If you missed it, defiantly one for the calendar next year. The Ffestiniog 360 was a 63 mile loop starting from Blaenau Ffestiniog a looping round Wales’s highest peak, Snowdon. The organisers could not have picked a better day for it low winds and beaming sunshine, temp was a crazy 24 Degrees C. With a lot of sportives going north of £25 this was a seal at £15 with proceeds going to http://www.hopehouse.org.uk/ (or Ty Gobaith in Welsh). They kept it simple as the 63 miles is achievable without the need to elaborately decorated and over stocked feed stations. Water was available and if you wanted there were plenty of places to stop and eat something locally prepared.
No mass start you just start from anytime between 8:30 and 11am. From Blaenau Ffestiniog you were straight into the the climb past the gnarly anturstiniog MTB course, no warm up at all, the decent was worth it all the way down to Betws-y-Coed. Most Treads CC members know Betws well as we have mountain biked there many a time and it was hard to cycle past the Betws-y-Coed chip shop. From there is was up past Capel Curig then onto the first water stop at Pont Pen-y-bengog, as we started at 11am there were only a few riders left at the water stop, it was a little overcast but very warm so things were only going to get better. Another long decent, on the A5, on a busy road was actually really quite good the cars were pretty good to us and all were giving us plenty of space, the sunshine always brings out the happy drivers. Onto the quieter B roads at Tregarth we were treated to a stunning view of Anglesea, we could easily see right across the Island. Then quite a sharp climb and decent to Brynrefall the 2nd water station, and where the picture was taken. We were directed to go to the other end of the bridge and take in the view obscured (and in the shade) by the trees of the water stop. The view was a real treat and as I’ve been to Wales a lot in my life, a view I’d never seen… thanks to the very insistent marshall who told to go and look at the view. After a climb up to FFridd Chaf (do not ask me to pronounce that) we caught up with a family of 4 and the 2 lads were obviously being held up by their parents. The decent all the way down to Beddgelert was fast and got faster… why, who knows sometimes a decent just draws everyone into having a bit of fun at speed. For the decent we picked up the 2 lads who were really fast considering one of the bikes was way too big for him. But he was loving it, ditched his folks and was happy to ride as hard as he could to stay with us. ICE-CREAM shop STOP!!! Yup entering Beddgelert we stopped quicker than an F1 car on it’s pit stop markers, everyone was happy to take a break and take in essential ride fuel, 2 scoops 1 cameral and 1 mint choice chip. The 2 lads who were still waiting for their folks were pretty pumped and happy to reminisce about being part of the decent. By now the sun was beaming and I didn’t really take in much of Beddgelert, just concentrated on my ice cream.
Refuelled and ready to go Chris (the local one) chuckled at what was to come, the climb. We were at sea level now and although it doesn’t sound like much the climb to 152 meters was steep the highest gradient I saw was 17% so it wasn’t a slope. Johno went for glory as by this time we were with quite a lot of riders, all sporting the same local club kit. So Johno showed them that in Northampton there are some mountain goats, I showed them how to wheeze.
Final Water stop at Meantwog and we were on the last climb to the finish, quite long, steady and warm… can’t complain at all about it as we passed a lady out for a walk pushing a pram up the hill with 2 kids in it.
Greeted back in Blaenau Ffestiniog with a friendly welsh welcome, coffee, cake, a t-sirt and a slate coaster for our accomplishment. Great day and company, thanks Mcobie, Sporticus and Chris (the local one) for the company.