Author Topic: The Irish Mail. 21st May.  (Read 6027 times)

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #50 on: May 21, 2011, 07:58:20 pm »
My admiration to those who manage to stick this one out and my sympathies to those with the sanity to find shelter elsewhere and a nice warm train home.  Some how my own illness makes the DNS less frustrating..
KIDDERMINSTER KILLER AND CLEE AUDAX, 20th July 2019; SOUTH SALOPIAN, 5th Oct 2019. http://beaconrcc.org.uk/audaxes/

Paulapops

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #51 on: May 21, 2011, 09:16:04 pm »
Everybody came into Pete's Eats absolutely drenched this afternoon. The weather in this part of Snowdonia has been appaling all day and doesn't seem to be getting any better. Well done all for getting back out into it...

JohnHamilton

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #52 on: May 21, 2011, 09:29:18 pm »
rain is steady but not heavy in glyndyfrdwy. no one arrived yet

vorsprung

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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #53 on: May 22, 2011, 10:01:08 am »
It was wet.  My cyo stopped working before dark.  Achilles from last weekend flared up again.  Got lost in the last 10k.  A bit of a classic :)
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αdαmsκι

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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #54 on: May 22, 2011, 01:20:54 pm »
If adamski's packed, then it must be pretty tough going.

It was horrible going over Pen y Pass, but by the time Chris N and I were in Bangor it was dry and the sun was appear. However, the issue for me was head-related rather than anything to do with the weather, or my physical state. Too much work, stress and a lack of sleep.

I did get to explore new parts of Wales, such as Bwlch y Groes and avoided the worst of the weather :thumbsup:.

Thanks for Mark EDIT: John :facepalm: sorry :-[ and others for running the event.
What on earth am I doing here on this beautiful day?! This is the only life I've got!!

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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #55 on: May 22, 2011, 01:29:28 pm »
The weather definitely made that quite tough. Gusting, swirling winds and rain on the descent into Llanberis; I had to stop to check there wasn't something wrong with the bike!
Pete's Eats saw me change into the full Goretex gimp outfit, which was very welcome over the next few miles. I did get chance half way across Anglesey to strip it all off and get my other clothes dried a bit in the wind. The rain came down again as we left Holyhead, into raging headwinds.

The climb up to Llyn Ogwen was tough; again hard headwinds, sometimes pushing you almost to a standstill, with hard driving rain exfoliating any exposed skin then fast random gusts pushing the bike across the road. Once the corner was turned alongside the lake this turned into a strong tailwind, though headwinds and rain returned later.

For the first time I was through Betwys-y-Coed in daylight, and at Glyndyfrdwy before midnight. I lingered there for a while with ChrisN and Andy Cox. One rider came in, stripped off most of his clothes and ended up huddled in blankets by the radiator.

I eventually left about 12:30, just after PaulD vorsprung turned up. Got to the finish about 3:45 - something like 4 hours taken off my PB  :thumbsup:

Many thanks to all the U.N.Dulates and all the helpers, another good ride.

And, after Blacksheeps frankly half-hearted efforts on the BCM, U.N.Dulates showed how to deliver the true Welsh weather experience  :)

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #56 on: May 22, 2011, 03:57:45 pm »
That was hard.  After the destruction of tandem and stoker on the BCM, I had a week to sort out a viable steed for this one.  I eventually decided to defile the carbon fibre with dyno hub, edelux, Brooks, Carradice and race blades.  A busy week meant that I had just a couple of miles of shakedown ride, so arrived at the start with everything largely untested.

The run out to Vyrynwy was a bit fast for comfort, but I tucked into the bunch and made the most of the tow.  A quick bite and I cast off alone on the road around the reservoir, which was lovely as ever.  Rode around MattH on the climb, but my lack of gear range meant I had to attack the Bwlch Climb and press ahead.  This was relatively easy and most notable issue was a nearly with a dropped tree on the decent. 

The climb from Llanuwchllyn to Trawsfynydd was next.  I managed to strip down to Short sleeve for this bit and made steady progress with the wind gusting all around.  At the A470, it was time to head south for a couple of miles and to begin to feel the might of the southerly.  A quick cake and a coffee and I was soon heading north again, mental ticking off 2 of the 4 big climbs of the day. 

