Friday, 25 October 2013

Escape the Dragon Charity Ride - Phil Lucker

I met Phil Lucker back in July when he was halfway through completing Escape the Dragon, an ambitious charity mountain bike ride undertaken to raise money for 2 sisters (Alice and Hannah) that have a condition known as Dystonia  and Jigsaw, a group being set up for children with additional needs. Alice and Hannah’s mum was instrumental in setting up Jigsaw and the ride seemed the perfect way to raise funds for the girls and the group. Phil was accompanied by his support Crew, JJ and David, who are the girls Grandad’s.

We met at the Drovers Rest in Llanwrtyd Wells, where Phil, JJ and David were spending the night before continuing the ride the next day. It was a warm, beautifully sunny evening and we all sat outside with drinks to discuss how the ride was going. Neil, the founder of Red Kite Events, had set up the interview after meeting Phil a couple of months earlier and offering to help and support him whilst he completed Escape the Dragon.

Escape the Dragon was Phil’s take on the Welsh Coast to Coast (from Caernarfon to Cardiff). The inspiration to complete this route came from Gary Lake, who completed the challenge in just 36 hours. Phil tweaked the original Coast to Coast route and the change of course helped inspire the name Escape the Dragon – Phil would for the main part follow the original Coast to Coast route but veer off near the end and leave Wales (the dragon) to head for Thornbury and end the ride in his hometown.

Escape the Dragon 9
The name for the ride also had connotations that Alice and Hannah wish to escape their conditions and that setting up Jigsaw would help them, and others, do this.

Phil has been a keen mountain cyclist for years, starting with his commute to work, which progressed to doing mountain bike events. Before this, he ran with Bristol and West Running Club with his training partner, Claire Hallisey, after finishing a short career playing football. Used to getting fit for challenges such as Escape the Dragon, Phil got started with his training programme.

He was given free membership to Riverside Leisure for his gym sessions before completing the ride and began looking around for mountain bike events to take part in to improve his fitness. Red Kite Events cropped up during one internet search, and Phil decided to take part in the Devil’s Challenge in Llanwrtyd Wells. He got talking to Neil before the event and it was then that Neil offered to help out with Escape the Dragon.

Unfortunately, 10k into the Devil’s Challenge, Phil took a nasty fall off his bike. He had to go to hospital and the accident set his training schedule back by three weeks whilst he recuperated from his injuries (see previous blog post about Devil's Challenge I). He was bed-bound for a week, and got back on his bike two weeks after the accident. He gradually started building his fitness up again.

Throughout his training, Phil was also busy looking for sponsors to support him during his ride. Nick Cooper, from Big Tall Order, picked up on Escape the Dragon and got in touch with Phil. He introduced him to Darren, a national sales rep for Columbia Outdoor Clothing Company, who supplied the clothes and gear Phil needed. VW Heritage also agreed to provide the support vehicle for the ride. Finally, the event was announced by Smurfit Kappa Packaging who provided a large amount of sponsorship for the event. As well as this, the company bought Alice and Hannah a trike, which is purpose built to suit their needs. Other sponsors for the ride included Green Oil, the Drovers Rest and Nuun Products.

Finally, back to full fitness and with all his sponsorships sealed, Phil headed up to Caernarfon along with JJ and David on the 12th July to begin Escape the Dragon.

When Phil arrived in Brecon early on Saturday evening, JJ and David were waiting to take him to Llanwrtyd, where they were spending the night and where I met them. After eating and showering, the team had an early night to prepare for the final day of the challenge, Brecon to Thornbury.

