Devilishly Elegant 600

The inaugural 600 #wills_hills fest! Journeying up through England and back through Wales. It’ll test your legs and your mental fortitude but the scenery will pay dividends. Do you accept the devilishly elegant challenge?

Hambrook [nr Frenchay], City of Bristol | Sat 7th May 2022 @ 04:00

WHEN: +iCal
Sat 7th May 2022
04:00 - 22:34
Sun 8th May 2022
WHERE:
Gary Harris Cycles
Common Mead Ln
Hambrook [nr Frenchay], BS16 1QQ
Validation:
BR
Devilishly Elegant 600 1
Award Distance:
600
Total Distance:
608km
Duration:
42h34
Speeds:
14.3-20kph
Climb:
10263m
AAA: 10.25
Apex Grimpeur
Devilishly Elegant 600 3Enquiries
BRIEF:

The inaugural 600 #wills_hills fest! Journeying up through England and back through Wales. It’ll test your legs and your mental fortitude but the scenery will pay dividends. Do you accept the devilishly elegant challenge?

description:

An elegant route full of devilishly difficult hills! First up you have The Cotswolds around Stroud to contend with. Then relax up the Severn Valley until to The Malverns, Herefordshire’s hills, Long Mynd and beyond. Cross the Severn once more and edge Berwyn to the Old Horseshoe Pass. North to the Clywdians and descend Bwlch Penbarras. Over the hills and through Clocaenog Forest. Then into Snowdonia to Llan Ffestiniog where the community run pub Y Pengwern will be open late providing food for you (included). More mountain roads as you climb Bwlch y Groes the ‘easy’ way before descending the hard to cruise down the Dovey Valley and around the coast. Up into the hills once again to Devil‘s Bridge stopping at the station of the Vale of Rheidol Railway; with locamotives made at Swindon’s GWR works it was the last state operated steam railway only becoming a charity when privatisation occured. Over to the Elegant Valley and descend to the Wye; for a bit. Glorious hills to Hay-on-Wye, more hills, and views of Raglan Castle, to Chepstow before back across the bridge to the Arrivee.

details:

This is an X-rated event, you will need to carry your own sleeping kit and make use of an #audaxhotel.

Late night food at Y Pengwern, Llan Ffestiniog included. Choose from a jacket potato with beans (and cheese) or tuna mayo; or 7″ pizza with cheese or pepperoni. Refillable tea, coffee or squash.

Two Hoots Cafe @ Vale of Rheidol Railway, Devil’s Bridge will be opening early from 06:00. It assumes you’ve caught some shut eye between here and Llan Ffestiniog.

Control times are adjusted assuming a minimum of 15kph to Llanfestiniog dropping to 14.3kph for the rest and the finish time. Maximum speeds start at 25kph then assume you get some overnight sleep somewhere between 320 & 440km; dropping to 17kph and finishing on 20kph. If you decide to go straight through you will still need to collect proof of passage. If you get back early, grab some sleep and come back to the finish when it opens.

This will be ideal preparation for Bristol Glasgow Bristol 1600; in a way harder as there is no time allowance for the rate of climb like an LRM event.

how hard is it?

See my review below.

Like or loath* it? Let others know.
*Whilst I like to think I can affect the weather alas that is beyond my control...

What others think.

Seriously difficult, but well worth the pain

9th May 2022

This is a brutally difficult ride, as the 10,000m of ascent suggests, with long steep climbs (and descents), sometimes on poor road surfaces. But, wow, the suffering is worth it – a stunningly good route, with amazing scenery and fabulous views. Easily both the best route, and the hardest ride, of any 600 I’ve done. Although advertised as X-rated, Will had arranged early-opening cafe’s, and a late-opening half-way night control at the Y Pengwern hotel which had a dedicated Audax function room and bedrooms – although I rode through to the Toad Hall bunkhouse at 400k for a few hours sleep. Will had even arranged glorious May weather – warm and sunny, and mild through the night. Poor weather would make this even harder!

Avatar for Martin
Martin

2018 Test ride.

6th May 2022

I have ridden this in just under 40hrs (I was aiming for a BRM time) with 5hrs30 ‘sleep’ in an open bus shelter; disturbed by a lovely Welshman wanting me to look at the stars, have a chat and inspect my bike at 3am.

The views are stunning. The hills relentless once they get going and gratuitous; just as much a test to mental fortitude as physical fitness. Beautiful in it’s remoteness and avoiding the main roads after an early morning dash through Gloucester.

I’m not the fastest up hills but I can do them over and over. I found the hardest part between Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and the top of the Old Horseshoe Pass (a slight jiggle has been made missing the first of this set of hills). There are a few other notable climbs for steepness such as the Burway up to the top of Long Mynd and a short section of Llanbedr Hill. This is not an exhaustive list. Also there are less steep but long climbs that you can achieve a good pace up. Being a BR event enables the minimum speed to be lower and the total distance to count to complete it in time. Do you accept this devilishly elegant challenge?

The organiser.

Avatar for Will
Will


Bookings aren't available; either I haven't opened entry yet or if after 05/05/22 then they have closed.


