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UK sportive planner: 2018 Tour of Pembrokeshire

12 Dec 2017

A glorious early season sportive special along the Welsh coast

When: Saturday 19th May 2018
Where: St Davids, Wales
Distances: 100/75/50/25 miles
Cost: £46 (£29 for 25 miles)
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What is the Tour of Pembrokeshire?

Essentially, it’s a beautiful day out by bike in the UK’s only coastal National Park, in Pembrokeshire in the southwest corner of Wales. Celebrating its 11th edition in 2018, over the years it’s earned a reputation as a must-do sportive, and not just for riders from across the UK and Ireland either.

The event is twinned with the Tro Bro Léon pro race and sportive in Brittany, which shares a similar terrain of craggy coasts and rolling countryside. Ride HQ is the Crug Glâs Country House Hotel, set in 600 acres of farmland near St Davids (Britain’s smallest city), with breathtaking views over the coast.

What are the route options?

There are four routes, all starting from Crug Glâs and heading out in a loop via St Davids that aims to showcase the glorious scenery of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, with miles of country lanes winding through picturesque coastal villages.

The flagship event is the 100 miles (actually 108 miles) which continues through St Davids, along the coast around St Brides Bay to Milford Haven before turning back northwards for a hillier inland section over the high moorland and finishing with another coastal section through Fishguard.

New for 2018 is a ‘Taster’ route of 28 miles for those who want to sample the glorious Pembrokeshire scenery and soak up the atmosphere of the event, but may not feel up to the full distance.

In between are two intermediate rides of 50 and 75 miles, so there really is something for everyone – previous finishers have ranged from 8 to 80 years old! 

Are there hills?

With around 2,500m (8,100ft) of climbing in total, the 100 Miles is a fairly challenging route, the roads continuously rolling as they wind their way along the coast, with some pretty sharp gradients too.

The biggest climb of the day comes at around 115km (72 miles) just after Tafarn y Bwlch, with the road up to Bwlch y Gwynt, the highest point on the route – the same climb also features on the 75-mile route, while the shorter routes have their fair share of smaller but still testing hills. 

What’s included in the entry fee?

The food provided for riders is one of the highlights of the event. Start the day with a pre-ride bacon roll and coffee, and enjoy plentiful local produce at the feed stations along the route, including Pembrokeshire beef faggots, vegetarian pasties, Welsh cakes and bara brith bread, as well as the more usual choice of bananas and energy gels.

A full meal is also provided at the finish. There are also free hot tubs and showers available at the end of the ride and, for a supplementary fee, a sports massage for those weary legs.

Is there anything else that I need to know about?

As well as the cycling, the event organisers have teamed up with local water sports organisers to offer the opportunity for riders, friends and family to try their hand at sea kayaking, surfing, coasteering (like a mix of swimming and cross-country running along the rocky coast) and wildlife-spotting boat trips.

Live music is also provided by local bands both around the course and at the finish, all adding to the fun and friendly atmosphere of the event. And as camping is also available on site, why not make a weekend of it and enjoy the party? 

When can I sign up?

The Tour of Pembrokeshire 2018 is open now for entries at – it’s a popular event so don’t leave it too late to sign up, especially as the price increases for last-minute entries.

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