Friday, 13 August 2010

Cycling up a mountain and down a hill.

After arriving in the beautiful seaside town of Aberdyfi and navigating our way to the hotel, the Penheliog Arms, Geoff spotted it was a Brains Inn and given that Brains are sponsoring the Captains Climb, made an impromptu e-mail to Scott Waddington (CEO of Brains) and they very kindly sponsored the wine for the evening, so a massive thank you for them for that. Also, we’d all said how we would all like to go back to Aberdyfi and the Penehliog Arms was a brilliant place to stay.

With Esther winning the X Factor competition; Well done Mel on guessing it was a peacock, her choice for the evening efforts was a goat (given the amount of Welsh Goats cheese that was being eaten). Freddie rather sheepishly accepted the win, with others detecting some slight nepotism from Judge Esther. With us enjoying a lovely meal and wine we retired for some much needed rest.

Today marked a tricky ride from Aberdyfi to Rhyader, a relatively small ride of 50 miles but along a road with some serious climbs as we journeyed over the Cambrian Mountains. Starting off at sea level we left in the knowledge that we had four main climbs before lunch (according to Geoff anyhow). At the top of every hill gasping for oxygen someone would always be quick to ask Geoff if that was one of the dreaded four hills, sadly the answers were no. As soon we got through Machynlleth we knew that the hills were imminent with the road sign exclaiming 19 miles to our lunch stop, Llanidloes along a narrow mountain road.

As we slugged on we were faced with what could only be described as a ski slope, a road equivalent of le Face in Val d’isere. As gears were rapidly shifted into as low as possible it was painful as you reached what looked like the summit, only to be graced with another corner and another steep climb. With lactic acid building up in everyone’s legs it took a serious amount of grunt and determination to reach the summit. Everyone was very glad of the new addition to the tuck shop, Energy Sweets, to give that extra energy boost when needed. Esther in particular binged on 2 packets as she cycled up the mountain.

Reaching the peak at 510m after the four mile incline the views were truly breathtaking, and everyone was even more grateful with Geoff announcing that the prior hill was actually 2 of the hills done. With no coffee shops at the top we carried with at least the knowledge that we must have some downhill. Everyone, well apart from Caroline (who has a fear of going down hills) was extremely glad of the long downhill with everyone managing to gather some serious speeds. JG sped along at particularly impressive 49mph on one downhill stretch and Caroline even managed to measure in a personal best.

Us collapsed at the peak

As the roads continued Geoff was the centre of some controversy as the number of ‘serious’ hills (serious defined as over 14% gradient) was definitely more than four! Lydia was at a low point of the whole trip and Caroline was in an even worst state exclaiming that this was the “worst day of her life”! Gladly arriving at our lunch destination we explored the town to find somewhere that could serve us all. We all hoped for some tasty food as it was the thought of food that had got most of us up the hills!

Moving on from lunch we were joined by Ed who was determined that he wanted to cycle up a mountain. Five minutes in and he was eating his words as the road continued up some extremely steep hills.

Esther collapsing after an intense hill climb.

Finally arriving at our hotel in Rhyader all of us our completely exhausted and despite our increase in fitness the cumulative fatigue is definitely taking its toll.

Photos of the fatigue setting in:

1 comment:

  1. Sorry this is a rather late comment, but your blog page became unobtainable for some reason on the ship. This threw me as reading what you had been up to was part of my evening routine. Had to find something else to fill my half hour pre shower slot. Luckily the internet room is right next door to the International Cafe serving cocktails, coffees AND CAKES. how appropriate is that?! I don't think the caption to Esthers picture is correct, I think it should read ...'Esther spots cake shop'. Reading todays news, I do feel for Geoff. It must have been similar to when our kids were young and we went on long car journeys. Those unending cries of 'are we there yet?', every 5 minutes, except change that for 'Geoff, Geoff was that one of the 4 hills?'