I love riding sportives. There is something about sharing a route with so many cyclists that is really exciting, although all the sportives I have done most have been away from my local riding area.
But, this year, John Lloyd brought the 85-mile CycleOps Power Road Sportive to Llandovery, Wales, which is my home town. The chance to ride my training roads with a few hundred other people was not something I wanted to miss and I was intrigued by the route John would take.
Despite an overcast and drizzly start it stayed dry for the most part, although at times it was seriously windy. The first half had the majority of the climbing but also a tailwind which proved nice, lifting us up some of the early climbs.
After the first big climb the route settled down for a while, rolling over some undulating terrain. But before too long we enough we arrived at the triple threat of the Devil’s Staircase (25%), followed by Gamallt (20%) and Esgair Ffrwd (15%) – all within a few miles of each other. That really sorted everyone out and our little group had been blown apart.
Tregaron onwards looked to be the easier half, with much less climbing but a near constant head wind really made it hard work at times.
I was glad to be joined by another rider just outside Lampeter to give me a chance to shelter from the wind. A few more scenic climbs followed, some on open moorland and others within the trees of Brechfa Forest, which gave some shelter.
Knowing the roads well I was able to manage my energy, knowing what lay ahead. Apart from a few short, sharp climbs the final 15 miles was mostly flat and fast with a welcome tail wind again and I crossed the line well inside of the gold standard time.
Being a local and knowing the roads inside out I wasn’t sure what route the organisers might use – but they made the right choice, picking some of the most scenic spots and mixing it up with just enough climbing to make it tough and ensure the fantastic cakes on the finish line were well deserved.