Brenig Road Race 2012
The 2012 edition of the Brenig Road Race will be a bike race story that will likely be told and re-told by the riders, officials, marshals, volunteers and anybody witness to it for a long time.
Conditions were cold, between 1 and 4 degrees centigrade with reported flurries of sleet and snow on the higher ground of the route. Non-stop 'bouncing' rain, flooded sections of road and tree bending winds battering the vale of Clwyd. Of the 80 entrants and handful of reserve riders down on the start sheet, 53 brave riders signed on at Denbigh Football Club. 14 would finish.
Early in the race, riders were struggling with the immediate uphill pace being helped on by a brisk tailwind on the early sections of the climb. A notable solo breakaway was established by Dan Evans of Rhos on Sea CC. Race radio reported an ever-increasing gap, out to 2 minutes as he passed Llyn Brenig to Cerrigydrudion. He would be the first to tackle the wet and freezing windchill fast descents off of the moors down to Ruthin. The wheel spray from the standing and flowing water on the road, as well as the continuous heavy rainfall, offered limited visibility in the bunches of riders behind. This was the riders first real feel for the wind and temperatures.
This particular descent into Ruthin spelt the end, or the beginning of the end, for the majority of riders. Thankfully the race doctor was only called upon to check riders for their exposure to the cold and nothing more. The chasing pack of some 12/14 riders flashed through Ruthin led by Rhos on Sea's Matthew Ryan, chasing Dans breakaway which had by now eeked out to a reported 3 minutes. They headed the 7 miles back to Denbigh in pursuit and onto 3 laps of the 9 mile circuit. The majority of riders behind this chasing pack were getting off their bikes (or being helped off their bikes) into a fast filling up sag wagon or were riding back to retire at HQ.
Succumbing to the freezing conditions and struggling to change gear and operate his levers, Dans impressive solo breakaway, which had stood for the majority of the race was caught on the circuit near Bodfari. The remaining riders were reportedly attacking each other as the final lap approached, with the remaining Champion Systems riders driving the pace on, with strong attacks from Mike Cripps. It was Ben Ives of We Love Mountains Racing Team who made the decisive break with around 11 miles to go and took the bell and the final lap of the circuit alone. Half way round the last lap, a section of the road had become so flooded (half a wheel deep) that there was an NEG motorbike rider stopped alerting riders of the danger.
Leading in pursuit of Ben was Matthew Ryan who took up the mantle, making one final push, with as much help as possible from Rhos team mate Gareth Bowyer in the chasing pack. Ben Ives had TT'd his way clear to the finish, and won the race by an impressive 2 minute margin. Next to come into view around the gloomy final corner was Matthew Ryan. He secured his superb 2nd place some 200 metres ahead of the chasers, who battled it out for the remaining places and points. Though many (all?) were just happy to see the chequered flag finish line and roll over to finish the epic 2012 Brenig Road Race.
Ben Ives (We Love Mountains Race Team)
Matt Ryan (Rhos on Sea CC)
William Rudgard (Wolverhampton Wheelers)
John Rigby (Champion Systems)
Michael Garner (Birkenhead North End)
Mike Cripps (Army Cycling Union)
Alex Mitchell (We Love Mountains Race Team)
Gareth Bowyer (Rhos on Sea)
Gareth McGuinness (Energy Cycles)
Michael Ashurst (Champion Systems)
Matthew Love (Unattached)
Stephen Smith (Vita Cycle Team)
Alan Overson (VC Melyd)
Keiran Murphy (Army Cycling Union)
A huge thank you to all of the riders, officials, National Escort Group (NEG), marshals, organisers, volunteers and supporters of the race and club.