You are attending this event.

The following ride details are currently: Pending - all specifics are usually updated the 5th day before the event.



  • Please flick through the following tabs fully and make any preparations before the event.
  • Route files & links will be found under the 'Route' tab.
  • The event/route specific information will be finalised usually the Monday before the event and you will get an email reminder 3 days prior from bookings-noreply@pedalution.co.uk - add it to your address book to save any disappointment.
  • Should you be unable to attend the event I have enabled cancellation from 'My Bookings'. This will aid me in keeping controls informed as to how many to expect and also reduce wastage when printing the brevet cards. Remember there is no option to refund or transfer if you are unable to attend.
  • You will receive your brevet card at the start. Should you start the ride and be unable to finish my phone number is within; please drop me a text with your full name to let me know you won't be finishing so volunteers and myself aren't waiting around longer than necessary at controls and the finish.
  • Please use 'Enquires' link above for any queries.

New to audax? Have a look at Audax UK's About for an overview & FAQs for commonly asked questions.

  • Until the route is finalised the interactive map above will give you an idea of where you are going.
  • It is advisable to study the route notes prior to the event for further details; especially if you are just using a GPX breadcrumb trail to navigate. These are also the 'cuesheet' within the RWGPS route; zoom the map to your desired level, click on a cue and it will focus the map at that cue.
  • Every effort is made to identify road closures before the event and provide alternatives where necessary; however I can not account for any emergency closures that are required.
  • A variety of surfaces may be encountered, some may be as smooth as a baby's bum, others potholed nightmares, or somewhere in between; if any unmetalled sections are used this will be noted in the Event Info above and now visible as 'unpaved' within RWGPS.
  • I do my utmost to select low traffic routes but there may be times busier sections are required.
  • Mudguards aren't mandatory but if you can fit them why wouldn't you?
  • I would always recommend a set of lights as you never know what could happen.
  • Similarly consider carrying 2 space blankets; they cost nothing, are tiny, and can keep you and an other warm should the unfortunate happen.
EXTRA DETAILS:
There are many steep descents often narrow; I highly advise you service your brakes before riding.
There are too many to list them all as a !!caution!! in the route notes so be aware throughout.

The notable cautions are:
  • @263km - steep descent with cattle grids - Bwlch Pen Barras
  • @342km - 5 (I think) gates on the mountain road.
  • @363km - steep descent - Bwlch y Groes.
Remember this is an X-rated event with no sleep facilities.
Route Files:
CSV

CSV route notes - these can be edited in any spreadsheet software.

PDF

PDF route notes - a version with maps is available in linked RWGPS route (no account necessary to use the official PDF - use 'More v') or the event.

GPX

GPX with control waypoints - if re-uploading to an online planner please make private so as not to confuse others in the future - use this tool to split at waypoints and/or simplify.

RWGPS Links:
Event

RWGPS Event - at least a free account needed but you will get full premium features, including offline maps & voice nav for the app, regardless of your subscription level. To sync to your device (Wahoo, Garmin Edge) you need to join this first.

Route

RWGPS Route - no account needed but you will lack a few advanced features such as early turn warnings.

See the RWGPS App for my tips to use your phone for navigation and maximising battery life.

Troubleshooting:
  • Can't copy the RWGPS route to your account? I have disabled this so should any changes be necessary there is the one correct version.
  • I do not provide technical services for your device having never used anything other than the RWGPS app.
  • Can't add it to Garmin Connect? It isn't an activity. Transfer it to your Garmin via USB.
  • Can't send to your device? Join the RWGPS event.
EXTRA DETAILS:
PARKING - As this is overnight with an early start late finish there will be no parking at the start. Please find somewhere in Frenchay Village, be considerate of residents when unloading in the morning.
If you need me too look after any please contact me so I can decide whether I need just panniers or my bike trailer.
Start:

Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the depart time to collect your brevet card.

Gary Harris Cycles - opens new tab for map.
Common Mead Ln, Hambrook [nr Frenchay], City of Bristol, BS16 1QQ

Access:

  • Bike - Not far from the Ring Road Path. From the centre use Stapleton Road.
  • Car - M32 J1 follow signs to Frenchay. Take 1st RIGHT after traffic lights and follow signs to Golf Centre. To park in Frenchay Village take 1st LEFT after traffic lights.
  • Train - Bristol Parkway is the closest mainline station.

Parking:
On street near by - No parking available at the start - please use local on road parking in and around Frenchay Village; Beckspool Rd and Frenchay Hill have no parking restrictions.

Food & Drink:
Drinks available.
Tea & coffee at Gary's
Unless specified otherwise above.

Accommodation:
Local Hotels

Finish:

White Lion, Frenchay. Food served until 21:00. - opens new tab for map & a few details.

