Head to the Welsh coast & Llangrannog; home of the Giant Bica’s tooth! Fast valleys, remote Welsh mountains, old mining towns; it’s all there! Descend the Devil’s Staircase and climb his Elbow #wills_hills galore!
WHEN:28/08/2020 - 30/08/2020 21:00 - 08:50
WHERE:Felix Road Adventure Playground
Easton, BS5 0JW
Event review summary:
Extensive route notes and a variety of files will be distributed to entrants via email a week or two before the event. In the mean time use the interactive map for an overview of what lies ahead (subject to change); toggle the elevation & grade on/off by clicking the key. *Please note plugin's 'grade' is experimental so take it with a pinch of salt, especially where rocky outcrops may be present.
Legend has it the Giant Bica lost his tooth on Llangrannog beach whilst eating berries from the cliff. The solitary rock is known as Carreg Bica, or Giant’s Tooth.
With a late start cruise to Sennybridge along the Usk Valley through the night before into the hills at Trecastle. Then the Towy Valley passing through Carmarthen. Now let the hills begin proper like as you head to Fishguard, a former GWR port with their steam ships serving Ireland, then skim along the coast to Llangrannog. Inland again to Tregaron and the infamous mountain road with its iconic phone & letterbox. Descending the Devil’s Staircase can be just as daunting as climbing it! Then across Sennybridge Ranges via Mynydd Bwlch-y-Groes stopping in Sennybridge this time. Buckle up for The Devil’s Elbow then you are into The Valleys, hopping across for the final leg home through Caerleon.
Dinner included before setting off. Two 24hr establishments on way out. Red Lion @ Sennybridge will be serving food late. Two 24hr establishments between there and finish. No sleep provisions en route. I aim to ride as well so a ‘postal finish’ – receipt from ATM then pop it through my door round the corner; if I’m back come on in.
Wind down on the Sunday with fellow ACB organiser Jon Banks’ wonderful Chalfield Challenge 100. Me and Red will be there!
Cloth badge for all finishers of the GWR AAA SR series completed this AUK season.
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What others think.
This is a journey. For me, my first 500km ride, it made quite an impression.
You’ll likely be riding through 2 nights. You’ll ride nearly every steep hill in south wales. Expect the weather to be nuts. Believe the elevation profile.
I was lucky to meet a couple of riders at different moments where it wasn’t going so well in my head. Their kindness and wisdom in the face of the absurdity, genuinely helped me get round. Hat tip to Dad as well, for the hour and a half in a cafe in Fishguard chatting while I tried to get dry after that rain.
Headwinds though Llandeussant, midnight ponies in the road above Merthyr, boy racers in the valleys, the kids doing night shift in Macdonalds, singing into the night, the sea!. We’ll be back for more.
Organisation perfectly minimal. 10/10 would ride again. Thanks Will!
An absolute classic
I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed an audax so much (and there’s been some stiff competition). Every detail of the Giant’s Tooth 500 was perfectly thought out. The vegan curry at the start was delicious (thank you!), and I appreciated that we went through the busiest parts of South Wales in the dead of night, so had the roads (even the dual carriageways) to ourselves. By the time the sun came up we were riding through beautiful scenery, which we enjoyed for the rest of the ride. I was delighted by the number of 20% (and even 25%) hills Will had managed to squeeze into the route – it seemed absurd at times, that someone could expect us to mange yet another near-vertical gradient, after so many others, and so many hundreds of kilometres, but somehow we made it over all of them, and were glad we had. I loved revisiting some of my favourite roads (especially the one between Tregaron and Abergwesyn), and discovering new ones. And very much enjoyed the camaraderie in the 24-hour Macdonald’s controls. (Worryingly, the food there tasted better and better as the ride wore on.)