By: Blonde Two
Thanks to Mr Blonde Two for this guest post about his cycling weekend around Mid Wales (although as it was sunny, I think he may have been somewhere else altogether). There’s tidy!
Blonde Two loves to roam Dartmoor on foot, whereas I prefer pedal power. I persuaded my friend Rob to ride with me in the “Welsh Ride Thing”, (Explanation here: http://bearbonesbikepacking.co.uk/pages/WelshRideThing.html). You enter online and on May 1st, you receive 14 OS grid references. You then devise your own route which aims to join up as many, or as few of the points as you want over 3 days and 2 nights. After several hours pouring over the maps, we were pretty happy with the route we had come up with.
We arrived in deepest Mid Wales at the start on Saturday morning with about 150 others. After much faffing and re-packing, we finally submitted our bikes and equipment for the weigh in. There are prizes for the lightest and heaviest bikes. After a briefing, we were released into the wild.
After a short period of time, we were pushing up a long steep hillside, already starting to question the wisdom of our route choice. However, we soon perked up at the top of the hill which gave us the first of many beautiful, soul lifting vistas of the weekend. After about 5 hours of riding, we camped on top of a hill with a gorgeous view down the valley. Tarps pitched, food gobbled, we settled down for the night, which incidentally was the first night I have ever used a bivvi bag or tarp! We awoke in mist with frost on our shelters.
Sunday saw us riding for 11 hours. By about 6pm, our spirits were flagging, so we had a super noodle break. It always amazes me how bland instant food can taste so good when you are exhausted. We stopped on another hilltop for our 2nd night. A stiff breeze was blowing so we pitched our tarps accordingly. However, Nature is in charge and we spent the entire night trying keep hold of our tarps as the wind changed direction by 180 degrees when my tarp was transformed from shelter to wings and did its best to take off.
Having not had the best nights rest, we set off at 6.30am, bleary eyed and cold. Four and a half hours later, we reached the finish. Never have cups of tea and slices of cake been so welcome. After chatting with fellow riders and the brilliant organisers, we made the long drive home. Tired, achey, but supremely happy.