Congratulations to Maxwell Randles-Hall for setting a new WUCA record for the Wales N-S in the Male, 18-49 age group on a standard bike. This also qualifies for a GWR for Max!
Wales, North to South.
Start: Entrance to Talacre Beach Car Park at the end of Station Road (0745, 4 Sep 2022).
Finish: Entrance to Barry Island Carpark off Friars Road roundabout (1620, 4 Sep 2022).
Distance: 174.9 miles
Total Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Unfortunately, the calm dry days of summer came to an end a few days before my attempt. I battled a consistent headwind for the whole ride, which was particularly evident on elevated and exposed sections. The rain held off for the first hour, but heavy showers and longer sustained periods of rain became the order of the day. Apart from the first five miles, road conditions were relatively good throughout.
I was cycling in North Wales on a training camp a few months prior to the attempt and had wondered just how long it would take to ride to the south coast. Following some research, I discovered that a record had been set and after crunching some numbers I thought that I could attempt to break it. Additionally, I have always aspired to hold a Guinness World Record, so after learning that WUCA is their affiliated partner, I set my sights on setting a new benchmark.
I completed the entirety of the ride on my Scott Plasma TT bike, which I use for long distance triathlon, so I am very comfortable on it for extended periods. I had a spare road bike (Rose X-Lite) in the car in case of any major mechanical issues, which was fortunately not required. I wore my Royal Navy Triathlon suit with additional aero arm sleeves and calf guards, and a Giro Aerohead helmet. A recent addition to my set-up is the EZ Disc, disc wheel cover, which is a cost-effective way to get the benefits of a full rear disc, without the cost.
I used a mix of nutrition throughout my attempt. My bottles had a Tailwind mix providing carbs and electrolytes. This was augmented by SiS Beta fuel chews and gels as well as salt tablets, flapjacks, and bananas. I was drinking a bottle every hour and eating as and when I felt necessary. I took on approximately 2500cal during the ride, which was within the tolerance I was aiming for.
I was receiving great encouragement from my support crew throughout. Additionally, passers-by were considerate and often gave a friendly “beep” of the horn to cheer me on. Knowing that I was raising money for Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity was also a constant source of morale.
The headwind and at times, heavy rain made for a challenging ride. The long climb towards Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons was particularly mentally challenging, but I knew that after cresting the hill, I was on the final stretch.