|Carpark form up|
Parking was super-easy for the relaxed start at the brewery, and sign-on similarly quick - the rider numbers could be used at the end of the ride to get a free drink. About 100 signed on and gathered outside for a mass briefing and then send off in groups of 20.
|Tagging behind Gannet CC|
Turning left way before the city we headed due south on fairly quiet roads with gentle rises and falls, and at Fownhope we turned left again. By now some groups were forming and I managed to tag onto the back of local club Gannet CC (for a short while) who are sponsored by the brewery and help out on the day.
Pretty soon the Malvern hills came into view. You know the route goes over them so you start looking for the lowest bit. Eventually we get into Colwell and start a very long "pre-hill" rise which, if taken too fast, could really become a problem because at the end the slope of the hill heads properly upwards. This bit is rightly called "Zig-Zags" on Strava and it does have that continental hairpin flavour. All quite steep - may be 15% in the corners? And eventually leads to the Wyche Cutting with great views over the Worcester plain.
|The Wyche Cutting|
There's a drop off this down into Malvern and an abrupt right turn off the drop which wasn't great - I saw it too late and had to choose between signalling to the car up my chuff, or applying the brakes.
Further drops down ramp-roads led to the one minor problem - a sign had gone missing and mass-panic seemed to be in play. Good old Garmin plus spotting additional signs (put there by the organisers to anticipate this situation) got a dozen of us back on track and whizzing though Malvern suburbs. We almost missed the short turn off for the food stop - being a brewery ride it was at a pub - The Morgan.
|Profile and significant hills|
|Beer and spread|
Race number was immediately converted into a beer and then there was a big spread to get stuck into. I was under the impression that I was just behind the first finishers - Gannet CC & co.
According to Garmin/Strava a total of 1,442m of climbing (4,730ft)
|Map with features|
Last word has to go on the goodie bag. Normally these aren't worth picking up in the UK, in my experience. So I grabbed the brown paper bag on my way out and didn't look inside until much later. Wow, I knew it contained a beer but then all this other stuff - calendars, beer mats and a bar towel, even a pen came out - I can set up my own personal Wye Valley bar now.
- Fantastic roads, clean and mostly wide
- Friendly, relaxed atmosphere
- Support from the brewery