Your ride today....


Über Member
Yesterday: With a good forecast and a free day it was time to get my challenge ride in for May. I was aiming for Lake Vyrnwy which is a favourite ride for me but one that I've missed out on for quite some time.

I got the Raleigh out early and was on the road a few minutes after seven into a calm morning that promised to warm up later. Planning to do the shorter version of the route I headed round Shrewsbury's old bypass to Montford Bridge, Great Ness and Pentre. The roads weren't busy at this time of the morning so it was all pretty easy riding. Just after Pentre I came across a road closed sign and since I didn't know whether there was access for cyclists, took a diversion past The Royal Hill then to Crosslanes and Maesbrook before joining the road to Llynclys. There was more traffic on this main road but mostly well behaved although there was a bit of a moment when an APC delivery van had to back out of an overtake sharpish because of a car coming the other way.:rolleyes:

I paused at Llynclys for a bite to eat and to remove layers as it had warmed up a lot since starting out. When I got going again I did wonder if I should have kept one of the fleeces on but I soon warmed up on the next climb and didn't think about it again. The road was a little busy initially but quietened down nicely once past the Llansantffraid junction.

The journey up the Tanat Valley was mostly pretty pleasant and I notice that there had been some resurfacing of the worst bits between Llanyblodwel and Llangedwyn. I spotted another rider ahead and wondered if I could catch them but they were quicker than me and I didn't see them again after getting caught at temporary lights at Llangedwyn.

Having turned off near Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant the proper climbing begins just after Pedair Ffordd with a sharp ascent followed by a drop into Penybontfawr. A longer but steadier climb up Cwm Hirnant (confusingly there are two Cwm Hirnants not far from each other) isn't too bad until past Hirnant itself when it ramps up quite steeply. I wasn't sure how I'd manage with this as I haven't ridden it for a long time but I wound my way up pretty well.

Having crested this climb there is a good descent to Llanwddyn..... or at least it would be good without the set of temporary traffic lights halfway down. It occurred to me that those probably wouldn't be much fun on the way back.

The final climb up to the dam was a little bit slow but it was great to be back here and looking at the wonderful view after an 18 month absence. I paused for my elevenses stop then carried on for my first lap of the lake. The wind was picking up a bit by now so progress started off a bit slow but I got into a rhythm and the cruising speeds weren't bad except on the bits where I was riding directly into the wind.

Having completed my first lap of the lake I went to get a coffee. The Old Barn wasn't open but Artisans is still there and busy - mostly with motorcyclists it seemed on this occasion. Having had my break I started out on my return lap. Again this was a slow start but I got along well once having wound up to speed. There were a few more people out enjoying the lakeside drive including a couple of horses and carriages which was nice to see. Rounding the head of the lake the wind really helped and I was getting along very nicely. I met the carriage drivers again and this time made sure of getting a photo. My lunch stop was taken back at the dam where I made the most of the view before having to start for home.

Getting back to Llanwddyn was fun on the twisty descent then the climbing starts again to get back over the hills. The return through the temporary traffic lights wasn't quite as bad as expected as the road was quiet, but they hadn't made any allowance for how long a bike would take to climb through the section. Fortunately the driver of the BMW waiting at the other end saw my predicament and patiently missed his turn allowing me to get through. I don't suppose they'll ever see this but my wave of thanks felt quite inadequate for the kindness of the act.

The climbing continued and I was pleased that the legs felt pretty good still. I took the alternative route back through Cwm Fedw and down the long descent back to Penybontfawr. I was really pleased that the legs still felt fine on the climb out of the village then with the wind behind me I had a cracking run back along the Tanat Valley. Allowing the following motorcycle and van to go through the traffic lights at Llangedwyn before me seemed to be much appreciated then the fast wind assisted run continued. The areas of the road that had been repaired were good apart from there being quite a thump on joining the new tarmac at speed.