Whilst Phil had not been stuck to any timescales on Friday and Saturday, it was a different matter on Sunday. It had been agreed before the ride began that Phil would arrive back in Thornbury in time for Kids Praise at four o’clock, and that all the children would meet Phil to cycle the last 500 yards to the finish line at the church. With this in mind, there was an early start for Phil and the team to ensure they met the four o’clock . The first two days took there toll on Phil, who admits Sunday morning was a struggle, but he did enjoy the “time trial” along the tow path from Brecon to Abergavenny. He made it over the Severn Bridge at 2pm that afternoon and was met by friends who rode back to Thornbury with him. In fact they even had time to take Phil to a local hostelry for a well-deserved pint before he joined the children for the final 500 yards to the finish.

Phil is now back in training both cycling and running after a summer break. He has now counted all the sponsorship money and is pleased to have raised £1060 for the girls and Jigsaw. You can still donate by visiting his website Red Kite Events are proud of sponsor the ride and can be found at

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Devil's Challenge II - 22nd September 2013

Things have been busy at Red Kite Events lately, not least because our latest event, the Devil's Challenge II, was held on Sunday 22nd September, right here in Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales.

This was an MTB and sportive event, with the start and finish in the Bromsgrove Hall. Both the MTB and sportive events had the choice of four routes, of varying distances. MTB riders could choose from 30k, 55k, 73k or the big one, a full-on, tough 85k. Sportive riders chose from either 21 miles, 53 miles, 70 miles or 100 miles.

The sportive riders set off first, in small groups of 2 or 3 at a time. Soon all the riders were out enjoying the course. At 10.30am, the MTB riders set off in an impressive mass start, which threaded through Llanwrtyd before they strung out and began their off-road ride just past the Cambrian Woollen Mill.

The day was grey, but there was little or no rain. I headed to the top of the Eppynt after the MTB mass start, where the sportive riders enjoying the longer routes were coming over before wending their way slowly back to Llanwrtyd. With stunning views and rolling scenery, it was the perfect place to get some photos and chat to a few of the riders who wanted a quick break after a long, punishing climb up from Llywel. One rider commented on the wonderful scenery he'd encountered, whilst another didn't stop, merely calling as he pedalled by 'I am in a whole world of pain right now!' I think he meant it in a good way.....

Back at base after a couple of hours on the Eppynt, I caught up with Jen and Paul, who were doing the timekeeping and making sure everyone checked in upon their return to the Bromsgrove. Sportive riders doing the shorter courses were already returning and all commented on what a great ride they had had. With hot pasta and drinks available for all riders, most headed off to grab some food and re-fuel after their gruelling few hours on their bikes.

I headed out with Neil, the event organiser, who had received a call from one of the feed stations. They were low on food for the riders. The Drovers Rest provides all the fantastic sweet and savoury goodies for the feed stations, and there are also Nuun hydration products available, as well as jelly babies. After stocking up the station once more, we headed up to a remote spot in the hills to re-mark part of the route, where riders were reporting some missing arrows. It was another perfect opportunity for photos as we watched riders descending down a steep grassy hillside.

Having completed this task, we returned to Llanwrtyd. Many more MTB and sportive riders were returning, and everyone was pleased how their day had worked out. Only one serious injury had been reported (a broken collar bone) and everyone commented on what a good time they had had, and how great the routes were for good views and scenery.

 The MTB riders were happy with the technicality of their routes, which included everything from long, flowing downhills, root infested technical tracks and bed rock. Most sportive riders commented on the many long, challenging climbs they had encountered, with riders who completed the longer courses actually climbing over 3000m in total.

The Devil's Challenge II was the last big event being held by Red Kite Events this year, and we're pleased everyone who took part thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We'd also like to pass on a massive thanks to the entire Red Kite team, who help make these events as good as they are.

We're now focussing on the Winter XC Series, which begin on 20th October and are being held at Coed Trallwm, near Beulah. For more information, check out our website Entries will only be taken on the day and costs £12.

In the new year, our larger weekend events will be returning, bigger and better than ever, so keep checking our website for more information which will be coming soon. Alternatively, why not check out our Twitter page @redkiteevents1 or our Facebook page

Watch out for our next blog too - it's about one man and his big charity ride 'Escape the Dragon'.....

