INVITATION TO WALES
WELSH CYCLING WEEKEND – 18/19 MAY 2019
As those of you who were at the Ball in November will know, The Posse are hosting a Welsh Cycling Weekend on the 18/19 May 2019.
The weekend will be limited to a maximum of 40 riders. Entries will open on 21 January, and the entry criteria is very simple – the first 40 to pay get a place! After that, you’re on a waiting list!
We have a couple of days of spectacular riding planned, beautiful scenery, the occasional hill or two, and some famous Welsh hospitality! Here’s a bit more information:
We will be based in Monmouth (birthplace of Henry V) for the nights of Friday 17 May and Saturday 18 May, staying at the luxurious and beautifully-appointed Monmouth Premier Inn! Standard O2e quality, but a big improvement on the Calais detention centre that has featured in many O2e outings!
There is no bike storage, but Premier Inn are happy for bikes to be kept in the rooms.
Arrive in your own time on Friday evening.
There will be a nominated pub within walking distance of the hotel for meeting up that evening, and that will serve food. Just check in at the hotel, and come and join us!
We will be riding on Saturday and Sunday, with each day starting and finishing in Monmouth (see more information below about the rides).
Suitable after-ride fun and frolics will be organised for Saturday night.
Sunday’s ride will be slightly shorter than Saturday’s, to enable everyone to head home in reasonable time on Sunday afternoon / evening.
The routes will not be signed, and there will be limited support out on the road (probably emergencies only). Routes for each day will be downloadable to your Garmin (other brands are available!) in advance.
We will be splitting the riders up into 5 groups of 8 riders, according to ride ability. Each group will include one or two “locals” who know the routes well, and will have ridden them before. Each group will stay together during each ride.
To avoid groups bunching up, and to avoid everyone arriving at the stops together, the “quicks” will go out first each day, 15-20 minute intervals between each group, with the “slows” heading out last.
On entering, you will be asked to judge your ride category as “quick”, “slow” or “middle”. Please try your best to accurately describe your riding, no false modesty needed! It will help you, and those in the rest of your ride group, to have the most enjoyable day possible.
Each day’s ride will be based on a multi-stop strategy, with a mid-morning coffee stop, a lunch venue, and a mid-afternoon beer stop (or two!) not too far from the end. So plenty of opportunity to give weary legs a rest!
The routes are not overly long, but this is made up for by the climbing – enough to be a challenge, without being in the “Slattery-stupid” category! I’m sure that you know what we mean! They are however planned for enjoyment, not to reduce you to tears!
DAY 1 ROUTE – ABOUT 74 MILES / ABOUT 1800 METRES OF TOTAL ASCENT
Starting in Monmouth, we’ll be heading out through the picturesque Golden Valley and its vineyards, coffee stop after about 20 miles, then climbing onto the ridge above Hay-on-Wye for some great views.
Dropping down into Hay-on-Wye, and our lunch stop, about 40 miles in. You might want to keep off the beer here, the afternoon will have its challenges (and, of course, rewards!).
After lunch we will climb out of Hay towards Hay Bluff and Gospel Pass, the highest road point in Wales (yes, higher than anything in Snowdonia!). We’re in the Brecon Beacons National Park here, and if the weather is even half-way decent, the views from the top are truly spectacular!
From Gospel Pass, we drop down the beautiful Vale of Eywas, stopping at the ruins of Llanthony Priory. But there is more than just history behind our stop here – there’s a tiny pub in the crypt! Now it’s time for that pint that you wisely stayed away from at lunchtime!
Purely to avoid de-hydration, probably one more stop at the cycling-friendly Beaufort Arms in Raglan, then an easy 10 miles or so back to Monmouth, some gentle rollers, nothing serious.
Subject to being able to finalise the arrangements, we plan to finish the day at Monmouth Rowing Club for a swim in the River Wye, and a little “light refreshment” before heading back to the welcoming arms of the Premier Inn, followed by a night out in Monmouth.
DAY 2 ROUTE – ABOUT 55 MILES / ABOUT 1500 METRES OF TOTAL ASCENT
A shorter day today. Legs might be a bit weary from yesterday. Heads might be a bit fragile from last night. But with the odd kicker here and there, the route still gives us a not insignificant 1500 metres of climbing.
We’ll head out down the Wye Valley, an internationally protected landscape classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said to be one of the most dramatic and scenic landscapes in Britain.
Coffee stop at the spectacular ruins of the 12th century Tintern Abbey, before climbing gently towards the village of St Arvans and then a slightly more challenging climb up out of the Wye Valley bringing us to an escarpment with beautiful views out over the Usk Valley.
The route follows the edge of the escarpment for a while, before dropping down, crossing the River Usk via the 17th century “listed building” stone bridge at Newbridge-on-Usk, before looping around, and then back over, the Llanhennock ridge with more beautiful views over the Usk Valley.
Following the Usk Valley, our lunch stop will be at the 16th century White Hart in Llangybi, about 35 miles into our day. Maybe a small beer allowed with lunch today!
Then on through the town of Usk, continuing to follow the valley of the River Usk before climbing gently to Bettws Newydd, and onwards through the rolling hills to our final pit-stop at the Clytha Arms near Abergavenny.
From there, we have an easy 10 miles or so back to Monmouth, and the end of the ride.
Costs have not yet been finalised, but we currently estimate that the cost will be around £200-220 per person, to include:
- 2 nights accommodation, including breakfasts, on a shared-room basis.
- In-ride coffee and lunch stops each day (excluding booze), but not including the afternoon pub stops.
- Saturday night dinner (again excluding booze!)
- Posse “Welsh Weekend” souvenir t-shirt (we’ve all got so many ride shirts that we’re just doing t-shirts for this outing!)
This cost reflects purely the costs of staging the event. O2e makes nothing from this amount, and everyone, including the organisers, pays the same. You all know that there are no “free lunches” on O2e!
Whilst it will be great to see a bunch of you Southern Softies riding with us in Wales, we have to remember that there is a purpose to this, and that is to raise some money for O2e. We don’t need reminding what a great cause this is.
However, we also recognise the difficulty of getting sponsored – none of us can keep tapping up the same old faces for more and more dosh, however good the cause may be.
So for this event, when you sign up, you’ll be asked to make a donation to O2e, on top of the entry cost, of £100, £150 or £200.
The amount you add is entirely up to you and it won’t be made public. No pressure, but dig as deep as you can – if we all add at least a £150 donation to the ride cost, then O2e will make £6,000 from our weekend of fun.
We can really make a difference with £6,000.
The next update will follow in early January. Happy Christmas everyone!
Look forward to seeing you in Wales in May.
With loads of love from the Posse!