Forest of Dean Classic recon

Super blogging week - scroll down for Somerset Hills GF and Dartmoor Demon recces.

This Sunday 5th May sees the FOD Classic running through the spectacular  Wye Valley countryside.

May 7th Update - now I've rode this course there is a hill I missed out during the recon!  After the climb out of Lydbrook (my no. 2, but actually no.3) there is a further drop down and then a short but steep hill - the real no. 2 hill.

The 145km route features loads of hills.  I've been out the check out the last 4 - three happen in succession and then there’s a ride over the final Symonds Yat test...

Nasty 4th from last hill
At 105km you'll join a main road (B4234) briefly then turning before Walford and heading up a sharp climb - 10% through overhanging trees then up to 15% past cottages, a brief "flat" 7 and then a final 17%.

The initial descent is tricky with big gravel and potholes on a narrow road.  A further, bigger descent down into the Wye valley is much smoother, no gravel but at least one lethal pothole in the centre of the road and several tight hairpin bends you'll approach too fast...

It'll take you ages to climb up towards this cottage - and that's
only halfway on this climb
Almost immediately (110km) you are back climbing but this time a totally different hill - maybe 5% but goes on and on forever (3km) up through Ruardean, and more after the village.

Descent to Lydbrook again features at least one significant pothole plus another couple of nerve-wracking hairpins.
World's tightest lefthand turn

Short flat through Lydbrook but get into a climbing gear whilst on the flat as the next climb starts with a super sharp left turn and then up at a constant 8% all the way out of the valley in one go.  2km and doesn't let up.

Then a nice leg loosening ride over to the final climb of the day - Symonds Yat at 131km. 

This one is tricky - narrow roads and if cars are coming down then you may have to stop.  Bits of 10 or 15% slopes mixed in with flatter sections make it seem OK.  Then you get to a super narrow part (just past the Methodist Chapel) and pretty soon its 23% all the way to the top - the final challenge.

Gateway to Heaven?  If you see this you are done on the FOD
Looking forward to it!  If you see me out (in Rideventures strip no less!) say hello and I'll take your picture for the blog.