard, Will? Was a complement. I note that the calendar event will be easier than the SR600 at BR pace: 2000m less climb - but with a Cotswold and Malverns yo-yo meander.

Haha, thanks  :thumbsup: - I was sat in a drop in clinic in pain feeling tetchy 2hrs into a wait having managed to rip a muscle holding my larynx in place by stifling a sneeze; the nurse said "never hold a sneeze in, even if you cover your mother in law in snot!"

I was hoping to have another event later in the season that all of this series would have built up too but that'll be for another time...

"more ... off road sections"  - at the risk of invoking Lynne Truss, does this mean your event DOES have off-road sections? I don't think it does (I've read the details), but wanted to clarify  :P

No, this is all road. Looking forward to the next TINAT 600 though  ;D

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2020, 11:40:52 pm »
What about doing the 200, 300, 400 and the super randonee? Worthy oc a cloth badge even if nit strictly an SR series?
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2020, 09:14:39 am »
What about doing the 200, 300, 400 and the super randonee? Worthy oc a cloth badge even if nit strictly an SR series?

Worthy for sure, but not part of the series :'(

S2L

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2020, 02:43:24 pm »
What about doing the 200, 300, 400 and the super randonee? Worthy oc a cloth badge even if nit strictly an SR series?

Worthy for sure, but not part of the series :'(

But you could be the game changer and award the badge...

Personally I think it's wrong that very hilly events don't allow for extra time over less demanding courses... especially for the very long brevets.
I appreciate it would be difficult to do things fairly across the board, but maybe a Super Randonnee should count as a BR 600 in view of its extreme terrain

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2020, 03:23:15 pm »
Except the super randonee rules that prevent it being used for other purposes
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2020, 03:42:23 pm »
Personally I think it's wrong that very hilly events don't allow for extra time over less demanding courses... especially for the very long brevets.
I appreciate it would be difficult to do things fairly across the board, but maybe a Super Randonnee should count as a BR 600 in view of its extreme terrain
Ride the SR600 for what it is, alone or with others (suggest of similar climbing ability). You need it for your ACP 10k Randonneur Award.
Ride a calendar AAAA BR 600 for what it is, and the pleasure of others' company.
Ride a hilly BR Permanent 600 (try @CET's Cambrian 6C :)) :)) ) in 42 hours and indulge in bragging rights for as long as you like.
Personally I think it's wrong that very flat (and not windy) events don't have a reduced time compared with more demanding courses... especially for the very long brevets.
"Life's not fair."

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2020, 10:18:17 am »
The Devilishly Elegant 600 is open!

Sleep stop in Llan Ffestiniog - basic it'll be, bag drop for your own sleeping bag, mat etc. Supper and breakfast provided.
It is at ~330km; you may consider this early for a 600 but you will welcome it where it is plus you will be able to soak up more glorious mountain roads at day break. If you are a hardy soul and quick on the hills by all means push on, I'll identify a 1* and 4* Audax Hotel on the final route notes; if so you may have the added bonus of an early morning chat with a local....
Sat 30th May - Devilishly Elegant 600 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/de600

A 'late' season additional 200 will be going on too eventually, perhaps the Giant's Tooth 500 depending on summer tour plans.

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2020, 01:33:32 pm »
UPDATE

I've added a few more throughout the season giving options for date clashes especially the additional A Bluestone's Throw 400 not in May. This one also compliments a non AAA 200 the following day visiting Stonehenge.

Full list here: www.gwraudax.co.uk/aaa-sr

Badge artwork to follow.

TOBY

  • hello
Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2020, 05:08:06 pm »
It is here. No PBP qualifiers or LEL prep this year so a gratuitous series of BR AAA events to benefit from the extra time. All ridden by myself in the past, some established, and honed to provide the best appreciation of hills across the South West and beyond, all with GWR links.

Sat 7th March - Wells, Mells & Broader! 200 - https://www.pedalution.co.uk/events/20-wells-mells-broader-200/
Sat 25th April - Bill's Easton Connection 300 - https://www.pedalution.co.uk/events/20-events/bills-easton-connection-300/
Sat 9th May - Exe Barnstaple Branch 400 - https://www.pedalution.co.uk/events/20-exe-barnstaple-branch-400/
Sat 30th May - Devilishly Elegant 600 - https://www.pedalution.co.uk/events/20-devilishly-elegant-600/

Interactive maps for each event in the links.
...
Great detail and Info Will  :thumbsup:

For some reason none of these links work for me I found I need to add in gwraudax/calendar-events to get them to work (although they get normalized back to the links above?)

https://www.pedalution.co.uk/gwraudax/calendar-events/devilishly-elegant-600/

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2020, 06:04:53 pm »
Delete the "20-" which appears in the links and you get there.

TOBY

  • hello
Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2020, 08:41:31 pm »
Delete the "20-" which appears in the links and you get there.

