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Report: Elan Valley Challenge

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Elan Valley Challenge
Event: 23 June 2013

Despite the appalling weather conditions, over 300 brave riders turned out to battle the elements in the Elan Valley Challenge MTB and sportive events on Sunday 23 June.


Starting from the Elan Valley Visitor Centre, riders began to leave in groups from 8am onwards, continuing to leave in waves until 10am, heading out to experience some of the toughest and most exhilarating cycling Mid Wales has to offer.

The weather was not on our side, with gale-force winds, heavy rain, hailstones on the high ground and low hanging cloud hiding mountain tops and a lot of the fantastic scenery. Unfortunately, the 130km MTB ride had to be cancelled as a result of the adverse conditions, but undeterred, most riders chose to carry on and do the 82km instead. This took them to Strata Florida, before heading towards the notorious Devil’s Staircase and looping over some wild, exposed mountain top moorland, back towards the finish line. This route would have been gruelling in the best conditions!

Other routes to choose from for the MTB riders were the 30km or the 50km, and all three of the remaining routes had over 1500m of climbing involved! These two shorter routes mainly stayed within Elan Valley itself, but with the strong winds still presented a challenge to all who cycled them!

As well as the MTB event, a sportive also ran, which included three routes for riders to choose from – 45, 73 or 87 miles. What the routes lacked in distance they most certainly made up for in ascents, with all three climbing over 1900m and including the Elan Valley, Nant-y-Moch and Devil’s Arch climbs.

Speaking after the event, riders were full of praise for a great days cycling. Despite the terrible weather conditions, everyone appeared to have had a good day out and they all clearly enjoyed the great home-made food at the feeding stations, which were, as usual, provided by Peter James MBE from the Drovers Rest in Llanwrtyd Wells.

One rider commented “great fun even in the horrible weather and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. Thanks to all involved in organising the event and here’s hoping for better weather next time!”

The next event from Red Kite Events is the Shropshire Devil 2 Sportive on 30 June. We are hoping for better weather this weekend – fingers crossed! Following this is the Breckland Devil Challenge, a mountain bike and sportive event, on 21 July at High Lodge in Thetford Forest.

The Summer XC Series is also still running at Coed Trallwm or Builth Wells every two weeks, with the next race on Wednesday 26 June.

For more information about any of the events mentioned above, or for others that Red Kite Events offer, as well as online entry forms, visit www.redkite-events.co.uk. To read more about the Elan Valley Challenge and the organisation behind these fantastic events, why not check out the Red Kite Events blog: http://redkite-events.blogspot.co.uk.

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