From Bewdley to the Black Mountains and beyond.
Yes, the 5th May is a Friday. A great day for those escaping the drudgery of the work place or those living the life of leisure.
In audax lingo, Hay Skivers is an x-rated event. In other words, no gold plated facilities. Just turn up at the start, collect your brevet card, ride the route, collect your proofs of passage at the controls and send them to the organiser afterwards. It may be basic but the event provides a great day out with fantastic views, great cafe stop potential and great audax camaraderie.
Stage 1. Bewdley to Ludlow via Clee Hill. It is a pull out of Bewdley before the long gradual ascent to reach the second highest summit of the day at Clee Hill. A wonderful vista to south shows up your route ahead, including the Black Mountains on the distant horizon. There are plenty of cafes at the first control of Ludlow.
Stage 2. Ludlow to Hay via The Marches. This is the least taxing section of the day. Gentle ups and downs through Herefordshire countryside. It is over the Wye via the ancient toll bridge at Whitney (free to cyclists) and soon into Hay-on-Wye. Hay is probably the most important stopping point of the day. Take on food and drink ahead of the long ‘dry’ and hilly section to Ledbury. Now is not the time to go book shopping.
Stage 3A. The Black Mountains. You have a choice. Take the more scenic but poorly surfaced road via Gospel Pass or the better surface yet steeper route via the Crasswall Pass. Both are equally rewarding and equidistant. Gospel Pass should be descended with maximum caution. At Llanfihangel Crucorny Information Control, you will need to click your E-brevet app or answer the brevet card info control question.
Stage 3B. Herefordshire Hills. You are deceived or deluded to think that the Black Mountains pose the greatest challenge of the day. This section to Ledbury is formidable with lots of lumps and bumps yet in the organiser’s view, the most rewarding for glorious countryside. Aside from a very short section that shares Mark Rigby’s audax route, this area is rarely visited by audaxes.
Stage 4. Ledbury and Home. Ledbury is the penultimate control point. The route continues with ups and downs but the countryside changes as you ride through the shadow of the Malvern to your east. Ankerdine Hill is a sting in the tale but it does not take long to reach your ultimate control and destination, Bewdley. Time to pat yourself on the back for an audax well ridden and some well earned recuperation.
Start and Finish: Bewdley
Controls: Ludlow, Hay-on-Wye & Ledbury
Information Controls: Llanfihangel Crucorny
Proof of passage: Brevet card or E Brevet
Overall average permitted speed: 14.3 – 30kph.
Arrivee at Bewdley: 15:13 – 22:53
Overall Ascent: 3140m
Audax Altitude Award Points: 3.25
Principal Climbs: Clee Hill, Gospel or Crasswall Pass, Campston Hill, Orcop Hill, Marcle Ridge, Wellington Heath, Suckley Hill, Ankerdine Hill.
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