Ha! Yes, I hadn't noticed I'd inadvertently done that when going the long way round  ::-)

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2020, 09:23:56 am »
Thanks. New to this website stuff, learnt you shouldn't go changing things...

I'll update.

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2020, 10:05:24 am »
<the hilly 600>
It is and I make no apologies for that. If I've managed it others will. For instance 21 (20 less me) completed TINAT 600 in time which had more climbing and off road sections.

"more ... off road sections"  - at the risk of invoking Lynne Truss, does this mean your event DOES have off-road sections? I don't think it does (I've read the details), but wanted to clarify  :P

I thought I'd bung some 'off road' in the additional A Bluestone's Throw 400 to spice things up, I do believe some of this is now wind farm service roads, all part of the NCN and my valiant testers will give me a full run down in a month or so.

Re: Great Western Randonnées AAA SR 2020
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2020, 10:07:01 am »
For those that don't start from the beginning...
It is here. No PBP qualifiers or LEL prep this year so a gratuitous series of BR AAA events to benefit from the extra time. (Almost) All ridden by myself in the past, some established, and honed to provide the best appreciation of hills across the South West and beyond, all with GWR links.

Sat 7th March - Wells, Mells & Broader! 200 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/wmb200
Sat 25th April - Bill's Easton Connection 300 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/bec300
Sat 9th May - Exe Barnstaple Branch 400 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/ebb400
Sat 9th May - Down & Black 200 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/db200
Sat 30th May - Devilishly Elegant 600 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/de600
Sat 11th July - A Bluestone's Throw 400 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/bst400
Fri 28th Aug - The Giant's Tooth 500 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/gt500
Sat 19th Sept - Chalke & hAAArd Cheese 200 - www.gwraudax.co.uk/caaac200

Interactive maps for each event in the links which also then link back to AUK registration.
Also shorter distances available on each day all with AAA points for a mini challenge. Full list of current GWR events here: www.gwraudax.co.uk/calendar-events

Kicking it off is the third running of Wells, Mells & Broader! 200 with 2.75AAA. Not only does it use the wonderful traffic free Colliers Way, a former railway, for a lovely descent into Radstock but also controls at Yeovil Railway Centre in the old transfer shed where freight was moved from broad to standard gauge rolling stock. 83 finishers in 2019.


Next up is the second outing of Bill's Easton Connection 300 with 5.00AAA. Making a beeline from Easton, Bristol to the coast and Easton, Isle of Portland, terminus of a GWR branchline and on to its Lighthouse at The Bill; use a couple of railway paths in the process, Weymouth was a GWR dock with steamers serving the Channel Islands. Then zig west along the Jurassic Coast before zagging back across the Dorset Hills with views of Cerne Abbas Giant. The final stretch challenges you to Shaftesbury's infamous Gold Hill before passing through Longleat Estate, using the 2Tunnels Greenway into Bath and one final push to get you back to the Arrivee. 58 finishers in 2019.


Then we have the Exe Barnstaple Branch 400 with 6.75AAA. Straight out of Bristol over its domineering Dundry Hill and into The Mendips to descend Cheddar Gorge. Cross The Levels and gently climb The Quantocks to plunge down to control at Bishop's Lydeard Station. Scale Exmoor passing below Dunkery Beacon. Then the fun begins along the North Devon Coastline; Porlock Toll, the brute out of Lynmouth, Valley of the Rocks to the western tip of Exmoor - this is the most arduous section gaining a massive amount of climb in a relatively short distance. From Ilfracombe use the old Barnstaple Branchline gently climbing The Slade Valley before rounding the headland at Croyde, pick up the old railway line again at Bruton into Barnstaple. Once more up onto Exmoor, another long climb. Run the southern ridge with views to Dartmoor before dropping down to pick up The Exe Valley to Bickleigh and Devon Railway Centre. Back east you go over the Blackdown Hills to Winsham for dinner (inc). The final leg home enjoys some respite to Wells before once more back across The Mendips and Dundry Hill.


An additional distance on the same day as above to give options for people's commitments. Down & Black 200 with 3.00AAA. As above but after Bishop's Lydeard Station you cut across into the Blackdown Hills to pick up the 400 return route benefitting from afternoon tea at Winsham.


