Ride of Remembrance – The Route Recce! 

A few weeks ago Andrew, one of the riders in this charity event, and I took the opportunity of a rare free Sunday to check out the route for the upcoming Charity Marshals Mission Motorsport Ride of Remembrance. We made our way down to the Mission Motorsport Headquarters in Wantage which we found tucked away in an industrial estate, this would be the start of the ride in November, whilst this was a pipe-dream at first, it was now a reality!

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Mission Motorsport HQ is the starting point for the ride

Although I’ll be driving the route as support crew, Andrew drove this time to assess the road from a cyclist’s point of view whilst I made notes on our route planner and took photos at key points and junctions in order to make a thorough route card for each of the riders and one for our support crew van ready for the challenge ahead. Whilst we had planned an initial route, it soon became apparent that there would be various points where we’d need to find an alternative, more cyclist-friendly option. With the help of a trusty old-fashioned Roadmap and map-reading skills I learned as a child whilst planning routes with my Dad, we soon had various alternative options. The initial route plan certainly got some alterations scribbled on, with some sections being scrapped completely for a more appropriate alternative route!

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A particularly nasty stretch of road which we’ve scrapped from the route

The route is to be split into three days, so a part of the recky was to check out the potential accommodation too. The first place looked okay, but was a devil to find initially, it was also going to make day one a very long one at over 100 miles. This was something we were going to have to take to the rest of the team for discussion with the prospect of alternatives to be found, as although it was mainly the English section, the gradients we came across soon turned out to be tougher than the planned route across Snowdonia!

The second day was the route into Wales and across parts of Snowdonia before the resting point which will be at the originally planned Bunkhouse in Betws-y-Coed. It’s somewhere I know people who’ve done the three-peaks-challenge have stayed and upon checking it out, it certainly seems ideal for our needs too.

This led us onto what will be the final day, leading north out of Betws-y-Coed and onto the final 43-mile stretch to Anglesey Circuit. Again we came across various limits on roads as we got closer to the island, with certain stretches of road being unsuitable for cyclists due to their fast nature or in some cases having signed restrictions on them. Again, the trusty map came out, along with the added scribbles onto the initial route planner; I felt a bit like a rally co-driver with various instructions flying around! The final stretch onto the island will be the home-stretch and will follow the A4080 around the coast of Anglesey until they get to the circuit. Although there are aspects of the route that means it’s not quite the most direct (as the crow flies), we’ve had to take into consideration the safety of the riders, the fact it will be winter and therefore some cycling in the dark will have to be done, and with that in mind, the speed of some of the roads too.

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Essential kit for a good recce

Having completed the recce, the whole team of cyclists and support crew got together at one of the teams houses for our first formal planning meeting, having only had impromptu chats and discussions when we’d been marshalling together over the preceding weeks. During this meeting, as well as the final details of what would be needed in the support crew van, what each of the riders would need and various other logistics such as nutrition and fundraising, the final route was agreed. This included the alteration as suspected of days one/two to make them more even. So, the final route plan is as follows:

Day 1: Mission Motorsport HQ, Wantage to Ludlow (94 miles)

Day 2: Ludlow to Betws-y-Coed (93 miles)

Day 3: Betws-y-Coed to Anglesey Circuit, Ty Croes (43 miles)

Total: 230 miles in 3 days, in November!

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The Menai Bridge will be a welcome sight for the riders.

I think you’ll agree that deserves some support, remembering why these guys have chosen to challenge themselves to this level. They are just 6 ordinary guys, of varying states of fitness and cycling experience, who have decided to challenge themselves to raise money for this worthy cause; Mission Motorsport. For more information and to sponsor them, please check out the donation page. https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mmrideofremembrance2016

Written By Heather Roberts – (Twitter – @HeatherRMorris)

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