The start of the Avalon Sunrise 400km event, 2016 last night
Had an enjoyable but wet weekend in Wales, riding. Saturday was Tekesbury, Monmouth, Brecon, Llandovery, Tregaron, Machynlleth, Dolgellau, Beddgelert, Betsy Coed. 3 hours sleep at a bunkhouse then Bala, Lake Vymwy, Newtown, Knighton, Leominster and finally back to the start
600km ride around Devon, Somerset and Cornwall
The day began for me at 4:05am. Getting out of bed at this time is not easy for me but I don’t like driving, parking, all that car stuff. I was riding to to start of the Kernow and SW 600 event
We set off from Exeter at 6am. It was foggy so as we went up onto the high ground near Holdsworthy there was no view except more fog
It was still foggy in Bude but it started to clear as we got to Looe. By the time we did the Fowey ferry crossing summer had arrived
But sadly as the day faded so the mist came back. Saint Michael’s Mount looked quite atmospheric.
We left the friendly church hall in Penzance the last in the field. I suppose there were about 15 people riding. The night section is principally a fast blast along the A39 to Bude
The hall at Bude was nice and warm and we got a couple of hours shuteye and were off again at 6am
Sunday was a much nicer, sunny day
The road to Barnstaple was great, include a perfectly surfaced 5km downhill leading into some woods. We had a second breakfast and a coffee in Barnstaple. Bit of re-routing around a closed bridge with some help from locals and then past South Molton and onto the B3227 towards Black Cat and Wilvescombe.
The aim was to get to the motorway services in Bridgwater ( usual audax glamour locations eh? ) then back the way we came and aim for Seaton. The route to Seaton included one of my favourite roads, the Seven Mile Straight
We reached Seaton at 5pm, had a terrible sandwich then on to the finish in Exeter
I was going to ride back but Richard offered me a lift in his van – my legs were happy to accept after the 8000 metres of climbing
Great way to spend a weekend. Glad I have Monday off work though!
If you want mountains and scenery that’s “Awesome” then you need to ride around Loch Awe.
I was staying in the old logging village of Dalavich about 5 hours car driving from Carisle
The last 10 miles of road up to the place were pretty rough but it was metalled so at the first opportunity I got out on my road bike. I was glad that the Specialised Roubaix can deal with really rough surfaces quite well
One thing people always say about the Western Highlands is that the midges make it pretty terrible. However when I was there, first week of May it was warm enough – often sunny – but no midges
The photos below are from my ride around the Loch. The Loch is the largest fresh water loch in Scotland but the route was only 97km. It was mostly overcast and hailed on me once but at the end the sun came out and it got quite warm
If you are passing through this way use the B840 on the eastern side of the loch, it’s a much better and flatter road. There are few facilities except hotels catering for people fishing in the loch
Great place to ride about!
New old bike
First, I noticed an ad on my favourite bike forum ( yacf ) and I seem to have bought a second hand Dawes Galaxy. It’s 7 speed with bar end shifters
The only things I did to it after getting it was removing the toestraps and cleaning the braking surface on the rims
Old new tyres
I was also taking the ice tyres off the single speed. Little risk of snow/ice now in the SW. I fitted some “new old stock” 30mm Schwalbe CX tyres I bought a few years ago but I’d never used
Last weekend, “The Valley of the Rocks” 200km in Devon. This weekend “Yr Elenydd” 300km in Wales
Lots of quality riding and more weather than you’d like!