I skipped the laney bit through Maentwrog and followed the main road down to the valley floor and the turning for Rhyd.  The climb past Tanybwlch station was fairly sedate with the tailwind and I was soon down the other side.  Round about the 130km Mark, the first rain of the day started.  I foolishly followed the proper route to avoid Beddgelert and ended up with a lot of avoidable climbing and some hairy descents on loose gravel where I was lucky not to puncture the skinny 20mm tyres.  I was soon back to the familiar terrain of Nant Gwynant and heading up towards Pen y Pass.  I had a useful tail wind up the Gwynant, but some serious gusts were in play when turning towards the pass.  This coupled with some high quality driving made for an interesting climb.  The descent was nasty with horizontal rain cutting into my face and a slow car in front plus brake fade making me concentrate hard to stay upright between gusts.

Pete's was a welcome respite and gave time to reflect that the 4 big climbs were done.  I was soon back out there again on the familiar road down to Felinheli and then the climb to Parc Menai past the Faenor estate.  Then it was time for some off-piste.  Pont Brittania and a surprisingly quiet A55 were the order of the day and I made good time to Holyhead with gusting side winds for company.  I managed to blag a stamp in Morrisons and then came what was always going to be the nasty bit.  Heading east, it was clear that the wind had rather more Southerly than Westerly components.  This was confirmed when the route swang South into what must have been a F7-8 gale down to Rhosneigr.  Riding first gear on the flat is never good for morale and the mind inevitably wondered to how nice it would be to pack and warm up.  After a long slog, Rhosneigr gave way to Aberffraw and the info control.  From there on things were a little better and I wasn't sorry to not be staring at any more surfer-filled beaches. 

Before long it was off-piste again and I cut across via Bethel to pick up the A55 just after Llangefni.  The wind was a bit more problematic this way, but the smooth surface still allowed me to pick up speed.  I was soon skirting Menai Bridge and heading across the Telford Bridge.  From there it was time for a quick diversion to Bangor Uni to see Jasmine, pick up some supplies and nick her rainlegs.  Bangor to Bangor services took a long time and hopes that the wind would abate after Mon seemed dashed.  Not sure how, but I left Bangor services colder than I'd arrived and with a nice bout of acid indigestion that would be with me to the end.

The climb through Bethel and Cwm Ogwen was into a raging headwind with some of the strongest gusts yet.  Luckily, Chris N caught me up and I was able to wheel suck to the lake at the top.  We passed MattH on the climb.  I lost Chris at the top, but was surprised to see no wind.  A fast run to Betws followed and I was soon climbing again.  It took for ever to get to the top of the Conwy and Ceregydrudion was an eternity beyond that.  From there it was mainly down through Mairde and Rhug to Corwen where there were more familiar landmarks and lower altitude riding. 

I got to Glandyfrydwy at 23:30 and was a little too comfortable there with the warm and dry plus hot drinks a plenty.  I contemplated a bit of kip as my back hurt, but ultimately talked myself into pushing on for the final 60km, leaving a little after 1:00.

The run back is a bit of a blur, but I did stay true to the route and avoided the A5.  There were a few pockets of revellers around, which I managed to blast past before they saw me.  Some of the lanes were super skoggy, but the 20mms survived.  About half way back the rain stopped and there were even a few stars and the moon peaking through at the end.  I made it into the arrivee at about 3:30 and was in the early light of dawn by the time I was ready to get some kip.

Miraculously the bike worked very well given how little time I'd had to set up.  So with a couple of improvements that's my PBP rig.  Speaking of which after 1000 mainly wet and wild km in an 8 day period, I'm hopefully all qualified and bound for Paris, paperwork allowing.

Many thanks to John, Linda and team.  Well done to all finishers and comiserations to those who didn't.  This ride beat me in 2008 in very different conditions (hot), but can now be ticked off of the todo list...

Andy
'Accumulating kilometres in the roughest road conditions'...

