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Ireland & The Tumble Preview

Last weekend there was no group ride but two of our Team went on their own adventures. Andy went on a rugby trip with his son to Ireland and Gareth decided to do a recce of the Tumble.

Although we don’t have a report from Andy and his trip to Ireland we do know that he took his bike with him and did do a couple of rides as these were posted on Strava and we have some photographic evidence. We also know that he enjoyed the local tipple, which when in Ireland ……….

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We did get a report from Gareth and this is below:  I hope you all enjoy it.

The Tumble Preview by Gareth

Well, being keen to make sure that we don’t get lost on the 8th March I jumped on the train with bike, jumped off in Abergavenny and did the Tumble route.

I will refrain from swearing here but I take back any and all comments I have made about the Tumble not looking bad. I was sooo wrong, it’s really tough. I stopped twice on the ascent, partly due to not having warmed up properly in the short run from Abergavenny but mainly because it’s just a hard hard climb and I probably should have paced myself a little better early on. The steepness isn’t so much the issue as just the sheer distance that your climbing at a hard gradient for.

I’d say it is a bit harder than the Tongwynlais route up Caerphilly mountain but goes on for 6k rather than the 1.5k or so. At no point do you think ‘oh my god’ that’s steep but I found after about 3k my right leg was burning too much and had a short breather and shortly after another one but then the gradient eased off a little and I ploughed on over the top.

Awesome views although they are largely behind you which is a shame.

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The descent is horrible. I read somewhere that it’s not much of a surface and it isn’t. Very bumpy, thought my handle bars were coming off and it was starting to snow  with cross winds picking up plus a fair smattering of unmelted snow in the verges so I was pretty tentative coming down.

The rest of the route was pretty good though, although I managed to get on the wrong side of the Rhymney Valley about half way down and am really not sure where I went wrong. Caerphilly mountain at the end of what ended up being 70k and over 1100 meters of climbing was really hard but managed to crawl up at about 9kph without stopping.

The views in and around the Tumble are amazing and cycling down the right hand shoulder of the Rhymney Valley is pretty special, very much Gods country and does feel a bit like the long alpine runs you see on the tour.

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Anyway The tumble is HARD and I would strongly recommend everyone trains at riding at threshold for long periods as your legs will be screaming at you for 6k.

Look out for the 40k Time Trial in the next blog ……………

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