Finally (I say finally as there is no alternative for this one, it is the pinnacle) there is the Devilishly Elegant 600 with 10.25AAA. This is the calendar version of my ACP SR 600 perm https://www.facebook.com/GWRaudax/photos/a.243710282767244/769053283566272/. First up you have The Cotswolds around Stroud to contend with. Then relax up the Severn Valley until to The Malverns, Herefordshire’s hills, Long Mynd and beyond. Cross the Severn once more and edge Berwyn to the Old Horseshoe Pass; IMHO this is the toughest bit. North to the Clywdians and descend Bwlch Penbarras. Over the hills and through Clocaenog Forest as the Milk Race once did. Then into Snowdonia to Llan Ffestiniog. More mountain roads as you climb Bwlch y Groes the ‘easy’ way before descending the hard to cruise down the Dovey Valley and around the coast. Up into the hills once again to Devil‘s Bridge stopping at the station of the Vale of Rheidol Railway; with locamotives made at Swindon’s GWR works it was the last state operated steam railway only becoming a charity when privatisation occured. Over to the Elan (Elegant) Valley and descend to the Wye; for a bit. Glorious hills to Hay-on-Wye, more hills, and views of Raglan Castle, to Chepstow before back across the bridge to the Arrivee.
Entry is open. The sleep stop is bijou: no bedding provided but sleepingbags & mats transported if you don't carry them yourself; simple evening meal and breakfast; no showers.


A new route for 2020 A Bluestone's Throw 400 with 6.75AAA - same as the other 400 so no easy option  :demon: . This has actually been on the cards for a long time after I ready about Craig Rhos-y-felin and it being one of the birthplaces of Stonehenge's bluestones; I do believe there was a Time Team or similar suggesting they floated them around the coast rather than dragged across land, some suggest it was actually the glaciers that deposited them from their source, but I digress...
Having crossed the Severn Bridge into Wales make your way to Usk following NCN42 with a superb drop down to the valley floor. Back lanes to Pontypool and the old road as you climb up for the first stop at ‘Breakfast in Bread’ – open early for you; then over to Crumlin. On to the spectacular Hengoed Viaduct; sold for £1 once the tracks were ripped up. Follow this old railway for a while then various cycle routes to first the Taff Valley, second the Cynon. Into the hills and follow NCN47 arching north above the Rhondda Valleys through forest and open hill tops on tracks and wind farm service roads before descending to the Neath Valley. Over to the Tawe. Remote hill tops to the Amman Valley. Into Carmarthan on rural lanes and out on more to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Craig Rhos-y-felin for an al fresco BBQ (by the stone outcrop subject to landowner confirmation). Now you are all ‘beefed’ up it is time to return. You will be thankful that you have put almost 2/3rds of the climbing behind you at this point! Head back to Carmarthen, bit of A40 here but there is an adjacent cyclepath should you wish to use depending on time of day. Enjoy the respite of ‘flat’ roads up the Towy Valley for a good 30km before climbing up to Usk reservior and over to Trecastle. The next 70km to Usk is all ‘downhill’ and easily navigable late in the evening with tired legs. Up once more then downhill to Chepstow and the bridge. Finally that last hill of the ride, small in comparison to what is behind you, will feel like a mountain!
This event compliments the visit to Stonehenge, Avebury and Woodhenge the following day and can be done back to back. www.gwraudax.co.uk/ptna200


Back for 2020 and an odd distance not usually found in an SR but it can be substituted for shorter distances, The Giant's Tooth 500 with 8.25AAA. Legend has it the Giant Bica lost his tooth on Llangrannog beach whilst eating berries from the cliff. The solitary rock is known as Carreg Bica, or Giant’s Tooth.
With a late start cruise to Sennybridge along the Usk Valley through the night before into the hills at Trecastle. Then the Towy Valley passing through Carmarthen. Now let the hills begin proper like as you head to Fishguard, a former GWR port with their steam ships serving Ireland, then skim along the coast to Llangrannog. Inland again to Tregaron and the infamous mountain road with its iconic phone & letterbox. Descending the Devil’s Staircase can be just as daunting as climbing it! Then across Sennybridge Ranges via Mynydd Bwlch-y-Groes stopping in Sennybridge this time. Buckle up for The Devil’s Elbow then you are into The Valleys, hopping across for the final leg home through Caerleon.


To round it all off the Chalke & hAAArd Cheese 200 with 3.00AAA; a variation of the popular winter route but hAAArder! You head out from Warmley Station along the Bristol to Bath Railway Path, now get ready as the similarity quickly fades. Vaulting over valleys to Frome, then more ups through chalk downs with glimpses of Fovant’s Badges to the Chalke Valley, named after a small tributary to the River Ebble emerging at Broad Chalke. After the control you turn back on yourself before continuing up the valley as the winter version did to Shaftesbury first climbing onto Charlton Down, the northern edge of Cranborne Chase; here you may see on the horizon The Needles if a clear day. Leaving the hilltop town behind the Mere thought of #wills_hills may dwindle, briefly, before passing East Somerset Railway, stopping at Cranmore Memorial Hall for CAKE laid on by the WI! Continuing up and atop The Mendips before descending to Cheddar for some cheese then, you guessed it, ascending its mighty Gorge for the final hint of the winter route as you traverse The Mendips to the Chew Valley and on to the Arrivée.


Cloth badge for all those completing the SR Series in one Audax season from the above selection; further details: www.gwraudax.co.uk/aaa-sr (artwork to follow soon)

Do you accept the challenge?

Happy New Year!