The New Forest Cycling Club


Five Valleys Gran Fondo

 

For the second year running Martin Balk (Club Secretary) traveled up to South Wales to take part in the Five Valleys Gran Fondo organised by John Pritchard to raise money for prostate wales.

On a sunny morning at Margam Park, the event was started by ex Olympic Road Race champion Nicole Cooke, Martin setting off in a small group including Eddie Adkins (former competition record holder and multiple time trial champion). This hilly event takes the route of the former five Valleys, star trophy road race. After some forty miles and much climbing, having long been dropped by a very fit Eddie, the first major summit, the Bwlch was reached.

After some radical refuelling (not the healthy option, a hot dog) he made the decision to take the long route, 72 miles.

After the exhilarating decent into Treorchy, a gentle climb through the Rhonda valley, was followed by the long famous climb of the Rhigos. The fast decent of the Rhigos and the flowing roads along the Vale of Neath came as welcome relief and a chance to recover.

Martin found the last 20 miles very difficult, suffering from cramp (remember that hot dog?), that had him dismounting 4 times on the Cimla climb out of Neath. With his average seed dropping by two miles per hour over the last 20 miles, he was pleased to finish in an average 12.4 mph.

 

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