Change in Challenge list 

This is Lakesman tri weekend however this is not a race report of this long course triathlon in stunning scenery of the Lake District.

Due to my asthma diagnosis and affects on my training I used my race insurance and withdrew with a a full refund. 

So as a substitute challenge for my 50th year list I did the Dragon Ride – Medio, 96miles last weekend in Wales where the weather was a dam sight worse than this weekends race temps ! 

Starting from Magram country park just outside Port Talbot we headed and climbed into the heart of the Brecon Beacons. 

To say the weather was changeable didn’t do its strength and brutality justice. From the occasional shafts of sunlight we mostly had gale force winds, driving rain and to top it off a hailstorm at the top of Devils Elbow. 

Meeting up with a few Chippenham tri mates in the carpark we unpacked, faffed about with our kit and then rolled over the start which was particularly quick & quiet compared to last year but then the weather was 30c wall to wall sunshine in 2016. So maybe a few riders stayed home. 

Within a few hundred meters I came across Ewen & Alison riding this as a taper for JOGLE. 

A few traffic lights and roundabouts split our group but we met up again at the first feed station and by this time I already had a soggy chamois & rain jacket on. The first of the two big climbs done which were 4 & 3 mile sit n spin climbs. The descents would have been cracking apart form the wet road surface and gusty winds so fingers firmly feathering the brakes for a slower descent. 

Then it was a climb up into the Beacons I’d say the views were fantastic but I couldn’t see them through rain splattered glasses. A bit of rolling roads and then the road narrowed to a closed track with tufts of grass down the centre which funnelled us into the base of the Devils elbow. 

The flags outlining the climb were standing vertically which just highlighted the gradient, flags hanging on for dear life as the wind tried to strip them off the poles. 

B and I stopped to take our jackets off and prepare ourselves for the mountain ahead. We did our best but it was slow going and I have to say I wasn’t too proud to get off and push and take a swig of my inhaler. As we were stopped on the corner to get our breath and admire the views we saw two cyclists blown over infront of us- one lady ridding and a male pushing his bike ! – scary stuff. 

We pushed on literally from the last bend and as a photographer was just before the summit it was time to saddle up and finish this mountain climb. Our reward at the top ? a hailstorm! Cue cramp in right leg which locked and as I unclipped my left I was hopping around trying to unclipp my right leg but it wasn’t playing. So I managed to twist my left knee before I wrenched my right leg out of cleats and stretch it out. 

Another swooping descent – well it would have been if I wasn’t gripping the brakes for dear life and trying to ignore the needle stick pings from the pain of the hailstones hammering down. Finally the second feedstation. Unfortunately no tea & coffee at this one when we needed it most, but the egg mayo wraps were delicious. 

We didn’t hang around as we were absolutely soaked and frozen so time to push on to the finish. 

As the chimneys of Port Talbot came into view the sun made an appearance along with the stink of the steelworks but we were so please to see this stinky eyesore as knew we were close to home now. 

Our little gang has regrouped and we rolled over the line together. Pint of Erdinger & SIS recovery drink were inhaled along with a pasta salad. 

Finishers photos then time to get some clean & dry clothes on and head home via first services for coffee & loo. It took me until the River Severn crossing, heated seats and heating on full blast before I finally defrosted. 

Home – bath- tea – food and bed. What do you do the next day ? Sign up to do it the following year. Just hoping that the weather reverts back to sunshine ☀️ 


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