2011 Race Reports
For those of you who are not familiar with this particular form of torture, the Rhayader 20 is a 20 mile road race which takes place in darkest Wales - more precisely, the very hilly bit of darkest mid-Wales. For some reason best know to those who organise it, it is held in the middle of March - great for pre-London marathon preparation, rubbish for the weather... normally... however, this year was memorable if only for the fact that the sun shone, there was only a bit of wind and it didn't rain!
To say this run is hilly would be to understate it, massively - it is not just hilly, it is really very hilly indeed. They did change the course a bit this year which didn't actually help, it just meant the first very big hill went on from 2 miles to 5 miles rather sneaking up on you at around 3 miles. Still, on the plus side, once you got near the snow line (and just before oxygen is required) you do get some lovely views, and as an added bonus you get to go down again - steeply - not good for those with dodgy knees.
Once you're in the bottom of the Elan valley the course trundles up and down for most of the rest of the way (oh, for some flat...) then just when you think it can't go on for much longer (and this road really does go straight back to the town centre doesn't it), they send you off down into Elan village. Hah, I thought (naively), I wonder if this means we miss that nasty climb just before you get to the outskirts of Rhayader? Sadly not, all they do is sneakily send you all round some really very pretty country lanes to emerge.... at the bottom of the nasty hill just before you get to the outskirts of Rhayader. Thanks for that.
In conclusion though, it is a great race, well organised and reasonable (£12 affiliated and you get a tee shirt and free shower in the sports centre). Fantastic training for a spring marathon, and a good gauge of where you're at if you're doing a summer IM.
Winning time? 2:02 - how do they do that? My time by my watch as they appear to have missed me off the results - PB 2:58... Would I do it yet again? I quite possibly might.... Elly.
On the 6th March 2011, 19 members of Cheltenham Triathlon club competed in the Mad March Hare, a 70 mile undulating cycle sportive. Despite a slight chill, the weather looked good as 350 cyclists set off, their pockets stuffed full with malt loaf and bananas.
The "mini" sportive weaved through idyllic villages in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, mostly on quiet but well surfaced roads.
The club member with the fastest time was Doug Waymark, who completed the 70 miles in a very impressive time of 3 hours 37 minutes. This was the 3rd fastest time overall, and of course, we could all have gone this fast if we had electronic gears!
The first lady home for the club was Sally Freeman in a time of 5 hours 5 minutes, giving her the eight fastest female time of the day.
For many club members though, time wasn't important. Completing the challenging course with friends and enjoying the beautiful scenery was top of the agenda, whilst for some, enjoying a rolling buffet en-route was essential! The incentive of flapjacks and cake at the top of the steepest 200m climb was enough for most people to get up without walking.
On 5th March Mary Welsh competed in the BTF National Duathlon Championships held at Clumber Park near Worksop and organised by 1 StepBeyond Promotions
The race consisted of a 10k run, 40k cycle and a final 5krun. The undulating run was over traffic-free paths through the pleasant scenery of the country park and the two-lap cycle followed a challenging course over long rolling roads.
Early morning temperatures for the race were cold with temperatures of 4-50 C. Conditions deteriorated quickly with mist, constant drizzle and a chilly breeze moving into the area.
Mary completed the course in 3hr 21 mins and came first in her age group (Cat M 65-69) to win the gold medal.
Mary has now achieved a hat trick of duathlon successes with gold medals in Scottish, National and European Championships.
The race was a qualifier for the World Championships to be held in Spain in September and Mary looks forward to competing in that event.
The first club mountain bike ride on January 2nd 2011 was a huge success thanks to Mike and Jeff.
Some of us were a little scared on the technical bits and there were quite a lot of girlie screaming sounds going on including Colin!!!
But it was really good watching the technical guys ride the B-hole (that's what they called it!). For me(Sue), the best novice was Gail who did a superb technical ascent only to spectacularly fall at the very end, me I just wimped out and took the easier one with Mike's guidance.
Great fun and very good training especially strength, thanks again guys.