Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Challenge

A non-competitive cycling challenge over 170km and climbing 3000 metres.

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A route map from MapMyRide, Click on the thumbnail to open the route in MapMyRide for more detail. RouteMap
GPX from MapMyRide (right-click on link and save to your computer). Note that this is a generated track log, not one recorded by following the route.

Please let me know how useful, accurate, easy to use, etc. you found this GPX download.
Frank Kinlan has offered the following advice on downloading the route to a Garmin:
  • rename to a .TCX suffix for Garmin TrainingCentre to recognise it as a course
  • it's easier to follow the link to MapMyRide and download it straight into the GPS from the MapMyRide / Route menu
  • Garmin 305 requires Garmin Communicator


A figure-eight route: head south from the Aqueduct onto the ridge between Ceiriog and Dee valleys, then north to re-cross the Dee and climb the Horseshoe Pass to Ruthin. First feed stop at Bontuchel then through Clocaenog Forest to Brenig and the Sportsman's Arms. Pentrefoelas, Ysbyty Ifan to the second feed stop at Llyn Celyn. Return via Bala, Corwen and Llangollen Panorama to finish.

The route will be fully marked.
A printed routesheet is provided as backup. The route sheet can be viewed here if you wish to preview it on a map:
route sheet as HTML >>>

The Red Route

As noted in the description, the climbs on this event have been selected to reflect the gradients and, as far a practical, length that you'll find in the Alps. For this reason, the new Horseshoe Pass is chosen over the old. But, by popular demand, the Old Horseshoe is included as a route alternative - the red route. In fact there are two alternative climbs:
• the Old Horseshoe Pass, which climbs 210m in just 1.5km - average 14%, max 20%; I'd say it's as hard as Wynatt's.
• the direct run up to Dinbren Hall for the Llangollen Panorama, which is 500m at up to 20% and really nasty after 100 miles.

The red route is 3km shorter and entirely optional. I would advise that the original, let's call it green, route is the best choice for those using this event to prepare for the Marmotte or Etape. Spin up the Horseshoe Pass at a pace you can comfortably maintain, arrive at the summit and repeat three times - that's roughly the Galibier.
The red route simply cuts corners so the splits will be marked with a red arrow and then rejoins the main route.


Route distances are as recorded on my Shimano FlightDeck using the default setting for 700x23 tyres. MapMyRide comes up about 5km short but closer inspection of the trace shows that it has cut across a lot of corners.


Route profile courtesy of Julian Bouchet from 2008.
Note that Julian didn't initialised his starting height and you should add around 40m to all elevations. The summit of the Horseshoe Pass, for example, is 417 metres. Also, he has returned to the start and stopped his computer there. Therefore, the final kilometre, with it's descent to the Dee and climb up to the Froncysyllte Community Centre, is absent (but it's just the same as the first kilometre of the ride).