Riding the Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up 25 mile event in south Wales has become something of a Team Grumpy tradition in recent years. In the past, the event has been held on the fast R23/3 (or variant) course, which features the improbably fast descent of the Neath bank, a hill that you don’ have to go up again! Due to roadworks, last year the event was run on the R25/24, an altogether more realistic course – this course was used again this year. In 2007, the weather was astoundingly vile, torrential rain coupled with strong winds.

Team Grumpy entered the event this year with particular enthusiasm, as we plan to ride the Duo Normand again this year, after missing last year’s event. Both Gerry and I always look to this event for a glimpse of our form; this year we were particularly keen as Gerry’s had a bad neck, and after a winter of diligent training (well, as diligent as my work life allows), I came down with something that resembled winter vomiting virus exactly two weeks before this event.

This year, I received a series of increasingly gloomy emails with dire weather forecasts from Gerry – on the day, however, we drove over to the HQ in quite pleasant though rather windy conditions. We’d requested an early start as we had a lunch reservation at Y Polyn, a rather excellent restaurant we usually go to after the event, so we were the second team to start. The R25/24 course begins by heading down the Neath valley on a dual carriageway (A465). On the day, this made pretty hard riding, as it was into the teeth of the wind. Fortunately, Team Grumpy were working well, taking spells of about 30sec each. While I felt at the time we were riding rather cautiously, in retrospect I’m glad we kept something back for the hilly second half. After the southern turn, we roared back up the dual carriageway to the halfway point, mostly clocking 30mph or more, before heading south again on the B road that runs alongside the main road. This road’s considerably more challenging, with many short steep climbs that throw you off your rhythm. Added to which, there were considerable numbers of road-kill toads! Fortunately the overnight rain had mostly drained away, and other than the aforementioned flattened amphibia, there were no pools of standing water (as there were last year).

We finished with 57:58, which we were quite pleased with. It gave us 5th place, and we won the prize for first composite team. We were also pleased with the way we rode as a team – it’s likely we will ride one (or both) of the upcoming Icknield RC and Team MK 2-up events in a few weeks’ time.

While driving home the following day, we stopped off to look at the Uffington White Horse, and Uffington Castle. Very interesting, if a terribly exposed and bracing spot!

This is my pulse monitor trace (if you click on it, you’ll get the full size version). The black, green and blue traces are heart rate, altitude, and speed respectively (speed has been multiplied by 4). The blue band represents level 3. The race ends where the pulse rate drops out of level 3 – the remaining trace is the return to the race HQ.

Final Results

Position

Names

Team Name/Club

Time

1

DAVID POVALL

DARREN CARPENTER

CWMCARN /CLIMB ON BIKES

54.48

2

STEVE BARRETT

COLIN WALLACE

MERTHYR CC

55.44

3

JOHN GRAVELLE

RHYS GRAVELLE

BYNEA CC

57.27

4

(1st) GARY JONES

ALISTAR JAMES

MD SPECIALISED

57.47

5

(1st) GERARD ORAM

ROBERT SAUNDERS

BYNEA CC

NORTH BUCKS CC

57.58

6

RHYS ROWLANDS

IAN DAVIES

ABERTILLERY WHEELERS

58.16

7

NEAL CRAIG

JOHN ASPELL

FORZA

58.29

8

GERAINT ‘SPOT’ EVANS

ANDREW EVANS

PORT TALBOT WHEELERS CC

58.30

9

JOHN TETLEY

GEORGE BURGESS

HEREFORD WHEELERS CC

58.43

10

RHYS JONES

JOHN HUGHES

ACME WHEELERS CC

59.50

11

ANTHONY REDMAN

JAYSON JAMES

ACME WHEELERS CC

1.00.05

12

CHRIS HUGHES

IAN RIVERS

HEREFORD WHEELERS

1.00.20

13

(1st) HYWELL STREDWICK

HEFIN PRICE

BYNEA CC

1.00.49< /font>

14

RYAN EVANS

CARL BANWELL

ACME WHEELERS

1.01.05

15

MARK ANDREWS

LYN JONES

MERTHYR CC

HIRAWUN CC

1.01.31

16

GARETH BATTLE

CHRIS WOOLLEY

ACME WHEELERS CC

1.01.48

17

PHIL WEAVER

PAUL CHUBB

LUDLOW CC

1.02.09

(inc 1 min late start)

18

GARETH CLEMENT

GLYNDWR LEWIS

ACME WHEELERS

1.02.21

19

PAUL STEPHENS

HEFIN JONES

ROSS ON WYE CC

1.03.26

20

IAN LEWIS

GAVIN LEWIS

CWMCARN/CLIMB ON BIKES

1.04.06

21

(1st) CAROLINE GAY

PHILLIP AUDSLEY

FORZA

1.04.21

22

CATALIN PATRICHI

ALAN COOK

ROSS ON WYE CC

1.05.01

23

CHRIS PRICE

DARREL WILLIAMS

PORT TALBOT WHEELERS

1.05.29

24

VERNON DAVIES

NIGEL PITT

PORT TALBOT WHEELERS CC

1.05.44

25

GERARD MAYBERY

MARK JONES

PONTYPOOL RC

PEMBS. VELO

1.06.42

26

STU MACFARLANE

IAN PEAKE

HEREFORD WHEELERS

1.08.34

27

MELANIE GRAHAM

KERRY GRAHAM

BUILTH & DISTRICT

CC

1.11.16

28

MICHAEL GEORGE

RHIANNON ACE

PEMBS VELO

1.17.47

29

GARY ‘SKIPPY’ GREGORY

DAVID ‘DAI’ TRIGGS

PORT TALBOT WHEELERS CC

1.19.41

30

ANTHONY ‘CHIPS’ VALLARIO

JOHN WILLIAMS

PORT TALBOT WHEELERS

1.25.22

31

RUSS WHITE

EFION WEINZWEIG

FORZA

DNF

32

MARTYN HERITAGE OWEN

JASON WILLIAMS

LIFEFORCE/

CERVELO

DNF

33

PAUL FALLON

STEVE REYNOLDS

ROSS ON WYE CC

CARDIFF 100MLS

DNS