New Autumn Epic recce #3 - the 50 mile route

Last recce ride to explore the Knighton to Newtown section of the new Autumn Epic.  This was about checking out the 2nd half of the new 50 mile route and choosing which way to approach the Anchor:

Starting in Newtown I rode the 50 mile route return first - heading up a long hill (the 100 milers will come swooping down this one) and turning right onto a long, gentle climb (5 to 7%) around to Dolfor, and then anther similar climb up onto the wilds.

Its not just in the Alps that you can encounter cows on the road

 

The 50 route then descends (via the old Epic's first climb) heads along the flat Wye valley back to Knighton - very car free and good quality tarmac.

With that all checked out I turned to sorting out how to get to the Anchor - 2 options:

      1. Go to Clun and ride along the valley climbing steadily to Anchor
      2. Stay high about Clun and take the ridge road 

First up I did the ridge road in reverse (I know most of it anyway) and was pleasantly surprised - great views and absolutely empty, straight road.  Only problem came at the end where there's a tricky descent on a potholed road.


 

The Clun to Anchor valley road was also good - more sheltered, little bit more traffic and a steady 3% for miles and miles.  On balance I felt the high ridge road offers more views and less traffic.

After the Anchor there's more easy climbing before  a fast descent towards Kerry - approaching from a side road than goes past a potential first food stop (only one for the 50s):

After Kerry the route split will come - 50s going left and starting the steady climb I did at the start of this recce ride, and the 100s zooming down to Newtown and on to Lyn Clewedog.

This concludes the recce riding for the new Autumn Epic.  All roads have been ridden, sometimes several times and alternatives have also been ridden.  I'll publish the final draft versions of the route next...


 

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