Through the long wet autumn/winter of training there is always at the back of your mind the reason you do what you do, and that is for days like these. On the Saturday just gone I enjoyed what was arguably my most favourite ride to date.
It had everything - great weather, magical steam trains, overhead helicopters and a snaking pass of a climb that was like something out of Lord of the Rings. It’s just great when everything comes together and you have a training ride just like this.
The day started with a 6.45am pick up as we were driving with the bikes attached to our start point at Llanwrst. We parked up shortly after 8am and headed out - the first 1.5 miles containing nearly 650ft of climbing! The plan was that the 3 of us were going to ride to Capel Curig to meet up with two other riders who only wanted to do part of the ride because they wanted to get home in time to catch the Tranmere game on TV.
The words ‘challenging yet rewarding’ have never applied more to a ride than this one. From Llanrwst to Capel Curig to Pen-Y-Pass-Llanberis-Beddgelart, we took in some fine scenery and top climbing. The highlight of the day was the amazing traffic-free climb up the multiple switchbacks that led to the top of Stwlan Dam. If you’ve never seen it before I’d recommended it to anyone whether you are a runner, walker or cyclist.
Along the way we crossed path several times with a steam train and it’s tooting horn, which I can only assume was part of the Ffestiniog railway, and when two military helicopters passed overhead it was all getting a it surreal, like we’d dropped into Toy Story.
After 66.8 miles and 5,804ft we arrived back at our start point at Llanrwst. The fitness must be coming on as for change I didn’t feel wiped out and could have carried on for a good few miles, if I’d only had the extra fuel on board.
Really, I couldn’t recommend this route more than enough and I’d happily go back and do it all again if the weather will hold out for a few more weeks yet.
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