After the Llansantffraid junction the traffic picked up again and I had a handful of close passes, then at the notorious Llynclys crossroads the driver of a Transit yelled something incomprehensible at me and was pointing at the back of the bike - I was stopping for a break in the village anyway so checked and couldn't see anything wrong - maybe he was objecting to me having my back lights on in daylight?:scratch:

Getting off the busy roads as soon as possible seemed like a good idea so I turned to go past Waen Wen then to Maesbrook and retraced my steps through Crosslanes. At about the 90 mile mark I broke open the jelly babies for an energy boost which helped past The Royal Hill, Pentre and over the climb to Great Ness. I got over the climb between Montford Bridge and Bicton pretty well considering the miles in the legs by now. When I got to Shelton I thought I'd stick with the road as it was faster but I soon found the back of a traffic queue so ended up being quicker on the cycle paths after all.

Since I was feeling surprisingly good I got tempted to chase after a couple of slower cyclists. Unfortunately this was a bit too much at the end of a long ride and my right leg cramped with a mile to go and the left leg followed just a quarter of a mile from home. Take it easier next time!

105.75 miles at 13.9 mph moving average. Total time with all the stops was 9 hours and 45 minutes. Top speed was 37.2 mph.:hyper:

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Taking a quick drink stop at Pedair Ffordd on the way up the Tanat Valley.

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At the top of the climb between Penybontfawr and Llanwddyn.

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Reaching the dam.

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The water extraction tower.

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A couple of shots as I head round the lake the second time.

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A nice way to travel through some lovely scenery.

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Last look at the lake before I have to leave.

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Climbing over the hills on the way back to Penybontfawr.

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Back to the flat lands just after Crosslanes.

You lucky lucky.....cyclist. Piddled down here most of the day and the roads were wet and sky grey for the rest
An almost 21 mile ride up the ridge road to Ugborough. Sunny and warm, but plenty of big fluffy clouds too.
The hedges were stuffed full of wildflowers, it was beautiful.







Montgomery canal triathlon again today. The format is usually now 12-ish mile cycle, 5.5 mile row, 9 mile walk. After last years effort (falling in twice) and generally struggling with the rowing section, this year I and my new team mate decided to cycle the first two sections (about 17.5 miles) and walk the rest. Got off to an absolute flier, 2nd and 3rd out of the traps behind a lady who was a very good quadathlon(?) eventer. She absolutely stormed ahead and we were reasonably sure we'd do top 5, ideally 2nd and 3rd as we had a good march on everyone except 4th spot, who was behind us. Sadly, my mate got a puncture (I think every year we've done it, one of us has got one!) which threw us out, but we think we still made the top 20-30 as we got past quite a few who' passed us repairing the flat.

Anyhow, yet again Strava threw a wobbler so only recorded some of the second bit, none of the first and random bits of the last section...



Obviously, without the rowing bit we managed to smash that section on the bikes, but we still couldn't believe how far ahead the quadathlon lady was in the rowing, she was absolutely motoring. Walked rather than ran the last section so maybe 10-15 people got past us, and aside from the biking, we weren't trying to break any records. I always bang on about this event, but if you haven't done it I just cannot recommend it highly enough, it's a fantastic day and the scenery is amazing.









A lovely morning up in North West Wales, warm enough for shorts but a jacket was still needed to begin with, as I got my May Half Century Challenge ride done.

I mixed it with the traffic on the busy main road down to Barmouth, but they were well behaved for a change, before I dropped down to the Promenade

It was busying up already with day trippers, which meant the bridge across the estuary was a slow slalom, before it thinned out on the Mawddach Trail. I had the wind behind me along there and so cruised along nicely, to Dolgellau, where I paused for lunch by the cricket pitch. A friendly local, walking his dog, had a chat and wanted to know how far I’d come and which way I was heading back. He seemed impressed that I said I was climbing up the long hill towards Cregennan Lakes!

I set off up said climb, after dispensing with the jacket, knowing it would get warm with the effort needed! I wound my way up and paused for a shot back where I’d come from.

I decided to change things and not go to Cregennan Lakes today, but instead continue and see how far I could get along the road towards Friog. It’s up and down, with number of gates to open, which me and a girl in a BMW were negotiating one after each other. This was new territory and the views over the crest, were outastanding and barren enough for it to almost feel like Greece.

I met the girl in the BMW, heading back up the hairpins, as I descended and did wonder if that meant the road would end soon. That wasn’t the case, but it did lead into a farm and private land, so that was as far as I would be going along it today. So I doubled back, enjoying the view down to Barmouth, but not so much the climb back up the hairpins!!

