As this weeks Tuesday is the new Monday, I decided to have a night off, so no cycling/running
I have been doing some route planning for the weekend
I woke up at 5am to the sound of rain on canvas, as it was already turning light, I thought I may as well get up!
I packed all the kit away, munched on a cheese and ham sandwich I bought yesterday and squirreled away in a pannier, then hit the road for 6:05am, the road was empty, so I decided to forgo the scenic meanderings of NSN 42, I headed straight (reasonably flat) on the main road to Usk – This was a good move
From Usk I headed straight up and over a nasty and very long hill, I often fly down it (not so nasty then!).
I am not sure why the 16% sign was 2/3rds of the way up the hill, I am however certain the gradient was more like 20% in paces
At Shirenewton, I again decided to deviate from route (This was potentially a good thing, but turned out bad!), I should have turned left and joined the Usk road to Chepstow, it would have been slightly longer than the planned route, but the gradients would have been favorable, instead I stayed on the Crick road, it was a wonderfully long descent, unfortunately it didn’t take me straight to Chepstow, I ended up turning left at cycling along the A48 fortunately it was still early and the road was relatively empty
I had originally toyed with the idea of stopping for tea/cake in Chepstow, but a) It was still early, b) I couldn’t be arsed to cycle down into Chepstow to cycle up to get back!, I also wanted to get back to England!
So I continued on across the old Severn Bridge
I stopped half way across to give wifey a call
I stopped at Costa’s in the Severn View services for a cup of coffee a cheese and ham toastie and the worst tasting bacon roll I have ever had! It was the worst breakfast I have had in the journey and it was at least twice the price
With Breakfast done I pressed on home, I am not sure if it was the lack of mountains, a tail wind or simply the desire to get back home, but the journey back from Thornbury seemed über quick,
Once I was back home I popped up the tent in the front Garden to dry, jumped in the shower for a clean/freshen up, showered the clothes into the washing machine, emptied the panniers and then gave the bike a good going over.
The Garmin had today’s ride as…
|Avg Speed:||12.4 mph|
|Elevation Gain:||3,031 ft|
|Avg Temperature:||52.6 °F|
It was jolly nice to get out on the bike ALL weekend, but it is good to be back home!
I will have to carry less next time! The bike weighed a ton, and it may not have been the most sensible of routes with a loaded bike!
Here’s a rough list of what I carried/wore…
Endura heavyweight bright cycle jacket
Endura windchill II Gilet
Fold up Light weight shower jacket
Pack up shower jacket (non cycling)
2 cycle shorts
2 long sleeve cycle tops
3 pairs socks
1 pair trousers
2 pairs boxer shorts
1 fleece top
1 large micro fibre towel
1 pair cycle touring shoes
1 pair cycling sandals
1 power monkey extreme (9000mAh capacity Lithium Polymer battery) + solar charger
2 pebble ( 5000mAh battery)
1 Tecknet iEP300 (3000mAh battery)
1 netbook + power supply
1 fold up stool (0.5kg)
1 Quechua quick hiker II (2.7 kg)
Various Micro USB. Mini USB, OTA leads
1 Wash bag containing small shower gel, small toothpaste, toothbrush
Chain Oil + Cleaning Cloth
Set Allen Keys
3 700c -28 inner tubes (Rear wheel )
2 700c – 23 inner tubes (front wheel)
Puncture repair kit
2 small self sealing bags
2 strops (1 used for fixing tent to rack, 1 spare)
gas lighter (for stove)
small pot,pan set,
small gas bottle
small washing up liqued
phone (LG G3)
5 packs instant porridge (just add boiling water)
multiple cereal bars.
Plastic container containing instant tea with milk (Just add boiling water)
Light weight sleeping bag
Micro foam pillow
Sleeping matt (light weight self inflating)
Wallet + Money
…I am thinking I took too much!
