After the successful first round of the new-for-2008 Gore Bike Wear Sportive series, the second round heads to Builth Wells, Wales, on 5/6 July.

The new series is part of the hugely popular Merida Bikes MTB Marathon series and takes place on the Saturday before, with the MTBers setting of on the following Sunday. Those seeking the extra challenge of taking part in both events – in what can only be described as a tough prospect – are welcomed, and rewarded with a discount on their entry fee.

Two routes are on offer, both starting from Whitehouse Farm Caravan Park, Builth Wells, an range from 40 miles to 80 miles.

The course:

The first feed station is at Abergwesyn, just beyond this there will be the split. The 40 mile route turning left towards Llanwrtyd Wells. The long route turns towards Tregaron. At 17.8 miles you come to the Devils Staircase, one mile long and very steep. This climb has been used on both the Milk Race and the Kelloggs Road Race

After the staircase you drop steeply, only to face another climb almost as steep and a bit longer. On descending from this second climb you will turn south down the Tywi Valley towards Llandovery, passing the second feed-station and checkpoint at 33.5 miles. The view from here overlooks the Llynbrianne Reservoir and will leave you in no doubt that you are riding through one of the most beautiful valleys in Wales. The road leads through Rhandirmywn passing The Royal Oak Public House.

On reaching Llandovery at 47 miles, you will turn east on the T-junction past the shop. At 54 miles you reach Cynordy, where you will turn right across a main road where special caution will be needed. Follow the road to Cefngorwydd via Tirabad, where you meet up with the short course competitors.

The route continues to descend to Llangammarch Wells, where you will turn right to Dolmenin Crossroads at 64.1 miles. Again turning right you encounter the next long climb over the Eppynt Military Range. This takes you towards Upper Chapel where you take a sharp left turn shortly reaching the last steep climb of the day. On reaching the top you then will be descending most of the way to Builth Wells.

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