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Red Kite's very own blogger gets back on a bike after years of keeping away.......

It will be the first time I’ve ridden a bike in years. I actually can’t remember the last time I rode one, and feel both dubious and nervous about starting again. It’s a whim – my Dad is a keen road cyclist and my sister often goes out with him for hours at a time, exploring the miles of quiet country roads that surround us here in Mid Wales. I have also started writing a blog for Red Kite Events, a company that runs MTB and sportive events. It’s got me a little bit more interested than I used to be and I feel like I should go out on a bike just once to see what all the fuss is about.

Dad has chosen a short (very short!) route for us – an out and back 5 miler from home, going a little way out across the Epynt. He’s put my bike saddle up and done something to the gears apparently, I’m not sure what and it makes little difference to me since I don’t understand it anyway. He explains everything he’s done to me and it goes in one unknowledgeable ear and out the other in seconds.

The weather is warm and I feel mounting apprehension as I climb onto the yellow bike. What have I let myself in for? I like walking and have climbed Snowdon this year, but cycling has never been something I was keen on, even as a child when I did ride more often. But there’s no turning back now – Dad has already set off.

We hit uphill straight away because the track to our house is on a hill. I hate it already, struggling up the slope, progress slow. It feels like it takes forever to get to the road, but I am triumphant when I reach tarmac – I haven’t gotten off to push my bike once (a big achievement for someone who’s not ridden one for years, let alone up a hill!) and made it all under my own pedal power. I take a gulp of water and catch my breath.

All you experienced bikers reading this are probably laughing by now, the track was only three quarters of a mile and I’m acting like I’ve cycled 50 all uphill miles. But it felt like I’d passed some sort of test, that first hill, and I carry on along the (flatter) road feeling elated.

The route is fairly flat and very familiar from my thousands of car journeys to and from home over the years. You don’t notice the lumps and bumps or the camber of the road when you’re driving though, and I’m surprised to realise that the ‘flat’ road is actually gently sloping downhill. I pedal along, enjoying the slight breeze.
I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it is obvious to me now that cycling opens up a world of opportunities – so much quicker than walking and so much more quiet and calm than driving. You can breathe and take the scenery in. I’m still wobbly though, and find that staring straight ahead is my best bet for the time being!

We reach the point where we turn back quicker than I expected we would. I feel like I could go loads further. Once you settle into a rhythm, even hills aren’t that bad. There is one ‘big’ hill on the way home to tackle. I catch Dad up and manage to overtake him, which I think takes him by surprise. We laugh and then he zooms down the other side and out of sight. I go more slowly, not yet confident enough to take my hands off the brakes and freewheel it.

The whole ride takes us no more than half an hour to 45 minutes and I arrive home feeling pleased with myself. I’ve managed to tackle hills I had been looking at before the ride and dreading. I feel okay, although I have muscles in my legs that I didn’t know existed before and my bum is a bit sore. And most of all, to my greatest surprise, I realise I actually enjoyed myself!

It takes me a week to email Dad and suggest we go on another bike ride. This time, we do a circular route. It is muggy and after work, so I’m tired and not feeling one hundred percent. I almost ring to cancel, but then tell myself that exercise is supposed to help and make myself drive home.

It takes me a little while to establish a rhythm this time, and there are a couple of occasions where I hop off to catch my breath and push my bike for a little while. Dad cycles slowly beside me and we chat. Finally, I manage to get into the swing of things and tackle a long, steady uphill, reaching the top without stopping and without getting too out of puff. We pause for some water and to take in the view. Despite low-slung clouds partially obscuring the Cambrians, it is stunning. I feel happy and excited. Cycling could open up many more opportunities for me to enjoy one of my favourite pass-times – taking in a good view. Walking allows me this opportunity to an extent, but it takes longer.

