New Autumn Epic - recce ride #2

 Just back from riding another section of the all new Autumn Epic sportive route.  I wanted to explore the roads around the spectacular Lyn Clywedog reservoir - looking for a viable sportive route.

Here was the plan for the recce:

After Newtown and Caersws the route heads to Trefeglwys and there the idea is to turn right up the quiet Trannon valley.  Wide road and not much climbing, all looked good but then I came to 3 options out of the valley:

On paper Option A looked the most logical - but in practice it turned out to be super steep (20%) and super long, and very narrow too - if a car came there'd be no where to pass, and once you stop you wouldn't clip back in.

Option B was similar only with more gravel.

But Option C turned out much better - wider, smoother and with two or three 15/20% sections mixed in with much easier 10% bits.  A proper challenge.

Climbing out of the valley led to wide open views and a fast drop to Staylittle - where there might bell be a food stop on the event day:

After this there was a quick bit on the main road before turning off for the road bordering the Lyn Clywedog.  There were many very rough cattle grids throughout this section which will need strong tyres.

The road around the reservoir started very easy but then got challenging - there's a couple of long, steep climbs before dropping down past the dam and out onto a quiet B road for a long, fast descent to Llanidloes.

I didn't explore the other road options as the first route was really good - few cars, wide, good tarmac and spectacular views. 

Final bit of checking was to ride a back road over to Caersws to see if it was better than the main road (which is very quiet/easy):

But the alternative turned out to be too narrow for relaxed cycling, and had a couple of climbs - which we'll not really need.

That's it for checking this section, next up is the new route out of Knighton - but most of that I'm very familiar with.

Strava route for today: https://www.strava.com/activities/4115029619

The new 2021 Autumn Epic

 I'm starting work on next year's all new Epic sportive.  Here's the first draft of a possible route:

Starts as usual Knighton but leaves in opposite direction and climbs to Clun and then again to the Anchor - so completely different.  More new roads all around Newtown and Llanidoes before a new approach to Rhayader - and a new exit.

Yesterday (Mon 21st Sept 2020) I rode the Newtown, Rhayader and Bwlch-y-Sarnu section:

Monday recce ride of route

 

Newtown - easy route through the town - logical and probably not needing that many signs to get you on the right road.


 

Good roads after Newtown - wide, good tarmac and not very busy despite being a "B" road.

After a drop to Caersws the road got a bit boring - but the plan is to turn right and head up towards Staylittle and return via the big reservoir (subject to another recce ride devoted to this bit alone).

Possible route around Lyn Clywedog reservoir

 

After Llanidloes there were a couple of long climbs on very quiet roads before a steep descent to Llangurig.  After this it goes very flat following the River Wye, then gets lumpy and also features at least 3 gates you have to open and shut behind you (I'll be asking people what they think of this - makes for a very car free road).


 

Just before Rhayader the route joins the old Epic route (in reverse and for 2 miles only) - this means there's an optional extra - go around the Elan Valley loop for 15 additional miles, making a total of 120miles!  I'll be asking people what they think about offering a 200km sportive...

Route exits Rhayader up a wide, long hill and eventually turns for Bwlch-y-Sarnu - there's a very steep approach to that hamlet.  After that the route goes East to Llanbister but I headed home via Newtown.

Strava route here - https://www.strava.com/activities/4092884759