Stage One Chepstow to Bronllys (Honey Café)
The day starts at 5am, rolling out of bed at the travellodge on the English side of the Severn Bridge. Crossing the bridge to get to the start is part of the ritual.
Off at 6am from the community centre. It isn’t raining so we are all happy.
Got dropped by the fast lead group on the first climb but hooked up with a small friendly bunch, including Jon from Bristol. Made good speed to the next big ascent (A479 to Bronllys) then stuck together for that and enjoyed a mad high speed dash down
Stage Two Bronllys (Honey Café) to Nant Yr Arian
Left the group I’d teamed up with behind eating in the Cafe. Came off the official route to use the old “Scenic” road on the other side of the river to get to Builth.
Ropey filter coffee that was hours old at the Nant Yr Arain centre, I am sad to report
Stage Three, Nant Yr Arian to Kings YHA
Tried to ride with a group but it fell to bits after the descent to near Aberwrysth. Made good time. Onto the loverly ascending road out of Machcynlleth. Stopped at the nice toilets at Ten y Coed car park north of Pantperthog to fill up my water bottle. Over the top of the pass and onto the descent to Dollgellau. Followed a local on a bike through the roadworks.
Stage Four, Kings YHA to Menai Bridge
There was a diversion on this section due to a closed bridge near Penrhyndeudraeth. So did an extra 10km or so, good roads, made good speed. Met up with IanH for the ascent over Pen-Y Pass
Stage Five, Menai Bridge to Kings YHA
Left with IanH, not feeling great. Lost Ian after Beddgelert. Was doing okay until half way up the ascent on the A470. Then a group over took, I rode behind for a few moments and then accelerated past them and rode strongly for the rest of the stage. I am not competitive but some times putting an effort in like that just wakes you up. Back to Kings for 2:15am
Stage Six, Kings YHA to Aberhafesp
Out on the road again at 6:15am. Was riding out of the Hostel with a guy on fixed. We agreed that one disadvantage of Hope freewheels over fixed that they make conversation more difficult. I had a total of three breakfasts on this leg. One before I left Kings, one picnic on the road of garage sandwich+strawberry milk and one bacon sandwich at Aberhafesp
Stage Seven, Aberhafesp to Weobley
Managed to not over do it going up the Hilly out of Newtown
Had a great Espresso in the Hotel in Knighton
It got REALLY hot, I have the sunburnt knees to prove it.
Got through the farm where the dogs often attack without hearing so much as a bark.
Stage Eight, Weobley to Chepstow
Left Weobley with AndyP from Dorchester. Told him he would like the first bit, there are a lot of gravelly lanes and potholes like a Wessex ride. Once I got off the potholed lanes and onto the faster B road/A road section I was going well. Even getting up the Llancloudy climb wasn’t too bad. Loverly bacon sandwich at the end
Final score was one broken spoke and in an unrelated incident one smashed up rear mudguard