The downhill is long and flowing, beautifully smooth tarmac. I even get up enough guts to take my hands off the brakes and freewheel it down to the bottom. My fingers hover nervously over the brakes but the feel of the wind rushing past me is exhilarating. I barely pedal for the next five minutes.

I make it to the top of the last uphill again without stopping, keeping a slow and steady pace. I’m elated and have a private celebratory fist pump into the air. Dad is way ahead again, cycling homewards. I amble along, enjoying myself. He waits at the top of our drive for me and we head down towards the house together.

I’m sore again, but less so than last time. And what is more, I definitely want to go cycling again! And for longer… Maybe I’ll push for a 10 miler next time? Who knows. All I can say is that I have definitely been bitten by the cycling bug. Maybe I’ll even take part in one of Red Kite Events sportives in the future? Or am I being a little over-ambitious after just two short rides… Only time will tell!

Apologies for the lack of pictures of me on a bike - once I'm on I generally just want to keep going!! The few that have been posted are of the scenery in our wonderful corner of Mid Wales, that can all be viewed from the saddle of a bike, whatever experience you have!! 

From top to bottom:
View across Llyn Brianne Reservoir.
View across the Cambrian's from the Epynt viewpoint, on the B4519 between Garth and Upper Chapel.
View across the top of the Cambrian Mountains (one for you mountain bikers), up above Coed Trallwm.
View across the Epynt, taken along the back road between Cynala and Tirabad.
View of the sunset in early August 2013, looking across rooftops in Llanwrtyd, taken from the A483 road bridge that crosses the River Irfon in town.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Some housekeeping and a quick catch-up!

Lots has been happening recently with Red Kite Events.

To begin with, Neil, the main man behind Red Kite Events, recently completed the London 100 event. This event was developed by the Mayor of London and his agencies as a true legacy of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Boris Johnson even took part in the ride himself, completing it in approximately 8 hours.

Neil managed a better time, taking 5½ hours to ride the 100 miles. Neil raised £787 for the charity Diabetes UK and said that the ride was good and he is already keen to take part next year.

Altogether, 17,000 people completed the closed road ride through the City of London and out into West Surrey, and it is likely this event will just continue to get bigger and better. If you fancy taking part next year and raising some money for your chosen charity, why not check out for more information about 2014’s event.

On 21st July, The Breckland Devil got underway in the Thetford Forest, Norfolk. Approximately 230 riders took part and the road event in particular was excellent, with some great cycling along fast, flat roads and good local knowledge allowing the team to put together some really great routes.

The following weekend, 25th-28th July, the Devil’s Bash was held in Llanwrtyd. This is a new event quite unlike any others that are run by Red Kite Events. It involves experienced guides, who have excellent local knowledge on where all the best MTB routes are in the area, taking riders out for a fantastic day in the hills.

18 riders turned up for a weekend of guided riding, and the event was highly sociable and different to the normal events put on by Red Kite Events. Everyone who came thoroughly enjoyed their stay, with lunch provided each day by the Drovers Rest and delivered out onto the route for riders to enjoy. The event was successful, and it is likely that similar events will be held again in future, for those who wish to experience the very best trails in the area.

The Winter XC series will be held throughout the winter months, with dates to be confirmed shortly. Look out for more information at, or keep your eyes peeled on Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively, the dates will be given on this blog in the near future.

As well as this, we have the Devil’s Challenge 2 fast approaching on the 22nd September, once again set in Llanwrtyd Wells. This will be a sportive and MTB event, and you can already enter online.

For more information on any of Red Kite Event’s upcoming events, check out
Alternatively, check out our Facebook page at!/pages/Red-Kite-Events/133742836741821?fref=ts or Twitter - @redkiteevents1. Make sure you keep an eye out for future blog posts too – we have one about a charity Coast to Coast ride coming up very soon indeed!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Elan Valley Challenge - From a Medic's Point of View

The Elan Valley Challenge MTB and Sportive event was held on 23rd May, and it'll go down as perhaps one of the wettest, most miserable days (weather-wise!) Red Kite Events has had to endure!

