They say there’s a welcome in the mountains, and Newbury Road Club cyclists who spent a fine October weekend in the Brecon’s can certainly attest to that. Whether it was the wonderful elderly lady leaning over the front wall of her garden whilst we were pontificating about a road closure sign or the café owner at Marmajos who couldn’t quite believe we’d turned up in the dreadful conditions on the Monday morning expecting us to cry off, the welcome was everywhere.
The mountains gave us all a stern challenge! Saturday afternoon began with a short ride for the two green groups to Crickhowell and a coffee stop at Latte-da Coffee & Kitchen where the proprietor greeted them at the road side and escorted them to the back garden. What then followed was the 518m climb up over the top of the Brecons at Cefn Onneu, perhaps not the best following a substantial slab of cake! A tougher climb than many of the green team were expecting. The views were stunning!
The blue team rode around the lakes of Pontsticill and Talybont before they too took the climb over the mountain meeting up with the second green team, to give them encouragement en route. The blue team had earlier timed the ride perfectly as they watched the tourist train pass on the Brecon Mountain Railway at Pontsticill waving to all on board a la the Railway Children.
Sunday was a new day and again brought some stiff challenges for both groups.
This time the blue group first took on the climb of the mountain to the north of Ebbw Vale before the mouth-watering descent to Crickhowell. An
undulating stretch along the valley took us to the foot of the Gospel Pass and the long climb up the highest road in Wales at 549m.
Lunch in Hay-on-Wye at The Granary prepared us well for the afternoon ride west before once again the challenge of Cefn Onneu to get us back to the Hotel in Ebbw Vale. The views at the top were even better in the bright sunshine as we drank coffee from the burger van parked just shy of the peak. The view was quite Tolkienesque, as we speculated which mountain was hiding the dragon.
The green group took on the challenge of the lakes ride with a lunch stop in The Red Lion in Llangyhidr. Unfortunately, they were a little late due to a mischievous puncture, but the proprietors found them sufficient food to fill their appetites. Once again, the mighty climb was awaiting after lunch!
Notwithstanding the vagaries of Mr Garmin and Ms Wahoo we completed between 2000m and 3000m of climbing. It was very hard work for most of the riders but there was an immense feeling of achievement. It was wonderful supportive company; no-one was left behind.
Thank you to everyone.