A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad


Lon Las Cymru (2)

We overslept on Sunday; (I blame the cheeseboard the night before!). Our late start was plagued by midges and a slow puncture - that reminds me of a particular morning in Scotland - but the early drizzle lifted, along with our spirits and our altitude as we settled into one of the biggest climbs of the trip. In contrast to the up/down nature of Saturday, this first climb was a long, steady, climb, and as it was above the tree line it was far more open, and the road ahead could be seen for several hundred yards. Early on a Sunday it was fairly clear of traffic, too, until we neared the summit of the climb. We were rewarded with a long glide down the other side, and the open scenery and sweeping bends (and good road surface) meant we clocked up a speedy descent. Much of the rest of the morning was spent following small roads through a country park and surroundings, with the sunshine casting glorious shadows through the pine trees. We found the perfect spot to stop, in a sunny secluded field of soft grass; and by this point lunch (pasta salad, a pasty and Eccles cakes) was well overdue.

We had a languid and very enjoyable lunch, not at all in a rush, since we had plenty of time to cover the remaining 30 or so miles. However, we had only just left the lunch spot when a mechanical failure struck to punish us for our complacency! This took the form of, not a puncture, but a broken gear cable. A sketchy jury rig (which involved tying the cable round the frame in an attempt to lock the rear derailleur into bottom gear) lasted a few miles. We thought about stopping in the next town, but by this time it was already after 5pm on a Sunday - and a bank holiday Sunday at that. Almost resigned to pushing on, we were overtaken by a group of fast riders. We mentioned the plight - and (very very luckily!) the three riders were on a sportive, about a mile from the finish. We followed them on to the Royal Welsh Showground, where we found a very nice sportive mechanic who both supplied and fitted a new cable. Back in action! And a very big thankyou is due to that mechanic. To my shame I forgot to even ask his name; hopefully he’ll have similar luck if he is ever in trouble.

From here, the going levelled out substantially, with some fast riding along comparatively flat roads. It was definitely an advantage being able to use more than one gear! We were still comfortably on target to make it before dark; our only issue now was the oncoming rain, which we could see in a band across the hills on the other side of the valley. This was a wide valley, probably a glacial one, and we were pretty sure our night’s campsite was somewhere in the bottom of it - the question in our minds was, would we make it there before the rain did! in the end we did - just. Speedy tent pitching saw us with the tent up and putting our gear inside as the first drops fell around us. Perfect timing I say!