With low cloud and fog over the high ground, gale force winds, heavy rain, hailstones on the hills and temperatures closer to those you might experience in November rather than on a mid-summer's June day, it looked to be hard day for riders and event organisers alike. I was due to spend my day out with Strata Medical, the medical team that covers most of the events organised by Red Kite.

As per our agreement the night before, I was ready and waiting by 8.30am, huddled in a jacket and attempting to keep off the worst of the rain and cold. After pick up, our first task of the day was to get the maps out, check the routes the MTB riders would be doing and pack all the gear we needed into the 4x4s.

From a medic's perspective, it was the worst sort of day. There was no helicopter support due to the low clouds, and the 130km MTB ride passed through a valley so remote it was accessible only on foot in these difficult conditions. The course covered high terrain and many areas with little or no phone reception, and communications would be difficult.

Ever ready for such challenges, the Strata Medical team have decades of experience between them, and Robin, who is also a trained mountain rescue volunteer, knows every little patch of signal available in the remotest of places. In fact, he probably knows better than the mobile phone companies where to find signal! The Strata Medical vehicles are 4x4s and 'The Beast', an aptly named ex-minibus raised up onto 4x4 suspension, which serves as an ambulance, able to go into some of the most isolated areas. It was clear to see that all the cyclists taking part in the Elan Valley Challenge were in safe hands with Strata Medical covering the event!

By 9.30am, the call came in from the event organiser, Neil, that the 130km had to be cancelled due to deteriorating conditions. Undeterred, most of the riders who had planned to do this route decided to do the 82km ride instead, and by 10am, most of them were out on the course. Robin, Jan and I were also out, heading along forestry tracks and mountain roads to reach our first location, on the hilltop overlooking Strata Florida.

Here, a certain amount of skill with maps was required, and after a slight diversion, we reached our destination. Robin had of course known that there would be signal at this location, and the radio was working well too, with a reasonably clear link between us and the other medical team out covering the course near Devil's Staircase, the Abergwesyn Common and the bottom of Drygarn Fawr. We were up and running!

I decided the time was good for some photographs, and climbed out of the 4x4 to do so. The cross-wind immediately almost knocked me off my feet and took my breath away. My immediate thoughts turned to the cyclists who were, no doubt, right at that second, battling through the wind somewhere along the course. I took a few photos of the thick fog which obscured our view (I was assured by Robin that on a fine day, you can see all the way to the sea from where we were) and retreated to the 4x4 again to get warm.

An extreme contrast! Top photo - the day of the event, the bottom photo, a few days before whilst Neil was out marking the route.

The morning passed quietly. By 12pm we had had 8 riders through and only 1 bike fault, no medical complaints at all. Robin helped the guy fix his bike (the chain had slipped off) and most riders paused to have a quick chat with us, mostly about the weather. The wind was not so bad in the valleys and all the riders were enjoying the day, despite the weather! Looking at them, covered in mud and soaked, I couldn't help but think they must be slightly mad! We were informed that around Claerwen Reservoir, the winds had been so strong that cyclists had to pedal downhill to make any headway!

I was struck by the amount of information shared between the medical units, and the amount of detail that passed between them. It was rare for five minutes to go by without the radio crackling to report something new. The stream of information was almost constant. I quickly realised this was part of what made the team so successful, along with their excellent local knowledge. Robin also kept in close contact with the event venue in Elan Valley, ringing every half hour or so to report back and get more information.

More than 300 riders were out on the course, completing either the 30km, 50km or 82km routes. By 1.30pm, an almost steady stream of cyclists were passing us to head downhill towards the second feed station, where riders stop to refuel and take a breather. As usual, there was a choice of cakes and savoury snacks available, all home-made and provided by the Drovers Rest in Llanwrtyd Wells. As well as this, there were bowls of jelly beans and other sweets and Nuun hydration products for riders.

