Well I must say Holyhead is not the prettiest place to turn up to on a Saturday evening in the rain. I had missed registration for the sportive which was due to start early the next morning and I also panicked that I was not able to get into my accommodation as it didn't have a reception. Oh dear.
Things then started to look up when I got hold of the lovely lovely guy who checked me into my very small bedroom. He was extremely interested as why anyone would want to do a long cycle let alone 30 endurance events. At that point I was also wondering what the appeal was...
However, I was excited about this event, cycling has definitely become my thing over the last few months and I was looking forward to it. Not only that but I would be joined by one of my oldest and dearest friends and his boyfriend throughout the event. I had not seen them in a couple of years so was over the moon when they said they wanted to join. That evening we all met up for dinner in a lovely little bistro we found by the water and had a good catch up before the ride in the morning. What a treat from my usual early night with a hot chocolate before an event.
The morning of the event dawned brighter than the day before and the forecast looked to be clearing if a little to windy to be truly enjoyed by a road biker. I had an early start as I had to go to morning registration and forage for breakfast as I was not as prepared as normal.
There were three different distances heading off over the course of the morning. I got to see the Mawr riders starting their epic 100mile plus ride before my start. I also managed to find an incredible granola pot (added ingredient of peanut butter) which I wolfed down to give me all of the energy I would need for the first section at least.
I met up with Sean and Simon; and after a slightly frantic start as I had left my sunglasses in the portaloo we were off! The first 5miles we got into our rhythm, having never ridden together before it could have been tricky but we all seemed to be cruising at the same pace. Riding with two doctors has its benefits but sadly it also means we had to stop within the first 30mins to help a lady who had come off on a steep decent. Sean and Simon felt slightly helpless as there was not much they could do for the lady other than give her reassurance and call the ambulance. After about 15minutes we were off again.
I would not call the course stunning or really picturesque but it had a certain charm very different from the rest of North Wales. The route was one massive loop and this gave us views of Angleseys beautiful coastline; now this is something to look for. The route was undulating but nothing crazy with only about 1000m of climbing involved for the 77mile loop.
About 20miles into the course we got to the most incredible bit of track I have ever ridden on, it was straight, smooth and it was so easy to peddle. I was so amazed at it that I took photos, selfies and a video whilst riding along. I was slightly perplexed as to why the boys had sped off into the distance but I guessed they would wait. With a huge smile on my face I caught up with them as they had reduced their speed. It was then I realised that the smooth road was actually the "flying mile", a mile that was timed to see how fast you could actually ride. Silly me I was just completely oblivious and was daydreaming about all roads being so smooth.
After another 15miles we had a decent stop at the aid station where there were massive chucks of bread, cheese and jam. If you have never tried the combination before you really should. This gave us all a boost, the next section of the route was the hilliest. I am happy on the hills as most of my training and pre-races seem to be so hilly. The guys didn't love the hills so much but after some gels they battled through like troopers. It was a real delight to be riding with friends and to have company during the whole event. We even managed a little peloton!
The miles creeped down and we got to the last aid station to wolf down some jelly babies and then cycle for 12miles back to the finish at Holyhead. It is a perfect down hill end for that last section and it was fun and fast. We were over the finish line for medals by lunchtime.
A very well organised and fantastic event organised by Aim High Events. Once again a huge thank you to them for supporting thirty4thirty and for giving me a free sportive place.
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