This is going to be quite a quick post really, as I’m really feeling the tiredness today. Didn’t help that the cat woke me up at 5am, demanding food else she claws my face off. I just let her curl up next to my face(!) and went back to sleep; she was still there at 8.30, bless her.
Last night’s ride was a bit touch-and-go initially, as the forecast was just to be overcast with around a 20% chance or rain. I must admit, even I was in two minds about going as I felt quite down and the gloomy weather didn’t help. We did have a fantastic turn out again though, with all the usual culprits. We quickly left the meeting point and made our way up to Drws y Coed and the climb, for the third week in a row. I don’t really mind how often we do it, as it’s damn good training. The plan was to get down to Beddgelert and decide who would go up the Gwynant Pass and who would come back up from Beddgelert.
We’ve had the weather pretty good to be fair the last two rides, so this evening as we made our way to Drws, the wind decided to give us a work-out. We all hit the bottom of the climb and fragmented, with myself and a couple of others pulling away, only for me to lose my legs 3/4 of the way up as various friends floated past in big ring…what happened to me, I always used to be able to do that!? I stopped at the bend to take some pics. Sorry guys, the quality is really quite rubbish (as far as I’m concerned anyway) Click on image to open in a light box :
My legs already felt like lead after getting up here, so the rest was welcome.
I caught up with a couple of boys and shot another towards Yr Aran as we descended down to Rhyd Ddu (this image may make you dizzy/sick 😉 ):
Instead of re-grouping with the rest at the train station, I just carried on with Garry and the others. The descent down was damp in places so I was soon dropped, losing my nerve as usual. After a brief couple of minutes worrying about one young lad we thought had disappeared, he appeared again and we breathed a sigh of relief; it’s important that we look after our junior riders, and ‘Father Garry’ is usually on the case 😉 a finer chap you will struggle to meet.
The plan was to climb back out of Beddgelert and get to Rhyd Ddu again, whilst a few carried on towards Pen y Pass; I just didn’t have the legs today. But that said, as we made our way back up the climb from the village, I grabbed onto Math’s wheel and stayed on it for as long as I could, staying in big ring for as long as I could. I kept a good pace and didn’t lose Math’s wheel until the last couple of bends near the top, where again, other riders caught me.
Reaching the railway bridge, it was clear how gloomy the evening was as we all made our way down the ‘humps’:
Upon reaching the train station, I carried on spinning my legs out and then noticed the new gate and footpath that can be used to walk down to Beddgelert; you rarely notice these things on the bike, so it’s good to stop. With the brooding clouds in the background, I thought it’d make a really nice monotone image:
I decided tonight that as I missed the infamous ‘Cardiac Hill’ climb up to Rhosgadfan the previous week, that I’d do it this evening; after all, everyone else was going to suffer so I may as well join them! Besides, I didn’t actually ‘miss’ the climb; believe me, it’s not a climb you purposefully seek out unless a) you are Matthew Roberts b) a sadist c) enjoy the feeling of your heart exploding out of your chest d) all previous.
Anyway, as James and I made our way up its more forgiving lower levels, I decided that this would be a good spot for some pics of the guys struggling up it. Honest, I wasn’t getting out of doing it! So I reached the left-hander that turns into a savage gradient and waited. The following are what I came up with:
I noticed a cyclist coming down the size of Goliath and realised it could only be one person; ‘Big Al’ Roberts. I think I gave him a fright as a car was coming up around the blind bend as Aled made his way into the bushes! It was good to see him and have a quick chat as Garry and a couple of others also pulled in briefly.
After a couple of minutes, I too got back on my sled and ground my way up the hill. It’s not the worst hill around here by any stretch, but it’s still a bastard!
I picked up my heart off the black-top and put it back in my chest and caught up with everyone at the top:
We stopped for a while and discussed a few club things, whilst Father Garry gesticulated wildly:
Garry is a top bloke and is the kind of person that everyone gets pulled toward, like some great gravity-producing planet (I’m not saying you’re the size of Jupiter, Garry) and he looks after us all.
From here we sped down/across the top roads through Rhosgadfan and Carmel, nearly got flattened by some crazy woman taxi driver who would have mown us down if we hadn’t moved, negotiated the fifty cattle grids, discussed coffee with a friend, lost my bottle on the descent (not my bidon bottle), bounced over the speed bumps down the King’s Road and said ta-raa to the others.
I had a nice chat with a Math, Owain and Dafydd back at the cars and finally made my way home, with the car now running on diesel fumes.
Great ride boys, see you all soon.