I only need the Powermonkey as a charging solution, it gets charged quite nicely during the day by the dyno hub, and it can charge up everything, with plenty of spare capacity!
Netbook isn’t needed, the phone is quite big and capable enough!
Only need one set of cycle gear, it can be washed at the end of each day and it dries quickly enough to be wearable the next day!
Do not bother with cooking stuff, the tea is gopping, the cereal bars are enough for a morning kick-start, until breakfast can be found, if no cooking stuff the washing/drying cloth and washing liquid is also not needed!
Stool was a luxury, it is considerably better than sitting on the ground when the sun is out
Still not sure about the tools, the multi tool is a good one so could probably do away with the chain breaker and allen keys, but I like to have pliers and the cassette removal stuff is essential, although this seems like a better (and much lighter) solution… NBT2
I think when touring I will have to consider weight!
Today was considerably flatter than yesterday, amazing considering it included the Gospal Pass (the highest paved road in the UK，apparently).
As my gas bottle had run out I made a little detour via Abergaveny to pick one up (I actually cycled around the town a few times, untill I found a camping shop)
I ended up arriving at the campsite at around 15:00, it was gloriously sunny, but unfortunately the nearest food pub was in Usk…4 miles away, after much procrastinating I headed to Usk for grub.
Well that was a tough ride!
I set off from the campsite early (6:30) and stupidly followed NCR8 to Barmouth, this went up and up and up avoiding Harlec for some strange reason, some of the hills were well beyond my ability to cycle up them with a fully loaded bike, so I walked when I needed to! It took me about 2 hours to cover 10 miles!
I picked up the pace a little when I joined the main road to Barmouth.
The cycle path was stunning and practically empty 😅 as a bonus I was at the toll bridge before the toll booth was open.
I stopped for a big breakfast at Dolgellau, it seemed wise at the time, then I preceded to climb and climb and climb, the forthcoming descent just didnt seem anywhere as long as the climb :'(
The lane rejoined the main road, then crossed it and the climbing started again!
The sun had been full on shining all day and even I started to worry about sun burn!
After yet another tortuous and very long climb, I passed the Star Inn, alittle pub literally in the middle of nowhere at the top of a mountain, I stopped for a drink and another water bottle top up (unusually for me I had drained bothe waterbottles countless times throughout the day)
It was 14:30 and I still had 30 miles left to go!
The final 30 miles were very scenic, but seemed to take for ever:'(
I will upload Garmin stuff when I have a chance + apologies for spelling / typos…
i set off from Holyhead a wee bit later than I intended。 in hindsight I should have stayed 30 minutes longer and had a cooked breakfast at the campsite, but as I was all packed and ready to go at 7:30 (I had made tea and porridge).
It was quite slow going, i didn’t leave Anglesey until 11am (40 miles)，I did make a slight detour 😅
I was famished, but I did not see any Cafe’s open. I decided to press on to Caernarfon and stop at the first foody place i passed. So I did，I had a fantastic breakfast bap and a cup of coffee at 12pm 😅
After lunch I felt a little more revived and pressed on to Criccieth.
At Criccieth, Porthmadog was sign posted 12 miles, my destination was a mere 7 miles beyond.
The slightly more circuitous route I took to Porthmadog was a wee bit longer and certainly more uppy/downy!
I traversed the cob and headed to the Harlech toll road…disaster it was closed and most definitely impassable :'( I had no choice but to take a long detour :'(
I eventually arrived at my camp-site about an hour later than I intended.
The Garmin had the ride as…
|Avg Speed:||11.1 mph|
|Elevation Gain:||4,154 ft|
|Avg Temperature:||53.1 °F|
Once I had set up camp, showered and cleaned/dried some clothes, I headed out to the nearest pub for food
Loaded the panniers into the back of the van, fitted the bike carrier and loaded the Genesis Croix de Fer and set off from home at 8:30 am, dropped the dog’s off at the kennels, then drove to North Wales, we arrived at Beaumaris at 13:00, we stopped at the Spinning Wheel tea room (next to the castle) and had lunch, after lunch I went back to the van and got changed/unloaded the van/loaded the bike.
