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The Dave Lloyd MEGA Challenge 2009!

by Adam Tranter

Exclusive! in consultation with the organising team have been given the initial plans for the 2009 Dave Lloyd MEGA Challenge.

We are pleased to be able let the whole sportive community know, that all the feedback from the participants from the 2009 event has been read, digested and acted upon.

The 2008 event on reflection was a huge hit with great feedback, the riders commending the signage of the event which took several days to put up, check and re-check, even while the event was taking place. The other real favourite was the pasta pots made available at the feedstations which the rider's were loving. Of course the event ticked all the right boxes in terms of running a top quality sportive.

The facts speak for themselves as the event for 2008 is currently in the top 3 UK sportives so far rated this year with an overall rating of 94%.

There was a lot of chatter on lots of cycling forums across the Net. On the cyclosport forums some really great contributions allowed the organising team to make some exciting decisions regarding the 2009 event.


Bwlch Y Groes from the "Real Side"

Both Dave Lloyd and several riders came to the same conclusion, "It's a shame we didn't climb the hard side!". Well the route for 2009 takes on a new twist from Lake Bala ...

Heading on the east side of the lake, riders head towards Dolgellu and then across to Dynas Mawddwy to tackle the Bwlch from the south east side. This is reputed to be the hardest climb in Wales and the highest public road mountain pass in Wales anyways! It lies on the minor road linking Dinas Mawddwy and Llanuwchllyn. It has been known as the Hellfire Pass and was used between and after the wars especially by the Austin and Triumph Motor Company's to test prototype cars.

We were so happy that Dave had taken the 'back of the climb' and hadn't gone with the 'real' way up Bwlch Y Groes......the back of the Bwlch was simply gorgeous...the other side of this monster is on par with Hardknott....

The whole climb is around 12km from this side and the upper reaches boasts vast stretches of 20-25%! The Tour of Britain has been up here decades ago, with many of the pro's off walking too ...


Mountain Top Finish!

Instead of finishing at Ruthin school, the finish is now at the top of this 30% killer climb. So after 143 miles on the new MEGA route you have the pleasure of an uphill finish! The start from Ruthin school misses out Penbarras and heads straight for The Shelf climb.


Under Pressure

As per 2008, cut off points will be in place to ensure all participants are looked after safely so expect a cut off at Lake Bala to be in place. If your'e not feeling great on the day and or behind schedule, you can continue on the new medium MEGA route which bypasses the 35 miles loop and assault of Bwlch Y Groes, giving you the opportunity to press on and complete the 110 mile course.


The Figures

So the challenge consists of three routes, catering for a wide range of abilities:

The Mini-MEGA route at 70 miles, remaining unchanged but with the new mountain top finish at the end.

The Midi-MEGA route at 100 miles with all the usual suspects (climbs) included except for the new 35 mile Blwch loop.

And of course the full fat MEGA course at 145 miles and at present a figure of 5,500m of unconfirmed climbing on offer!

This will cater for a wide range of abilities, even though this is the "Mega Challenge". The organising team are planning to put on "The Best Sportive for 2009". With leading sportive organiser Terry Bell at the helm of an experienced team, they aren't making this statement lightly ...


 The Date

This year the event has been brought forward one week to 21st June 2009, to allow rider's of the Marmotte to be able to participate and still have the legs two weeks later in the Alps.


Decision Time

This will give you the opportunity to enter early and set your main objectives for next year well in advance. We advise early entry, as all indicators point to a sell out on this event well in advance. The inaugural event took a higher than expected entry of over 600 riders.

Cost for the Mini and Midi events are expected to be £30 with the Mega route expected to be £40, the extra cost covering the overheads of logistics and feedstations for the Mega route. Top quality standards are expected over and above 2008. Online entry and timing for the event will be provided by one of the best in the business, SPORTident. We envisage entry opening early October in co-ordination of a full preview and detailed information of all 3 routes, so that everyone can choose an option and start planning their training!

Personally, I have just commited (to the organisers) to ride the full Mega course next June. This gives me the added incentive to really keep motivated for the rest of this season and start setting goals over the winter! I am also planning to ride the 2009 Marmotte with other Sportvista's too - Mark Harding,

Watch Out!!! have been invited to co-ordinate a full preview of the new 2009 event in the coming weeks and we are inviting experienced Sportvista's to come along and ride the new MEGA route. If you would like to come along, please goto the Dave Lloyd MEGA Challenge forum thread on Cyclosport - 

Expect a tough, but fun day in the saddle with other Sportvista's, the preview ride will be supported too and will be run in a "club run/group" atmosphere.

Witness Britain's top Sportvista's dance on Bwlch-Y-Groes in the incredible 140 mile route of the 2008 Dave Lloyd MEGA Challenge on Cyclosport TV now - Alternatively you can download it directly here to watch on your computer in your leisure - (195 Mb).

The MEGA challenge, does exactly what it says on the box!

I'm sure Dave will have some good advice and tips for us Sportvista's, on getting prepared over the winter and spring in time for next year.

Mark Harding

Editor on the Last Climb, Phew!

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2nd June 2011 10:46pm Admin wrote:

Thanks for all the data thing missing...TERRIBLE says we can start from 6am? this ture....I'll need to be away God Help any helper trying to stop me doing the Bwlch Y Groes loop because of a time cut-off:-)

2nd June 2011 10:46pm Admin wrote:

See you've got a picture of me again pushing my bike up the Bwlch. I'm the third one along. This was taken on the Wild Wales Challenge, which by the way I'm doing again a week on Sunday.

2nd June 2011 10:46pm Admin wrote:

<b>SteveC</b> - Good luck with Wild Wales great route, just a shame they don't sign post it etc and make it a proper sportive, The route looks great!<br><br>
<b>Richyboy</b> - I'm part of the organisation team so I'm sure we'll be able to cater for an earlier start at 6am. That's a very wise decision - it's gonna be a long day no matter who you are ...

2nd June 2011 10:46pm Admin wrote:

Great to hear it's on again with added sting.

I am concerned the mountain finish is not the best idea. This is not from a pain point of view, but because riders who have finished will decend the same hill others are weaving up. I live locally and know how hard it is to decend it slowly. Is there a smart plan to avoid this?

2nd June 2011 10:46pm Admin wrote:

Yeah, ... All you have to do is carry on over the top and turn first right back onto the main road to Ruthin.. Then descend the "new" Bwlch down to the School... Easy Peasy...

2nd June 2011 10:46pm Admin wrote:

Any more news on the recce ride. What time are you planning on setting off, feed stops, can we bring supplies and put them in support vehicle etc.

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