Colin Brooke – reporting on Velothon Wales 22 May 2016
Tried out the latest thing in cycling events last weekend – Velothon Wales is one of the series of events held throughout Europe. The really attractive feature of the 140km course was that it was all on closed roads which meant riding either side of islands and roundabouts and taking blind right hand bends tucked into the right hand kerb, just like the real thing as seen on TV. With 12500 participants there was some congestion on narrow roads and at feed stations but, otherwise, and especially without having to constantly check for vehicles, the event was very enjoyable. During the early easier part of the route there were murmurings and warnings about the impending climbs, a long one up the Tumble onto the moors and a shorter one up the Caerphilly ‘mountain’. Although quite challenging for my old legs, there was nothing to fear for those brought up on the moors and climbs of Calderdale. The return, on a downward trend into Cardiff, was exhilarating with the traffic free roads and groups of encouraging spectators and supporters, some pounding or shaking various forms of instruments. For the results page, I crossed the finishing line in 3889th position. I could have possibly improved this by 500 places if I hadn’t taken an emergency layby stop.
Anyway, enough of cycling, the strangest experience of the weekend occurred on the way down to Cardiff during my first comfort stop at the Sandbach services on the M6.
Glancing along the line of sports magazines in WH Smiths my attention was drawn to the ‘Outdoor Fitness’ magazine with a front cover headline of ‘Ireland’s Coast to Coast Adventure Race’, an annual event which I had done a couple of years ago. Taking the opportunity of a free look at the magazine I turned to the appropriate page and caught sight of a participant’s report headed ‘Colin Brooke’. I was amazed, that there is another chap called Colin Brooke and that he is doing the same type of events as me. His experience of the event was so like mine had been I soon cottoned-on to the fact that it was me. I remembered that I had responded to the organiser’s general request for brief reports, however, that was two years ago and I hadn’t given it a thought since. Needless to say I purchased the magazine at the extortionate price of £4.50. The last time I regularly bought magazines they cost about 2 shillings and 6 pence each, but, when all said and done, fame doesn’t come cheap.