Velothon Wales 2018 : 4hrs 10mins including a puncture.

Posted on 12th Feb 2019

10 riders from the NFCC made a big effort to take part in Velothon Wales 2018. Phil Grant, Adam Conti, Matthew Cafferky, Rob Veal, Matt Veal, Ray Claridge, Phil Harris, Neil Stevenson, Bill Hayes and myself all travelled to Cardiff for an away team cycling weekend. After watching England find things surprising easy against Sweden, six of us attended the Villaggio Pizzeria for pre-ride carb loading (or over loading). Sunday was an early morning and after more fuelling at breakfast, we converged at 6am for the ride down to Cardiff where we met up the other NFCC riders staying at other hotels. Big Kudos to Bill Hayes for joining in. Sorry we didn’t stick together longer but I hope you enjoyed the Velothon and it was great that you came along. The first racers (riders) setoff at 7.00am onto closed roads which was just as well as the bunch was large and energetic. The early pace was brisk but reasonably comfortable as we were pulled along by the bunch. It was important to stay near the front as a few of the group found themselves the wrong side of splits in slower moving groups and didn’t get back on again. 6 of us pushed on and the bunch started to stretch on the first climb at Chepstow where Ray had a small mechanical. The remainder off us rolled through in groups or made up our own group and after the event it was surprising how many people came up at the finish and said what a good day the NFCC had. Another guy told us how their team was guessing we would struggle on the hills as the New Forest is quite flat and they were a bit surprised! We passed pretty Usk and over lumpy terrain before ascending the big climb of the day, The Tumble. I’d been told to expected lots of riders blocking the way but there was just the occasional rider to go by on the way up. We agreed to try and stay together and give or take a minute or so, pretty much did. Rob hung back for his brother Matt who also had a small mechanical and then went a bit too deep on the hill. Unfortunately that just left three of us to descend into the tricky cornered town of Bleanavon but riders were few and far between now. There were no groups left to join so we worked together where possible until somehow we split up on the hills and rode onwards towards Caerphilly on wide and deserted dual carriageways. Coming after about 75 miles, Caerphilly mountain is well placed to inflict discomfort. It starts easy but ramps up to 22% near the top where false hope is handed out by supporters shouting, “you’re nearly there!”. They lied. I pushed on here as the heat was starting to take it’s toll on Phil G but was rewarded by a slow puncture which finally gave up within sight on the line. I walked the final metres to the sound of the announcer telling the crowd all about it. Wonderful 4:10:46. Phil G and Neil finished within a few minutes and Ray pushed on to finish in 4:20 and give us a chance of a reasonable place in the team standings. Adam was discomforted by his knee problem but achieved various PR’s and saw the ride through to his credit. Phil H finished down on his time from last year but it was a hot day to be climbing welsh hills so that was probably par in reality. Thanks to everyone who joined in and made this an enjoyable if sticky weekend away.

Velothon strava ride