I set off up/down/up/down/up/down to Holyhead for my first night stop, the sun was out and the gorse smelt wonderful
I arrived at the camp-site at about 16:30, and set-up camp, after a quick shower the first priority was a spot of tea
The Garmin had the ride as…
|Avg Speed:||11.7 mph|
|Elevation Gain:||1,834 ft|
|Avg Temperature:||63.2 °F|
After a bit of faffing, I set of to ‘The Paddlers Rest’ for an apple juice or two and a spot of food, a rather nice Pork in Dijon with Vegetables, rounded off with a Banana with Rum and Ice Cream
|Avg Speed:||10.5 mph|
|Elevation Gain:||364 ft|
|Avg Temperature:||55.4 °F|
Interestingly even though the bike ride to the pub was unloaded the hills didn’t seem any easier!
It was worthwhile stopping to take a photo of the sea
Worked from home today
Instead of going out for a normal ride, I took the loaded Genesis Croix de Fer for a short test ride ahead of tomorrows journey into deepest darkest Wales.
Rather than make it a short easy ride, I made it a short hilly ride
The Garmin had the ride as…
|Avg Speed:||10.5 mph|
|Elevation Gain:||489 ft|
|Avg Temperature:||57.6 °F|
Everything worked exactly as I hoped lets just hope it all works as well across Wales
Didn’t take a bike to Warwick as the weather forecast was for heavy rain, didn’t go for a run or a bike ride when I got home as there was heavy rain!
I did start sorting through my panniers for the weekend, plan is to load the bike up and take it for a quick spin tomorrow to make sure everything is ok, it should be ‘interesting’!
After packing up everything and having a hearty cooked breakfast we set off back home, wifey kicked me out of teh van to cycle home at junction 38 of the M4 (It was planned!)
It didn’t seem feasible to cycle home from Gower, it was just a little to far without starting off early!
After unloading the bike at Margam I set off through the parc, although part of NCR4 it really isn’t designed for a road bike, I just got on with it
I had foolishly hoped that even with a late start (10am), with a helpful tailwind I would make it home around 4pm, but I had completely forgotten about a) The hills, b) The shared use paths and the real killer c) The un-rideable nature of some of the paths!
After short stretches of reasonably quick riding down roads I found myself turning of onto very scenic, but very slow stretches.
Parc Slip, shows no signs of its previous life as a colliery, except for the mine disaster memorial, it is now a very pleasant nature reserve.
With the shared use paths, I had to keep the speed down due to the shared nature of the paths, when not on shared use paths NSR4 tends to keep bikes of the more direct roads and naturally the gradient is steeper!
I finally emerged at Caerphilly
Next stop was Newport, and finally I got to use the Transporter Bridge
Time was cracking on, and I was still 20 miles from Chepstow, I still had high hopes of getting to the Severn Bridge for around 3:30, on the bright side my speed was picking up, I was now on proper roads, with a tailwind
At 3pm (still about 10 miles from Chepstow I decided to stop at a pub for a drink of Coke, crisps and to top up one of my water bottles I also called Wifey to suggest I wouldn’t be home until after 6pm!
NCR4 turned into a gravel track again, but at least I had a full tailwind
I reached Chepstow and crossed the Severn Bridge at around 4:20 pm, I still had about 35 miles left to go
But at least I was still smiling (or grimacing)
I took the same route as last week from the bridge to Iron Acton, but instead of taking the main road through Codrington and on to Tormarton, I took the quieter road through Dodington.
The tailwind down to Acton Turville was stunning again
The Garmin had the ride as…
|Avg Speed:||14.2 mph|
|Elevation Gain:||5,266 ft|
|Avg Temperature:||57.5 °F|
Today was a good reminder of how slow NCR routes can be, even with a tailwind!