So far, there had been no medical accidents or incidents. Robin explained that on a wet, cold day like this, riders were more likely to ride slowly and take their time on difficult descents. We were more likely to see riders suffering from exhaustion, chills, hypothermia or muscle injuries than trauma injuries such as cuts, bruises and breaks or fractures. On hot, dry days when the routes are dry and faster, there are usually more falls and this is when the trauma injuries occur.

Our first call came through at 2pm. We sprang into action - a man was at Strata Florida Abbey suffering from cramp. We set off down the hill, my first experience of off-roading! Halfway down, we came across another rider coming up the hill. He was exhausted and cold and wanted to be picked up. Robin suggested he carry on to a more sheltered spot and we would come back for him once our patient at the Abbey had been seen to. We were now out of communication with the other medical unit and could not radio them to collect the rider, but continued down to Strata Florida as quickly as possible, with some concern for the rider up on the hill.

Luckily, our first patient was recovering well from his cramp by the time we reached him, and was sitting drinking a cup of tea when we found him in the Abbey visitor centre. Whilst Robin loaded his bike into the 4x4 and fetched a coat and blanket to keep the rider warm, Jan borrowed the visitor centre phone to report back to the event venue and tell them all was well.

 Above picture courtesy of Tom Stickland, MB Swindon.

We set off back up into the forestry to locate the other cold and tired rider, briefly stopping to send two other riders (one with a broken bike who could not continue) to the Abbey to await pick-up. Back in the forestry, we found a patch of phone signal with good radio links and contacted the other unit. They have picked up the other rider and were going to take him to Llanwrtyd Wells for collection. We agreed to rendezvous to pass our passenger over to them too and both could then be taken to Llanwrtyd Wells before 'The Beast' continued to Rhayader and the event venue.

Above picture courtesy of Tom Stickland, MB Swindon.

Concerns had been raised that one rider is missing. He was supposed to complete the 30km course but somehow managed to get himself onto the 82km course instead and hadn't returned to the venue. His wife was getting concerned. We agreed to look for him once we have passed our passenger over to the other medical team, and consequentially found ourselves heading up onto the Drygarn half an hour or so later. Luckily, we found him fairly quickly. With him having been the last rider onto the Drygarn, we headed out of Abergwesyn and set off for Rhayader with him on-board.

Considering the conditions and the exposure to the elements the riders had to endure, it was a good day from a medical point of view, with only three pick-ups. We arrived at the event venue and reunited our passenger with his worried wife, who joked that she would be going with him next time, on a tandem! The last person came in at around 7pm, having gotten himself lost and completing the 82km route instead of the shorter route he'd intended to do! Probably feeling very proud of himself, he declared he'd had a great day.

Indeed, the comments received after the event were hugely positive, despite the weather, with everyone praising Red Kite Events for putting on such a good event. It was clear that all the riders had had a great day and really enjoyed themselves.

Without Strata Medical, it is likely that events such as this, with routes covering such rough and remote terrain, would not be able to run as successfully as they do. Strata Medical can go where normal ambulances cannot, and with their experience and knowledge, provide fantastic medical care to those who may need it. Like the cyclists, I had a great day out at the Elan Valley Challenge and was provided a rare and fascinating  insight into the world of the mobile medical team.

The next event to be held by Red Kite Events is the Shropshire Devil II on Sunday 30th June. It is a sportive event only, with the start and finish lines at Shrewsbury Sports Village. There will be a choice of three routes: 50 miles, 75 miles or 110 miles. All three will take in the fantastic local scenery, heading into west into North Wales to include Lakes Bala and Vrynwy. Strata Medical will be providing medical cover for this event.

Please visit for online entry and further information regarding the Shropshire Devil II or any of the other events run by Red Kite Events. Alternatively, check out our Facebook page: or follow us on Twitter: @redkiteevents1.

