On Saturday I went out riding with my most newest friend in all the world, Kath. I met her when she bought a bike from my shop a couple of weeks ago and have been threatening her with the mountains for a while.
Until this weekend she’d only ridden back and forth to work and uni etc and not been on a ‘real ride’ but as she is so fit I decided that rather than ease her into longer rides we’d just hit the mountains and roll with the punches.
We headed up Rhydypandy Road which would be far too difficult for a normal person but she got up there with no problems at all. We then dropped down before climbing up to the highest point in Swansea where the ruins of Penlle’r Castell sit hidden. We rambled our way over the boggy ground to the amazing piece of local history that nobody knows about and came away with soaking wet feet, it was worth it though.
On the way down into Ammanford we stopped to watch a rain cloud and rainbow move across the sky in the distance, it was the most amazing weather I have ever seen. Although nowhere near as incredible as being there click on the panorama above to view larger.
At this point the temperature changed suddenly and we both started to freeze so we headed to Tesco to warm up, Kath tried to dry out her shoes with a hand dryer (without taking them off, she’s very bendy) and I tried and failed to buy new socks and gloves. I was shaking uncontrollably and we decided to get the train home, unfortunately there wasn’t one due for two hours so we had no choice but to ride back up and over the mountain to warm up.
The climb up Heol y Mynydd reaches 20% at some points and hovers at 15%+ for quite a while at many points, this is a challenge for even the most seasoned road cyclist (isn’t it Sion?) and although she had to walk a couple of parts she did amazingly well. Rather than use the gradient and walking as an excuse to not ride it again she immediately set riding the whole thing in the near future as a goal for herself, what a gal!
We climbed 3500ft in about 25 miles, with the whole ride coming in at 35 miles, I’m sure you’ll agree that for someones first ride that is pretty epic! Especially when she was in trainers on flat pedals and had to borrow a jersey and arm warmers off me, she’s going to be killing it within a few months. View the route on Strava.
Following on from the big freeze on Saturday I took no chances on Sunday morning and went out fully ninja’d up.
I met my brother, who has recently started commuting, and we went out for our first ride together. Again I had no desire to ease him into it and we headed straight to a particularly tough climb in Pontardawe, of the six people I’ve taken up here he is only the second one to make it to the top without stopping on their first ascent, awesome!
We headed over to the highest point in Swansea again, I shot off to show a mountain biker in dayglo how a real dickhead rides up a hill and waited for Craig at the top. I tried to ride at the pace they were both comfortable with but sometimes the thrill of the chase is simply too much to resist, haha.
We cut back around rather than over to Ammanford because I was against the clock and my gooch was killing from the new bib shorts I’ve been wearing. We nailed about 2500ft in about 12 miles or so according to the elevation graph, check it out on Strava.
This post is a bit longer than I usually like to write but both Kath and Craig did really well and they deserved the space, good job both!