With the success of the Etape Caledonia is was only a matter of time before someone else managed to swing another closed-roads event in another less populated bit of the UK. It's not likely to happen any time soon in the home counties, but if you can get yourself to Wrexham in October – and you've got a few spare quid lying around – then the UK's second closed-roads sportive, the Etape Cymru, might be for you.
The 100-mile event will take place on 9 October, with registration on the 8th,, and is organised by K-Extreme Ltd. The route rolls out west from Wrexham into the hills of North Wales, taking in 2000m of climbing including the Horseshoe Pass, The Shelf, The Garth and Worlds End. Certainly it looks like a more challenging course than the Caledonia, with some pretty stern climbs along the way - you can download a detailed route sheet from the event details page on the Etape Cymru website. The road closure looks like it'll be a rolling one, with participants needing to make sure that they keep up an average speed of 12mph over the course if they want the benefit of the tarmac to themselves. You won't be stripped of your number and kettled into the sag wagon if you can't keep up though, you'll just have to mix it with the traffic.
At the front of the pack there'll no doubt be much kudos for coming home first, but in spite of the fact that it's on closed roads, it's definitely a sportive not a race: "There will be no list published which indicates a finishing position or time. An alphabetical list of finishers and times will be published", say the regulations. Hopefully in spreadsheet format so you can sort them how you want, eh...
Organiser Mike Turner believes that given the success of the Etape Caledonia, the Etape Cymru has the potential to be huge. “With the success of British cycling at the Olympic Games and Tour de France there has been an increase in people looking to get involved in challenges such as this,” he said. “Anybody can take part, whether seasoned pro or casual cyclist.”
Fellow organiser Gareth Morris said of the Etape Cymru, “The scenery here is stunning passing through the Clwydian Range - an area of outstanding natural beauty - and the route takes in some iconic cycle climbs which will challenge all participants. ” K-Extreme are hoping the event will attract 3,500 riders in the first year. "Our aim is to make this the premier cycling event in the UK", Gareth told road.cc.
The title sponsor is online retailer www.tweekscycles.com and the event is also backed by Arriva, Kukri Sports, Welsh Cycling and British Cycling. If you're not a member of BC then the entry fee of £65 includes one year's Ride membership worth £24. The price if you're already a member is £53, similar to the Etape Calendonia (£58). entries are open so if you fancy being an early adopter head on over to www.etape-cymru.co.uk and stick your name down.
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.