Event Review

REVIEW: Tour de Mon 2014

by Sean Lacey

GB Flag

The feed was again set up at the Bulkeley hotel, and we had a brief stop for a filled roll and snacks / fruit / water top up. This was the first of a few stops to raise the seatpost on the Raleigh too. One thing I forgot when setting it up at home was the carbon paste, and a combination of my 83kg and not wanting to clamp the carbon post too tightly meant it kept slipping the whole ride, working my muscles differently leading to very tired legs early on.  

Next up was the longest climb of the day, with a sharp start followed by a sustained climb up with great views from the top. More coastal roads, into the torturous headwind wind now though, before cutting inland and occasional welcome shelter, then heading back to the coast once more. Through the pretty Bull Bay and Cemaes and on to the final feed, where we met up with another Shropshire local, Chris. He stuck with us for a bit before dropping off to stick to his own pace - this was to be his first century ride. 

Admire the scenery 

Final feed at this windmill 

Turning south back towards Valley, we hit the lumpy last section - some of which we covered on the way out - which was a constant series of small rises and dips that sapped my already tired legs to almost empty. Malcolm took the lead for the most part to keep me rolling, and soon enough we were heading back past South Stack and the (mercifully) downhill run to the finish, with cheering crowds and the busy village to entertain and fuel us in the afternoon sunshine. 

In addition to my ride, Abby and AnnMarie also took part in the free family ride, a 6 mile route that didn't stray too far from the beach, but took in a challenging climb into the hills nearby. With a feed stop at half way, there were also ride leaders to help you round - again from Holyhead Cycling Club. Both of them enjoyed it immensely, as did it seems the other 100 or more riders taking part. AnnMarie, who has walking difficulties due to arthritis, found the captains to be a huge help, being very patient and encouraging as she made the climb, while others kept an eye on Abby as she raced up.

My own soigneur 

Start for the family ride 

Abby was thrilled when I got back to have been able to take part, and loved every minute, feeling as though she was just like daddy riding a sportive with a feed, marshals and the ride captains - even a finishers' memento as we got on the main ride - it made her birthday, so must have been good! These kind of additions to get the family involved can only be a good thing, and one I applaud Always Aim High for providing, at no cost too which is superb. 

Last year's event was very professionally put together for a first attempt, and this Tour De Mon was a slick event once more from start to finish. The registration and expo the day before was a nice touch, enabling you to get things in order without rushing around on the morning. The route was fantastic, sticking to the scenic coast roads as much as possible, with the additions of the flying mile and Menai Bridge crossing adding to it. 

Family feed stop 

All smiles at the end 

The feeds were well stocked, with rolls and crisps, cake, trail mix and more, with water or serve-yourself tubs of energy powder if you wanted it. The signage was excellent - plenty of it and AA style signs around the island well before the event warning drivers of the event. Also there were marshals on most junctions, and Welsh marshals have the ability to stop traffic unlike our English counterparts which made for smooth progress. 

The local support was great again too, with people out all over the course to cheer on the riders. Malcolm commented that it was one of the best sportives he had ridden, and he does a fair few. With the family ride adding to the appeal (we didn't have Abby with us last year), it was yet again an event hard to find fault with, and highly recommended. 

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 7 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 10 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 10 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 8 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 8 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 9 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 9 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 88.9%

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