Looking for a challenge next weekend? Live near Wales? Why not head down to Builth Wells and have a go at the CycleOps Power Road Sportive on Saturday 22 May. You may remember that we were out in that neck of the woods last year, and this is a new ride from the same team, with some familiar climbs, a different sponsor and a location just down the road. It's sharing a weekend with the Chain Reaction MTB Marathon series too, so if you fancy a bit of mud plugging on the Sunday you can make a weekend of it!
This part of Wales is almost embarrassingly beautiful, and the two road routes promise to be real stunnners. This year the Builth Wells sportive starts and finishes at Penmaenae Farm, neighbouring the Royal Welsh Showground. There will be two distances on offer, 53 miles (1750m ascent) and 88 miles (3300 m ascent). You can camp for the weekend for free and the sportive shares an event village with the MTB marathon event, so there's plenty to do and lots of facilities.
We'd recommend the 88-miler simply because the shorter route misses out on the insanity of the Devil's staircase, a mile at 10% (steepening to 25%) that'll find you out if you haven't been putting the miles in so far this year. Following that there's another, longer climb before you can take in the majesty of the Twyi valley and stuff your face at a feed stop, one of three on the big loop. Last year they had crisps.
From there you'll drop down to Llandovery before winching your way up to the Epynt military range, and from there it's a quick descent and an amble along the Irfon Valley back to camp. The shorter route heads towards Llanwrtyd Wells from Abergwesyn, missing out on the vertiginous fun of the Elbow, but you'll be rewarded with some stunning valley riding and it still isn't going to be flat: this is Wales after all.
or your downloadable entry form, online entry simply go to the entry page on our new website http://www.roadsportives.co.uk/entry.php where you can enter the Road Sportive Challenges and the Chain Reaction Cycles MTB Marathon Series. The Chain Reaction Cycles hosted online entry offers fast and straightforward entry into the events paired with the rather attractive offer of a 5% discount voucher for your next CRC purchase. If you prefer good old paper entry, that option will still be available via the event website.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.