Route Controls:

  • DEPART: FRENCHAY - Gary Harris Cycles | 04:00
  • C1 @ 35km | INFO: NAILSWORTH - see brevet
  • C2 @ 87km | CONTROL: LITTLE MALVERN - Sally's Place | 07:28-09:48
  • C3 @ 175km | CONTROL: BRIDGES - The Bridges PH on left | 11:00-15:40
  • C4 @ 231km | INFO: DOLYWERN - see brevet
  • C5 @ 263km | INFO: MOEL FAMAU UPPER CP on right - see brevet
  • C6 @ 321km | CONTROL: LLAN FFESTINIOG - Y Pengwern | 18:16-01:24
  • C7 @ 367km | INFO: LLANYMAWDDWY - see brevet
  • C8 @ 437km | CONTROL: DEVIL'S BRIDGE STATION - Two Hoots Cafe | 06:00-10:35
  • C9 @ 500km | INFO: LLANBEDR HILL - see brevet
  • C10 @ 512km | CONTROL: HAY ON WYE [Free] - for the mortals Drover Cycles are open from 10:00 | 07:43-15:55
  • C11 @ 547km | INFO: LLANVETHERIN - Lanes Garage - see brevet
  • ARRIVEE: FRENCHAY - White Lion | 10:24-22:34


This is what 'audax' is all about. Travelling between controls to collect proof of passage (PoP) to prove you have cycled the distance. The above controls are found in your brevet card, the route notes, as POIs with the route, and waypoints with the GPX. Your brevet card it to be filled out as you progress around the route. PoP is obtained in several ways. It is highly recommended you carry a pen or pencil to fill your brevet card as you go; if it is a long event numbering any receipts to correspond with the control number will save you time later, then keeping them in order is next level!

Types of control:
  • CONTROL - a place or venue where you obtain PoP which can be done in several ways. You will be able to get food and/or drink, also WC will be available.
    • Manned - a volunteer or venue member of staff will stamp your card providing PoP. All controls are thus unless specified as...
    • Free - you must obtain PoP from that place that has a time and date, usually a receipt from a cafe, shop or ATM.
  • INFO - a question found in your brevet card that is relevent to the location needs to be answered and recorded.
  • CHECKPOINT - similar to a control but there may not be any facilities present.
  • SECRET - now that would be telling wouldn't it!
USING YOUR PHONE & RWGPS APP:

I use the RWGPS app on my phone to navigate audax events by using spoken cues, I also use it to route check and proof my route notes. This IMHO is the best of all worlds. I don't need to look at a screen (but I can check if I want), I get clear directions when needed (you may need to get used to my shorthand which gets spoken as such), I get a warning if I'm off route, the battery lasts a lot longer than constantly using the screen; especially nowadays as phone batteries are getting bigger plus many are able to rapid charge in a short amount of time. All you need is a good case and mount for inclement weather.

  • Install the app.
  • Join the event.
  • Go to the route.
  • Send to device.
  • Open app and confirm download.
  • In settings (exact location varies depending on iOS or Android) to optomise for best battery use:
    • Logging - adjust interval: every 10s is best for the battery, logs your ride but won't get you any KOMs; every 1s uses 10x more battery power to write data but may get you a KOM if you pedal quick.
    • Navigation - Spoken alerts ON | Off-course alerts ON | others at your discretion.
    • Handlebar mode ENABLED - this will keep RWGPS above any screen lock so you can recall it if needed by pressing power button or similar.
    • Handlebar mode - Screen OFF for cues | Proximity Wake OFF (otherwise changes in light will turn the screen on) | Keep screen on NEVER.
    • Offline mode ENABLED - when you start riding.
  • Better still use flight/aeroplane mode whilst riding.
  • You can adjust the text-speech settings via your phone settings; the type of voice, playback speed etc.

Most of the battery drain on a phone is from the screen. By using voice commands you eliminate this but can still view the map if needs be. The second biggest drain whilst cycling is the phone itself searching for a signal as you move between cell towers; putting the phone into flight/aeroplane mode whilst moving solves this problem; you can easily turn data back on to #tag that #CAKE at the next stop!

ANDROID:

Make sure battery optimisation is turned off otherwise Android will recognise RWGPS as an excessive battery drain and can limit its functionality. This will be particularily evident if you stop for a bit without GPS signal then continue; the app will appear to be functioning correctly but Android will limit it and data can be lost from the stop point until the app is restarted. There may be a similar feature in iOS.

  • Settings >Apps.
  • Find RWGPS and expand Advanced >Battery.
  • If it says optomised then select and wait for all apps to load.
  • Make sure the apps displayed are 'All apps', find RWGPS and select.
  • Select 'Don't optimise'. Exit settings.

You have agreed to and declared that at the time of the ride...

  • You have no symptoms relating to COVID-19.
  • That you are not self-isolating.
  • That you are not required to quarantine during the period of the event.
  • That no local or other regulations prohibit you from attending this event.
  • You agree that if you develop any such symptoms before the event you will not attend.
  • You agree that if I develop any such symptoms immediately after the event I shall inform the organiser.

Please follow any wishes of private establishments en route. I highly recommend carrying a mask/buff/scarf etc for the simple act of covering your face if needed when indoors. Any specifics requested by controls will be noted in the control tab.

Audax UK's current policy can be found here.