If you're looking for a great late-season test then type 'Ruthin Rugby Club' into your satnav and set off early this Saturday: the Gore Bikewear Road Sportive series is back in Wales and promising some tough climbing and amazing scenery, as well as the chance to get a bit of mud-plugging in on the Sunday.
There's two challenging courses this year and if our experiences are anything to go by you'll be rewarded with some of the best scenery Britain has to offer, as well as good company and a well-organised ride. The longer route also offers the chance to climb the Horseshoe pass, one of Wales' most iconic ascents. Both routes head out of historic Ruthin along the pastoral Vale of Clwyd towards the coast. The climbing starts as the route goes through the centre of Denbigh past its 13th century castle. The forty five milers head back to Ruthin through Clawdd-Newydd while the eighty mile route carries on to Bala and its famous lake before looping back to Corwen through the town centre and over the river before taking the scenic backroads towards Llangollen. Now comes the final challenge, the Horseshoe Pass. Chris Boardman still holds the record for the ascent here. Topping the final miles take in a descent of the Nant y Garth Pass before the return to Ruthin.
There's still places available for both routes, the entry cost is £25. You can enter on the day and camping's included if you fancy making a weekend of it. Bring your mountain bike too and you can enter the Merida Marathon on the Sunday; combined entry to both events is just £45 and there's a choice of four off road routes. The CycleActive team will also be on hand to help you (and your kids) polish up on your riding skills. There's a £5 surcharge for entries on the day. The weather forecast's looking good for the roads, and the trails are 'bone dry' according to course guru John Lloyd, so it should be a fantastic weekend of cycling.
The event is also your chance to try out some of Gore's latest technical gear: there will be samples of the latest men's and women's apparel to try out on the day. "All we ask", say Gore, "is that you treat them as your own for the day! Take them, ride them and return them. Bring them back to the Gore tent dirty, sweaty, ridden and rated and then leave the washing to us!". Sounds like an offer too good to refuse!
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.