Don’t matter what the weatherman says…


The stunning view across the Menai Straits to mainland North Wales and Snowdonia, taking in Conwy mountain from the east to Moel Eilio in the west.
The stunning view across the Menai Straits to mainland North Wales and Snowdonia, taking in Conwy mountain from the east to Moel Eilio in the west.

…cos the weatherman says it’s….well, even he/she doesn’t know.

Well today was a surprise as it dawned nice and sunny when I was expecting rain. Or hail. Or snow. As is so often the case this time of year as the winter so desperately tries to cling on as the sun also desperately tries to deliver Spring. A number of friends I know reported on Strava the amount of different seasons they have cycled through this week, and I have also joined them in this; if we spent days waiting for light winds and sunshine here, we’d never get out on our bikes. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, here in the west of the UK, the weather is a fickle and often nasty beast.

Hence why last week, there were no winds, blue skies and warm sunshine. I even had my shorts on and sat out the front sun bathing. In March. And now? Just when the mountains thought they’d shrugged off the last remnants of snow and Snowdon no longer kept to her name, I woke up yesterday to a good fresh covering on them down to around 800 metres. I know this because I am a mountain geek. And because I looked out my window.
The weather this March is proving so far to be pretty similar to last March, except the warmth and cold days have been changed to different times of the month. Last year we had 25 degree celsius temperatures  at the end of March and the following week in April, we had a massive dump of snow down to lower levels. Which my wife and I promptly took advantage of with a wonderful hill walk in the Carneddau mountains, descending in very deep snow into Cwm Llugwy with our jackets off and sleeves rolled up because it was too warm. Go figure. The following week, it was gone.
Our weather here is just one big ball of confusion and doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. ‘Should I rain? Snow? Hail? Blow people off their bikes and off the tops of mountains? What about sun, can I do that? Argh, I don’t know what to do why does your stupid country have to be surrounded by water and be subject to so many different climates!?’ Said the weather to itself never.

Anyway, as said confused weather decided to be nice to us today, I went out for the fourth bike ride of the week as a nice book-end. If it’s cloudy on the mainland, go to Anglesey, where it’ll be sunny, but er, windy. It was fine today though, with light winds from the NW, so cold. As I went out late in the afternoon, I figured around 25 miles should do it so I would put a little more effort in. I rode onto Anglesey feeling fairly sprightly, which promptly disappeared as I turned left up onto the 12.5% hill towards Llandegfan and left again onto  the Lon Ty Newydd road, a narrow road that climbs up further but not as steeply. I was going well. I cycled through the back of Llandegfan down towards the Mile Road; a long straight section of road that is well, a mile long. In actual fact, it’s about 0.8 miles, but let’s not split hairs here, as ‘The 0.8 Mile Road’ would be a ridiculous name. Before I turned right, I quickly got a few shots for a panorama:

East to north Snowdonia. And some sheep.
East to north Snowdonia. And some sheep.

Within a few hundred metres of joining this road, you drop down pretty steeply (1 in 6 gradient) and your bike runs away with you and if you don’t like this feeling, don’t pull hard on the anchors as this road is often damp, being in the shade. And not just damp, damp. I mean, a little greasy damp. And because a child on a bike with stabilizers could descend most hills quicker than me when they’re in this condition, I feathered the brakes most of the way down, keeping it at a steady 35 mph until I arrived in Beaumaris where I’m sure most cyclists completely ignore the 30 mph speed limit signs and just carry on as they are; I know I do. Not quite tourist season yet, but being a sunny Sunday, Beaumaris can still be busy with sight challenged and driving-on-the-right confused foreigners, so covering one’s brakes is always prudent.

I stopped quickly again to grab the portrait shots needed for the panorama at the top of the post and headed off again as I didn’t want my heart rate to drop too much.

This road, known as ‘Millionaires Row’ (due to its absolute filth and squalor) can be great fun to blast along and now more so as the crevasse-strewn cross-country mountain bike trail it previously was has been lovingly re-surfaced. I tried to maintain a fast speed, but looking at my Strava stats afterwards, I think my GPS device must have had a brief panic in the middle of all that squalor and gave me a stupid average speed afterwards. Nevermind, I’m not that fussed about ‘beating’ other riders on segments; Strava has just become a ridiculous willy-waving competition for some folk. Each to their own though, no offence intended 🙂

After getting off the bridge, I turned right onto Treborth Road (another road in dire need of attention, and no motorists, I will NOT use the adjacent cycle track). I dropped down onto the Felinheli road and turned left onto the Nant y Garth climb, which is around 10% gradient. I hadn’t done this for a while so again, I tried to go a little faster up it, but certainly not my max. It’s wonderful at the top of this road, as the view opens out before you with the mountains of Elidir Fawr right in front of you and Snowdon further back, a little to the right; it was especially nice today, with the late afternoon sun turning the snow a bright white.

I turned left at the Ty Mawr roundabout and just span at around 25 mph through the village of Pentir.

One last climb left; from the Pont y Pant bridge to the cross roads at the top. Not particularly steep, but quite hard if you push. So I pushed today and came out with a decent average up it, so I was pleased as I wanted to maintain my 17.5 mph average speed, so I had to pump up the pace on the last straight into my village, which is slightly uphill and drains you quickly.

I came to a standstill and maintained my average, so I was pleased. Here’s the route.

Hmm. This blog is taking a turn to the cycling oriented and I hope cyclists reading this enjoy what I write; your visits are much appreciated.

See you out there and ride safe.

Elt

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