On both rides I was on my Specialized Roubaix with a 30-40-50 x 12-30, Michelin Endurance 25mm and a Luxo hub powered light
Valley of the Rocks
This ride goes via the Blackdown Hills and Exmoor to the striking “Valley of the Rocks” above Lynton on the North Devon Coast. The return to Honiton is via South Molton and Crediton
Left home at 6:45am. rode to the start at Honiton. Lower back playing up all the way round. Weather looked “threatening” especially when on the top of Exmoor. Did not manage to climb the feared Lynmouth to Lynton without walking. By later on as we got to the North Devon coast the sun came out. Worked with a small group against the head wind as we went south again. Finished with a time of almost 13h but this was better than last year. Rode home, back before 11pm
This ride goes to Shobdon Airfield,Builth Wells, Tregaron via a mountain, back to Rhydader via another mountain road and returning to Shropshire over the Long Myndd
Left work the night before on a train. Camped over night in the field next to the start at Upton Magma near Shrewsbury. It rained overnight but was clear in the morning. Set off with the 3rd group. Made a steady pace to Shobdon. Great coffee at Shobdon. Steady again to Builth. Another great coffee. Snow on the start of the mountain road before the checkpoint at Abergwesyn but bizarrely it then cleared to show blue sky over the Devils Staircase
To end the mountain road to Tregaron there is a marvellous descent which had been resurfaced. I didn’t take it at max speed as the road was damp but : most exhilarating.
Just before reaching the control at Tregaron bowls club the skies dumped down a lot of hail
Fortunately the hail didn’t stick to the road and we carried on back to Rhyader via another sun lit mountain road! It was so warm I took my heavy commuting coat off for the first time that day!
Had a bad patch on the final hills getting back to Shrewsbury and finally finished just after midnight. Much slower than last year
Overnight in the tent it was very cold. The tent was already covered in droplets of ice when I went to sleep.
Yikes! It’s the “Valley of the Rocks” 200km next weekend. My bike needs to be in first class condition for it but I’ve been riding it all winter. So some TLC is required
It’s not March but we were mad to ride this route
The route starts in Exeter and then visits the south coast and then the north coast.
At the south coast it was blowing a gale but otherwise ok. The sky looked evil ( but loverly ) however
As we went north it rained on and off and the wind got stronger. There was a bit of road on the A396 near Cove that was closed as it was falling in the river. Before we attempted to get past the road closed barriers and see if it was passable we found a great little bus shelter
We got past the road works and then into the worst weather of the whole trip. As we gained height onto Exmoor the temperature dropped, the rain thickened up and wind blustered. It was kind of pretty in the wet though. Richard reckoned that I over did it pushing too hard here but I always up the speed to get out of the rain.
After peaking at Wheddon X and doing a careful descent down to Dunster we stopped at Blue Anchor. The rain had stopped and after eating too much it was off again, with a tail wind.
The combination of my lack of fitness and too much fried food made the section from Blue Anchor back to near where I live somewhat taxing. Getting back to Exeter was in the face of a strong wind. It had dropped from gale force, fortunely
After that all we had to do was crawl home again.
About 250km on the clock but it felt like double
I’ve been running tubeless tyres now on the Ridley for 1400km. Yesterday, near the end of a 200km ride the rear tyre went down. I reinflated it with a co2 cartridge and it was fine for the rest of the ride. A lot easier than changing a tyre. Punctures aren’t good but this shows that tubeless+sealant works for me
Richard came round about 7:30 and we set off. It was predawn light. It was the coldest I’ve felt this winter. The sun came up at Tiverton and it started to slowly warm a little. As the back lanes would be treacherous we stuck to the main road up to Bampton. Notable sights: a large dead deer
It was so cold that I managed to wear my down gilet, a winter weight windproof jacket and two base layers all day. And I never felt over warm. Next bit was Bampton -> Wiveliscombe -> Taunton. Not much to report other than the cafe at Wiveliscombe was actually open
After Taunton, down the A361 to Glastonbury. By the time we got to the levels there had been enough sun that there was no ice on the road at all. There was some flooding but it was in fields not the road. Dead fox in Taunton
When we got to Wells about 1pm we felt like proper lunch. Last time we had a quick pasty but I guess the extra calories burned by the cold had to be replaced.
Then it was back again via Chard and lots of villages with Sandstone houses
Last bit was climbing out of Yarcombe to the main road. The main road was busier than expected. Richard got home via super secret back lanes and paths. To finish the 200km I had to go home via a bit of a detour to Collumpton but adding on a few km was ok, I was warmed up. Except for my toes.
Another good day out, the sun, lack of rain and gales and company made it good.