You can also visit Strata Medical's webpage at or find them on Facebook:

NB: At Strata Florida Abbey, the woman running the visitor centre informed us that they were hoping to raise enough money to get a defibrillator at the Abbey. She said that the area is often used for events and sports such as the Elan Valley Challenge. The village is the first port of call if anything happens in the area during these events, and locals are concerned that they are so remote, if anything should happen, not even a helicopter would always be able to get there in time. With this in mind, villagers have found out that they can get Welsh Government training and funding to match what they can raise to get a defibrillator. With this in mind, Red Kite Events has donated a sum of money towards the fund, and we wish the village the very best in their fundraising efforts to get a worthwhile and necessary piece of equipment to this remote area.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Arrow Sportive - 11th May 2013

Apologies for the delay in posting this blog, but here it is finally!!


On Saturday 11th May, Red Kite Events took over Leominster with the Arrow Sportive.

The Arrow Sportive is made up of a choice of three road route distances: 38 miles, 70 miles or the BIG one, 105 miles, for those who really enjoy a challenge! As well as the length of the route, the 105 miler also included an impressive 3131m of climbing overall!

All routes took in the rolling Tenbury Hills and Clee Hill presented the toughest challenge the short and medium route riders. On top of this, the riders taking on the 105 mile challenge also had to contend with a gruelling climb out of the Wye Valley – a 1 in 4 climb with hair pin bends!

The riders started leaving Leominster in small groups from 8am and continued to leave in waves for the next two hours. Those taking the shorter route looped out towards the borders, taking in some beautiful views of undulating countryside and quaint little villages. The longer routes ran right into Mid Wales and included some of the best scenery in the area, from stunning vistas and mountain views to regional historical towns and villages. All routes included varied terrain, from tough climbs and descents to areas much kinder on the legs, through country lanes and along quiet roads.

As usual, there were feed stations situated strategically along the routes. The first was located in Ludlow, the second at Monaughty and the third, for those doing the longest route, was in the Wye Valley near Erwood, Builth Wells. They were kept busy as the riders stopped off to refuel and take a breather from the ride.

Peter James, owner of the Drovers Rest in Llanwrtyd Wells, had once again come up trumps with a large number of homemade cakes and savoury snacks for the riders, and everyone was soon raving about how good the cakes were! Also available at the feed stations, and popular for those wishing to rehydrate and fuel up quickly were products supplied by Nuun, and as usual there were plenty of jelly babies on offer for those who wanted a sweet treat!

As usual, the feed stations were manned by willing volunteers, without which none of these events would be able to go ahead. A massive thanks goes to everyone who helped to make this event happen and make the day as good as it was!

Feedback from riders after the event was hugely positive, with comments covering the excellent food, the wonderful routes, the best route marking some had ever experienced at a sportive and the first class event organisation, including Strata Medical team, who are Red Kite Events’ medical back-up and look after any riders who may injure themselves or need help during our events.

Within 36 hours, all riders who participated in the Arrow Sportive received the rider times via email, another mark at how good the organisation of the event was, with the digitalised time keeping really coming into its own.

Everyone who came to take part in the Arrow Sportive was thoroughly impressed by the routes, the feed stations and the event organisation and it was clear to see that the day was another massive success for Red Kite Events. Many riders remarked on how wonderful the scenery had been, and seemed really pleased to have completed their challenging rides!

And now, there are loads more Red Kite Events happening very soon, kicking off with some MTB riding before the end of the May.

The Mansel Lacy XC event will take place on Sunday 26th May. This will be a British Cycling Regional B Ranking Points Race, with computerised timing and prizes supplied by Red Kite Events sponsors – Continental Tyres, Nuun Hydration, Mule Bar and Green Oil. The course promises to be some tough, exciting riding. Pre-entry closes tomorrow, 18th May (£18), so visit soon to ensure you don’t miss out on this great deal! Entry will also be available on the day for £25.