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #57 on: May 22, 2011, 05:18:07 pm »
I was a late entry and knew what the forecast was likely to be.
But for some reason I felt compelled to go back and attend to unfinished business from 2007 [where I had to pack due to rim failure].
It was also a week after the Bryan Chapman and cyclists like me [who don't actually cycle very much!] need to respect recovery for at least 2 weeks.
So, all being said - there can be no complaints, I put myself in the situation.

But.

That was. By far. In my limited Audax experience. The most difficult ride I have ever, ever done. God, it was hard.

And yet, all those who did this with a view of going to Paris gained an edge over those who didn't do it. Don't let that scare you though :-)

I'm sure the more experienced riders have tales of 'you should have been there for this that and the other', but for me, with rides ridden so far, I will never forget the Irish Mail of 2011.

Many thanks John, Linda and all helpers.
Garry Broad

StephenR

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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #58 on: May 22, 2011, 08:09:25 pm »
What a ride! Took it easy out to Lake Vrnymy and had coffee sat out in the sun. Passed a couple of riders up to Bwlch Y Groes and just missed the tree on the descent. On the Second Mountain road it got quiet windy and this was the start of the day's fun and games. Teamed up with two other riders (Andrew and Dave) halfway through the third section, and we stayed together to the finish.

Nightmare going over Penn y Pass and Pete's Eats was full of wet Cyclist and walkers. Rain eased off for the first part of Anglesey but sarted again in Llanngefni and rained to Holyhead. The customers in the Tesco Garage were quite shocked by how far we had cycled and where we going back to. Even the local Police were full of praise and advised us to stay off the A55. Some awful headwinds back to Bangor but it was at least dry for this section.

Started to rain again as we left the Little Chef, and it rain all the way to Glyndyfrdwy. At times we were almost blown to standstill and then we were flying along at 45kph. Some welcome food and warmth in the hall at Glyndyfrdwy, and it had stopped raining by the time we left for Upton Magna.

All in all a very different ride from 2009 when it was sunny,warm and only a light wind. Took me about 4 hours longer that 2009 when I finished at just after 0100.

Thanks to Andrew and Dave for the company and to Jonh,Linda and his team for another well run event. 
The land at the end of our toes it goes on and on and on and on

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #59 on: May 23, 2011, 09:19:03 am »
Even the local Police were full of praise and advised us to stay off the A55.

 >:(

Hopefully due to the roadworks rather than because the road is 'dangerous'?

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #60 on: May 23, 2011, 09:19:24 am »
Certainly was a wet and windy one. The sections from Holyhead to info control and leaving Bangor on A5 were some of the wildest conditions I've experienced in 10 years of AUKing. Progress was really slow and difficult in places, it's at times like these that riding in a group really helps, thanks John and Ray (ride partners par excellence again!). I'm surprised that more riders didn't try and stay together on the return stages from Holyhead. 

It was great to reach the Glyndyfrdwy control, dry out a little and have a 1st then 2nd helping of the pasta to re-fuel. Super organisation as usual. John H even had a pile of towels ready for incoming riders. We made good progress on the final stage continuing along A5 despite having our only delay of the ride, a front wheel p***ture for me. Apparently it had been dry all day in Shrewsbury but that changed as we approached with the heaviest deluge of the ride over the last few miles.

A ride I'll take satisfaction from by "getting on with it" in difficult conditions rather than enjoyable cycling as experienced in 2009. Next up BftE. Hope that this year's theme of strong headwinds as experienced on Severn Across, BCM and IM doesn't continue.   

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #61 on: May 23, 2011, 09:57:50 am »
Very wet & windy but supprisingly enjoyable ride with.  Great organisation from John, very tempted with the Offa's Dyke ride in 2 weeks time


JohnHamilton

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #62 on: May 23, 2011, 10:16:12 am »
It's been a few years since my last wet event (2008 Heart of Wales iirc) so I was overdue a taste of proper Welsh weather. I've paid the debt and then some after last weekend I reckon. The dragon certainly showed some teeth. 2007 was wetter, but the wind was the overwhelming theme this time round.

