Sunday, August 12, 2012

Training Weekend

This weekend the bunch of us that are doing ride in September met up down in my corner of Wales to see how we got on riding as a group. The first day saw us heading out in a hazy warm light towards Usk and Abergavenny.
We had a support mum for the first day, who was meeting us at various points along the way. The first one of which was Llanthony Priory so we could stop for tea and cake.

The photo was taken post tea and cake, you can tell as people are smiling. The ride so far had been steady and the only real mishap had been Mick and Gordon heading off ahead whilst Jay, Aidan and myself had stopped in a P for Piddle bay to relieve ourselves. Jay and Aidan went one way whilst I went the other to see which way they had gone. They were found and we made the Priory fine.
The Priory was significant for me, or rather what came after; Gospel Pass. I had been fretting about how we would get on going up it and as it came up it was actually a relief to get my teeth into it and climb. Going up from the Abergavenny side the climb rises and dips before finally one longer climb takes you up to the highest point.
This is me starting to see the end of the climb-
and then Jay following me up towards the top-
It was utterly rewarding to get to the top, there is then a lovely run slightly down with the wind whistling at you and the bike humming along below. We paused to regroup by the car park and chatted to a paraglider whom had not long landed and was headed back down.
Disappointingly there was no ice cream van there this time. This meant we would have to find ice cream in Hay on Wye. The run down into Hay was steep and fast, we were braking to keep the speeds at around 45mph. A bit of spottage by Aidan meant we popped into Drover Cycles for a browse and a bit of purchasing. A lovely cycle shop and it was good to find they were a Surly dealer as well. Anyway, on to Hay for ice cream!
Shepherd's coffee bar and Ice Cream provided us with great cones full of delicious sheep's milk ice cream. Recommended. (first photo by Jay)
 Refuelled we pressed on, not far to go now.
We had a good ride for the final leg into Talgarth and I think we were all ready for some food and a pint.
After a wander around Talgarth we wound down mixed grills and a few jars of Athletic Ales.
10pm was time for bed.
The next morning we awoke to the rain, a change from the previous day. Still the forecast spoke of it drying up and sure enough by the time we set off at 10am it was beginning to dry out. The ride was an undulating climb up past Llangorse Lake before coming into Bwlch, the road steaming a little as the day warmed up.  (photo by Jay)

We paused in Crickhowell for Mick to revisit the Bear Hotel, a place he had been raving about over the weekend from previous visits. Then along the back roads back towards home. We were pulling together well as a group now and people had found their groove.
Back home in time for an excellent lunch, I would say better than the night before, but then I am biased as my girlfriend cooked it! Total mileage of 85 over the two days. A month to go and a few issues to address and tweak but a great weekend nonetheless.

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