The descent down to Arthog was something else! A 25% drop, with some extraordinary steep sections that needed extreme braking and it’s almost vertical when you get down to the main road! I could smell the burning from my brakes as I reached the bottom 😳 Strava tells me it’s nigh on an 800ft drop in a mile!

I had a short section on the main road, before turning off to Morfa Mawddach and then back across Barmouth Bridge. It was a lot quieter than this morning and so quicker progress was made.

I dropped down into Barmouth itself, which was very busy now and almost collected a pigeon, in the harbour, which took off from its Fish & Chips scavenging and I ducked to just avoid a head on collision with it!

I then followed the again busy main road back up to Talybont, but traffic was well behaved still, which made for a nice change to have 2 incident free trips along there!

A thoroughly enjoyable 33.85 miles in perfect cycling conditions. Pleasantly warm and only a fairly gentle breeze.
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Looks vaguely familiar, is that the Shropshire Union somewhere between Chester and Ellesmere Port?

Yes thats the spot.
Lovely day, sunshine and a southerly breeze gave good conditions for my classic ride to Dent. Headed to Ingleton and then up Kingsdale. Kingsdale has one farm and one road with three gates across so is pretty Quiet even by Dales standards. Half naked people on the side of the road come as a surprise but this is caving country where nudity and a hatch back are de riggeur. The road goes up with a couple of steep ramps where my only accompaniment was skylarks, meadow pipet, wheatear and curlew. After cresting the col the road drops sharply down into Deepdale, a side valley of Dentdale. The descent is pretty steep and stopping for the gate half way down is challenging. Reminded me of so called ‘Technical descents’ called by cycle race commentators when the road is narrow or gravel strewn, well throw in a gate or two and random sheep and you get the Dales equivalent. I also narrowly avoided a red squirrel that ran in front of me! Into Dent for lunch then big climb up Gawthrop before fantastic Barbondale. This dale doesn’t even have a farm and is excellent riding although is showing signs of being discovered by the campervan fraternity. Overall 55 miles with 1500m of climbing.

Pictures are of Kingsdale and then the drop down into Dentdale.





Convoi Exceptionnel
Quedgeley, Glos.
Well, my mate called to cancel our Vyrnwy trip as his wife couldn't make it ... and I reckon I dodged a bullet. Instead, he came down from Birmingham for a ride from my place instead. I thought my own covid recovery was slow until I saw him in action. I'm always perfectly OK riding either with people who want to go a bit faster than I'd prefer, or else hanging back with other friends who are not serious cyclists and just enjoying the fresh air, the scenery and the company. But yesterday was exquisite torture. Andy was painfully slow. 6 or 7 mph on the flat, slowing to 4 mph up the gentle slopes (such as they were), with numerous recovery stops at the roadside. 17 pretty flat, windless miles with a half hour pub stop and a half hour cafe stop. Four and a half hours. At times I was almost track standing, trying not to hurry him along. I had to feel sorry for the state covid has left him in .... lacking energy and endurance, and with steroid-induced diabetes. He is, however, and always has been completely lacking in any mechanical knowhow and has next to no road sense. To add to the frustration, he kept moaning about his bike, claiming the gears didn't work .... while I could see that not only they did work, but he had absolutely no idea how to use them. It turned out that he had never even known what two of the levers were for! I offered some tips and advice, but he dismissed all of it with statements like "your gears are different", claiming that his cassette worked the other way round from mine, because of the numbers showing on his gear lever display. I kept my silence and, coasting/trackstanding along behind him, watched him struggle up the biggest hill/gentle slope in the smallest gear on his cassette, while insisting it was his bottom gear. He was a complete wreck by the end of a gentle 17 mile ride, and I reckon I probably put weight on, having stopped for a pint of cider at the Anchor Inn in Epney and a coffee and cake at the cafe at Saul Marina. We did have a laugh at times, though, and we got to see a hovercraft on the Severn .... A first for me.


As long as I breathe, I attack.
51solo miles today testing the revised set up , shoulder was still aching a bit but not enough to impact riding .Started off pretty chilly so i had base layer, gilet. arm + legwarmers and by the end i had taken them off and was still very warm so although i was tempted to do a mertic century i shortened the ride as i didnt want to overextend the shoulder too much and sunday dinner was due :smile:
New cafe newlands just outside Hatton that was a farm that has diversified with some cabins for extra business .





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