Snowdon Bike Race over the horseshoe including Crib Goch. Memories and history.
When I arrived in North Wales in 1978/79 as full time Mountain Rescue Deputy Team Leader of the Valley Team the Annual Snowdon Charity Bike Race was in full flow. It was an incredible event to raise money for local charities. The course was the classic round the Snowdon Horseshoe starting at Pen Y Pass onto Crib Goch and completing the horseshoe over Snowdon and Lliwedd and back to Pen Y Pass.. Each team in my era had 3 members and the bike had to be cycled at the end of the race at Pyn y Pass. Usually one team memeber carried the bike frame and the others the wheel on back packs.
For those who have never climbed The Snowdon Horseshoe Length: 11km Height gain: 910m Highest point: 1085m Approx time: 5 – 6 hours
The Snowdon Horseshoe is one of, if not the best ridge walk in Wales. Although there is not so much height gain as in some of the routes described, the terrain is highly interesting. The route should not be attempted by anyone with a fear of heights, since includes the knife-edge arête of Crib Goch, and for the same reason it should be avoided in high winds, and also in winter unless you are properly equipped and experienced. There is also a walk down a steep scree slope on the South East side of Snowdon.
This is what I wrote in I think 1980 – “The Annual Snowdon Bike Race was won again by the RAF Valley team – Alaister Haveron, Dave Booth and Stan Owen beat the record by 19 minutes and the time of 1 hour 56 minutes for Crib Goch, Snowdon and Lliwedd and back to Pen Y Pass raising over £500 for charity was another great event.” Not a bad time I wonder what the record was later on? Anyone help.
I was amazed at the interest in the race which had been running for many years. Most of the RAF Teams took part and the American PJ. A few of the local civilian Mountain Rescue teams and our RAF helicopter crew from 22 Sqn entered and it was so competitive. The times of the winning team was impressive to carry a bike across a steep ridge.
I remember training a young team member who was a good runner by Chris Summerfield by taking him over the ridge twice a week running I was fit the and my Dog “Teallach” was even faster. It was to get him to know the route and move fast on the terrain I did a bit of running in these days. Our team leader Alaister Haveron was so committed to winning the race for the Valley team it was very competitive. These were great day out and raised a lot of money for local charity’s. We would also have a big party after it with all the teams involved.
I am looking for memories photos of these incredible days. The race was stopped even though it was run early in the day for various reasons. Long before Health and Safety looking back were we all mad or were these the “Golden Years.”
More info _ Ian Carltiledge – took part in the first Snowdon bike race. That is when these photos were taken, back in 1959. I recognise some of the participants in these photos. Bottom left – left to right – Johnnie Lees, Bob Pearson, Hovis Brown, K C Gordon and, I think, Ollie Harris. Bottom middle – JRL, Hovis and Bob Pearson and bottom right, riding the bike down from Crib Goch – Dick Newby! Correction! On checking with my old mate Vic Bray, the first Valley MRT bike race around the Snowdon horseshoe took place in 1958, not 1959 as I stated! There were two teams. The photos posted were of team A! Vic and I were in team B! I can’t remember who won!
Historical :Back in the early 70’s the ex RAF MRT Valley members held a Snowdon Bike race each year. Teams of 3 with a ‘bike’. The bike had to be ‘rideable’ at the start at Pen y Pass, at the summit of Snowdon and again at the finish at Pen y Pass. The route was the Horseshoe. We used to go round all the businesses in the area collecting money which was presented at the end to the accident unit at the old C&A Hospital in Bangor as we supplied them with many patients while we were on the Valley team. Teams would get the most minimalistic bike that could be ridden. They were dismantled for the carry round but one year a team of ex troops wore tween jackets, flat caps, nailed boots and got a RAF bike which they took round complete. Sterling chaps. Thanks to Don Willians for this information.
Any information would be great to get hold off and photos its well worth saving these incredible stories. Can you help?
Most years as Alaister was running I helped with the safety cover on Crib Goch but I did it one year and we did well. I cut my hand in a fall on Crib Goch but what an event done in 2 hours I would be lucky to get round in 5 hours nowadays. These were fun days and so good to look back on.
Thanks for all the help with this piece any photos would be gratefully appreciated and any tales of the event.