That said, given the conditions there was some good riding going on. Everyone finished in good time, and the general spread of times wasn't really any slower than in 2009. Well done to everyone who finished.

Final stats: 39 entries (slightly disappointing after lots of early entries a big tail off in the last 6 weeks), 27 starters & 22 finishers. The smallest field for any edition so far, and running a 400 is a lot of work (harder than the 600 I reckon). One of the options I'm looking at for next year is a 300 taking the best bits of this, missing out the boring flat bits on Anglesey and returning via Llyn Celyn, Bala and the Milltir Cerrig.

PS. There's still plenty of time to enter the Offa's Dyke / Clawdd Offa.

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #63 on: May 23, 2011, 10:30:40 am »
Well done to everyone who started and especially to those who finished.  There was some proper Welsh weather this weekend.  Anyone who rode this event can say they've experienced some proper Welsh rain and wind.  :thumbsup:

For anyone who has ever thought of moving to Wales because they've enjoyed riding here/ looking at the scenery - it's like this for about 4 months in the winter and random periods all year round. 

Manotea

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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #64 on: May 23, 2011, 11:16:59 am »
It was wet.  My cyo stopped working before dark.  Achilles from last weekend flared up again.  Got lost in the last 10k.  A bit of a classic :)

Another wet cyo victim? Have  you responded to my poll in The Knowledge? Hope you had a backup!

vorsprung

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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #65 on: May 23, 2011, 11:26:28 am »
Writeup and photos on the blog

I must admit I'm rather relieved to have got round OK and so get the final Brevet for the SR series
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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #66 on: May 23, 2011, 12:41:40 pm »
I had a pretty good time, considering the conditions.  Went off a bit quick but was trying to get to Llanberis for lunch rather than afternoon tea.  Brilliant lanes between Maentwrog and Llyn Pennant - definitely my favourite section, though the descent to Llanuwchllyn comes close.  Horrible going over the Llanberis Pass but nice to drip dry into the lentil soup at Pete's Eats.  I think the sun came out between Llanberis and Menai for about 15 seconds too, which was nice.

A bit of a lonely ride across Anglesey (after Adamski ditched me for a warm bed) and a slog into the wind back to Menai then up to Llyn Ogwen.  Superb tailwind assisted descent through a dry Capel Curig into Betws y Coed - 30mph on the flat!  The rain finally blew over as I approached Shrewsbury at about 2am and the last few miles were a whole two seasons away from Snowdonia.

9/15ths of PBP qualification done now. :thumbsup:

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #67 on: May 24, 2011, 11:01:22 pm »
I packed at the top of Llanberis Pass and spent the night in the Youth Hostel. The climb up to there in the wind and rain was horrendous and at the top I went and checked the meteo at the cafe. This suggested that worse was to come and, quite frankly I couldn't be bothered to spend another 12 hours soaked to the skin and frozen.
A good nights sleep at the hostel was spoilt by the fire alarm going off at 06:15. Breakfast was late as a result so finally left there at 09:00. The first part of the ride back was very fast with the tail wind but then the wind seemed to come from all directions and progress became less easy. Finally got back to the car at 13:30. Might have packed but still got 175 good quality miles in (already completed a 400km the previous week so no pressure).
Another 400km this weekend (Llanfair) and then its 600 time. Hopefully with better weather.

Thanks to John and Linda for organising another great event. Sorry I didn't finish!

Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #68 on: May 25, 2011, 08:52:21 am »
Writeup and photos on the blog

Thanks for another quality report, complete with interesting pictures. Quality ride, that.

Quote: "...too tired to be pleased as I rolled into the finish..."
An all-too-familiar feeling. Encouraging to see it described.

vorsprung

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Re: The Irish Mail. 21st May.
« Reply #69 on: May 25, 2011, 10:42:09 am »
I packed at the top of Llanberis Pass and spent the night in the Youth Hostel. The climb up to there in the wind and rain was horrendous and at the top I went and checked the meteo at the cafe. This suggested that worse was to come and...

You were right, there was worst to come in terms of weather.  When I went into the YHA to get a stamp it was very cosy, great place to take a rest
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