The weather was looking good for both Saturday and Sunday this weekend so I planned on two fairly easy rides rather than one tough one, but for the second week in a row my stupid legs said no.
When I had the plate removed from my collarbone two months I knew I’d have to stay off the bike for a while but I started riding around after about three weeks or so, I thought this would keep my legs fresh but it clearly didn’t work, AT ALL. I was so pathetic last weekend and again this week that I’m beginning to think that my hill climbing prowess was somehow connected to the plate that was inside me and now that it’s gone I’ve lost my special power!
Me and Huw (I know it should be ‘Huw and I’ but I’m far too common to say that, it would be like saying lunch instead of dinner or dinner instead of tea or sofa instead of settee) headed out at 3pm, it was warm and a nice change from the cold early mornings I’ve been doing all winter. We rode up to Mynydd y Betws, which is the highest mountain in Swansea; the photo at the top is a view of the road in the photo above, the wind that blows down this one little stretch is ungodly, the climb itself only reaches about 8% I think but it’s like riding into a jet engine the whole bloody way up, it sucks.
At the top on the right hand side there is a very special treat for those in the know (which is you now!). The 13th-century ruins of Penlle’r Castell lie completely hidden from view across a ditch and up a boggy bank. If you look very very carefully you’ll be able to see a very faint path that is used by the very few other people in the know. I have written about the ruins before so go here for a little bit more info.
As you can see the panoramic view is absolutely amazing and well worth getting a bit of dirt in your cleats for, click the photo to enlarge.
We headed off with no plans at all from this point, my legs felt like hell but it would’ve been stupid to let that spoil what was a perfectly lovely ride in the sun with my blinding white legs out. We descended to Cwmllynfell, which is the home of the jolly funny sign above and a shop where we stopped to get some water.
Long story short, at this point we thought we could possibly take the Rhigos and The Bwlch from behind but after riding up the A4221 (where I actually got KOM) we decided that it would be better to just ride home rather than die a slow, cold, painful death at the top of a mountain in the dark.
About 10 miles from home Huw was really feeling the burn, I’m sure he’d want everyone to know that, haha. It’s a shame he’ll be going back to flat old Bournemouth for his uni holidays because it wouldn’t take much for him to really get into the climbing spirit and he’s going to miss the best time of the year for it.
I really need to start putting in a couple of 20-30 mile rides in the evenings, that’s the only thing that’ll stop my legs from crying like a baby after 60 miles and 4500ft of climbing I reckon. As always the route can be seen on Strava and Ride with GPS.