As well as this, there is another Challenge event happening in June (Sunday 23rd) – the Elan Valley Challenge! The MTB challenge will include four routes options: 30k, 50k, 82k or 130k. Please note: the 130k ride, whilst being an epic day out, will be seriously tough and please do not enter unless you are fully fit to enjoy it – there will be over 4100m of climbing to contend with! With gorgeous singletrack, long, flowing downhills, steep and technical climbs and downhills and some bedrock, these routes will offer challenging and exciting riding for all who take part. Visit our website for more information on the routes, entry fees and route profiles.

Running alongside the MTB challenge at Elan Valley will be another sportive for road riders. There will be three routes options: a 45 mile, 73 mile or 87 mile choice. What the routes may lack in distance they most certainly make up for in climbing, with all three routes climbing well over 1000m, and the longest route climbing over a massive 3500m! This event will be based in Rhayader and will make for some picturesque but hugely challenging riding!

Only a week later, on Sunday 30th June, will be another sportive event – the Shropshire Devil 2. There will be no MTB event running alongside, and riders who enter both the Elan Valley Sportive and the Shropshire Devil 2 Sportive can get a special offer – a bargain to enter both for just £45! There will be three routes once again – 50 mile, 75 mile and 110 mile to choose from.

All these events are bound to be huge successes and really exciting and challenging rides for all who participate! So whether you’re a road biker or an MTB biker, why not give one of them a go? Whether you fancy a real challenge and a long route with plenty of climbing, or a quiet day out cycling with some friends, there’s a route for everyone to choose from.

Red Kite Events is run by a group of road and mountain bikers, who aim to bring the very best in events and trips away. They run cycling events throughout the year around Mid Wales and the English Borders, and promise great routes, well organised events, a friendly atmosphere and excellent food supplied by their business partner, the Drovers Rest.

Twitter: @redkiteevents1

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A date change, some exciting news and an unmissable offer!!

Just a short post this week guys, to keep you updated on the latest from Red Kite Events. There's been an event date change and a couple of announcements, which are very exciting!!

The date change is for the Elan Valley Challenge. The event has moved from the 9th June to be held instead on the 23rd June. The routes all remain the same, and the rides will be just as challenging, so come along for some great biking and an awesome day out! We've just added an extra route to the MTB event - 130km!! Please bear in mind this will be seriously tough ride, with just over 4100 metres of climbing overall. Only accept the challenge if you're seriously fit and really up for it...

A special offer for the Sportive rides is currently being offered - enter both the Elan Valley Sportive and The Shropshire Devil Sportive events for just £45. That's a saving of at least £10, if you're choosing the shortest routes, or more if you're entering any of the longer routes. So sign up now to get this great deal - if you can handle 2 sportives over 2 weekends...

Red Kite Events is also pleased to announce that the Summer Evening XC Series are returning, with the first ride taking place on the 26th May at Mansel Lacy (7 miles north west of Hereford). The series are a British Cycling Regional B Ranking Points Race and these points can be banked over the series. The course is excellent, at a great venue, and extremely well organised with catering onsite, hard standing parking and computerised timing. The race is supported by British Cycling and prizes are supplied by our sponsors - Continental Tyres, Nuun Hydration, Mule Bar and Green Oil.

Later in the year, we are also excited to announce the return of the Winter XC Series. This cross-country series will run throughout winter and the course will consist of a mix of forest roads, single tracks and technical trails. Once again, the series will be British Cycling points eligible. All events will be held at Coed Trallwm, near Llanwrtyd Wells, and will take place from October onwards.

For more information on the XC Series, such as how to enter and entry fees, check out our website at You can also find information on all our fantastic Sportive and MTB events that are being held throughout the year, starting with our very next event, the Arrow Sportive on 11th May. It's time to get excited for some great cycling people!

Our Twitter feed is @redkiteevents1 or check out our Facebook page: for loads of interesting titbits, more offers and information about the events.