Sunday, 28 March 2010

the great chick pea tragedy

After a long lay off the camping thing we headed off to Bala for elevenses on Saturday. After filling our bellies we headed South a couple of miles to the end of the lake, booted up and headed out. We got a little impromptu Welsh lesson from the local park ranger on the way up onto the Aran ridge. As I have a CSE Grade 4 in the languageI think he had a bit of a cheek...

We didn't quite get the solitude we're used to around these parts as there were plenty of people around. It wasn't crowded like the Lake District would've been though. It's still mighty chilly this time of the year at the high point of 907m, especially when the wind's gusting around 40mph. After 6 hours or so we'd bagged a couple of peaks and done the obligutory squelching through a forest. Unusually for a Welsh forestry though the path had remained almost navigable.We arrived at the designated camp spot high up just off Y Gribin at around 600m. We had a restless night as it was still very windy and flippin' cold. A touch below freezing, brrr. This is the spot,

It was sometime during the food prep process that we found the limitations of an unsupported MSR Pocket Rocket and a decent sized pan on a grassy, uneven surface. We lost alomst 50% of our luke warm chick peas to the slugs. It was a particularly gutting moment.

An early start the next day dropping right down into the valley just to climb back out through this basin after the cloud had cleared.Would be nice to live here, just to ride that track!
We climbed this track ...
Via this rubbly section, if this was Scotland we'd be back down here with bikes in a flash.

This up and down routine carried on for the next few hours, up and down another couple of 700m hills. The downs are always hardest. Knee killers.

Managed to hit Bala for mid afternoon tea after a calmer time trotting through the valley back to our start point. Great to be out tromping across pathless hillsides again. Now planning a faster and lighter Rhinog traverse...


Fat hub, fat rim & fat spokes. All for one man and his dog.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Monday, 1 March 2010

delivering the goods

201k audax followed by a trip back out to Pat's house.

Early start Sunday morning. Weather didn't look too promising as we threw the bikes in the back of the van and headed round the M60 to Cheadle. Splatters of rain on the windshield. Parked up, pulled on the overshoes, grabbed our brevet cards and we were off. Usual minor roads away from traffic and into Cheshire. Radway, Newport, Audlem, Middlewich and back. 200k and just a little spatter of rain. Thankful for the sleet that never came.

Audaxes are funny things. Seeing the same people multiple times throughout the day as we pass each other then stop at a cafe while they ride on and grab food at another favorite spot. Meet up at the end for soup, cake and a chat. Ambitious plans to complete one on a fixed someday soon. Definately looking forward to the 400 from Mytholmroyd in May.

Due to the hospitality of Rachel and Phil we didn't have to travel too far to Bredbury and grabbed some food. Bowls of pasta and big mugs of tea. Yum. Bit of chat then a couple of hours nap. Up at 11-ish to get ourselves together. Fired up the laptop at midnight to download the Mountain Mayhem registration form. Just to make sure of an entry in this classic event we headed off into the night for our yearly pilgrimage to Pat's house. Meeting up with Julie along the way we found out again that Long Hill is indeed long and hilly. Rewarded with flutters of snow at the top and the full moon peeping between the clouds. Quite a bit of snow still up there. Lovely riding up there on deserted roads with those views under a full moon.

Arrived at (Hall of Fame) Pat Adams' house around 3 and were greeted by the usual incredible early morning cheeriness. Coffee, cake and the ever enthusiastic Digit the dog. Sat, chatted and warmed up for an hour or so. Some of the first visitors on bikes again this year. Photos taken and we were off, guaranteed a place in the 11th Mountain Mayhem. Sunrise ride home. Actually back to Rachel and Phil's again. We sneeked back into the house like roadie ninjas so as not to wake Brutus. Think he must have woken up but by some kind of bulldog sixth sense knew we were too goosed to steal his snacks.

All too soon it was time to drag ourselves from the spare room and greet the day. Sun and blue skies though after 291k in 22hrs it must be time for a rest day.