With most of the country worrying about the weather, I’m pondering whether to use “The Toy” or use the Iceni training/wet weather bike. One look out the window meant it was time to prep the Iceni. Nothing too drastic, just swap the bag, bottles and put the Garmin Edge 305 on the bars. The other important thing is to take the right shoes as the Iceni is fitted with SPD,s.
This was the better of the two shots as it includes the church.
It’s looking a bit grim driving down the A55 to Bangor but I’d allowed enough time in case I had difficulty find the start. Numbers were nearly 50% down on those that had entered but it didn’t look too bad on the day. Two out of our planned group were no shows but we gained Margaritte. Bangor was busy as we set out and it wan’t until a few mile down the road that I realised I hadn’t pressed start on the Garmin Edge 305. Hence the gap on the google map.
Ray had programmed us in to take the main road and not the cycle way to Carnarvon (english spelling) due to the path being grit. The wet conditions meaning any dirt rapidly becomes grinding paste on the rims. There was plenty of water around as we headed down the hill to Carnarvon and the Castle. I dropped off the back here to get a picture of the Castle as it’s not everyday you ride past historic landmarks like this. Further down the road we arrive at our first control point with a few riders getting their cards signed.
After the control things get a bit breezy and the speed is cut to 10-11mph. The road is very exposed here and it’s not until we head inland that things ease up.
Lowrie (in the blue,centre)of Wrexham CTC gets around, last week it was the Cheshire cycleway 100 miler.
It’s a tad windy after the checkpoint.
The next stop is Tremadog where all the climbers congregate before and after they climb the the rockfaces across the the the road from the cafe. There is the matter of a 700 ft climb to tackle before you get to it. It also means 700ft of descent too. There is a diversion off the main road that rejoins a bit further on. Prior to to that I see Nazareth Post Office, or at least it looks like that as we ride past.
Now the Eagle eyed might have gathered that I am a Nazareth fan(the 70,s group)and the urge to photograph the post office was stong , but i was at the back so it didn’t happen. Well not this time at least. AKA Whitebicycle.
This is after the climb, boy it was bleak. Bleak was waiting at the turn and having to go back down the hill to see if one of the riders was OK.Soft is someone whingeing about having a change of dry clothing after having walked from the Lamberis Pass cafe to the coach in the carpark.
I might as well talk about the climb as it is the highlight of the ride, not knowing what was coming up it looked harder than what it was. This was only the second long climb I’ve tackled, most have been shorter but maybe a bit steeper. Yes I know, I need to get out more.
The map player on the MotionBased site gives all the details of the climb . There is a section that is steep at the bottom but then it opens out. You can see the viewing point that cuts into the side of the mountain in the distance. That looks steep and who knows what lurks around the bend. As the climb opens up there is a chance to got up a gear and the speed goes up to 12mph from 10mph. Going up another gear has it up to 14mph in places. I passed three or four fellow riders on the climb and felt on top form. Only stopping at the junction to go up to PenYPass.
Looking at my watch I figure I’m about ten minutes clear of the others and it was time to regroup before going on to the control point. The weather turns nasty at this point and up until this point I have been reasonably dry. I’ve a pair of Polaris trousers on over a pair of shorts with Sealskin waterproof socks keeping my feet dry, until now.
One of the problems with waterproof gear is that when it gets overwhelmed like here there is nowhere for the water to go. So now I’ve got wet feet. I should have put the Altura overtrousers on earlier as they proved quite effective on the descent.
The next section up to the Cafe is steep, the weather is horrendous and as we round a steep uphill bend we are hit by a wind that nearly stops you in your tracks. No chance of dancing up at 14mph here,more like 8 with 10mph at best when it leveled out. A bleep on the Garmin means we are at the control point.
Now you don’t want to leave the relative comfort of the cafe to set off in a downpour but we’ve a ride to finish. I finally don the Altura overtrousers for the descent into Llanberis. Boy what a descent this was. This was going to be fast, it would have been very very fast if it was dry.
Once I’d got an idea of what was involved I was soon up to speed, this felt like about 30 mph. As we descended there were literally rivers running across the road. This isn’t a day for taking the racing line and I wave a car past, a Merc follows thru. The thing is they aren’t that much quicker than me. Max speed was 37 but there were lots of sections where I was dragging the brakes to keep the rims clear of water.
I’m on the drops for this descent, you need the leverage on the brakes to control your speed. Being on the hoods is not an option you just can’t get enough leverage. There is good feel on the drops and Dura-Ace pads are soft enough not to wear the rims out. I must mention the driving rain at the top as it was really stinging the face so much so as I was thinking of slowing down at one point.
Craig is next down and he doesn’t like this sort of descent.
30 mph near the bottom was no problem and I had a bit of a wait for the rest to catch up hence the shots.
There were glimpses of sunlight as we rode out of Llanberis which coincided with a shower as soon as i uttered the words. Further on we opted for a stop to take off the rain gear. The weather had brightened up and there was some stunning scenery that we had just cycled. My final piece of malt loaf was consumed and we headed of to the finish. It was a good day and the piece of cake at the finish was something else. At about 6pm the first of the 200km riders returned. This was some feat considering the weather.
I’ll post some stats later.
Thanks Robert, it’s a great route and I really enjoyed myself, got to see plenty of graveyards on the route for some reason.