So, here it is. The report into the Big Mountain ride from today, attempted with my better half. Its a bit of a tale of two rides in all honesty.
The first half was a lovely ride from Hirwaun, up over Penderyn moor and on to Storey Arms by Pen y Fan. The wind was strong and buffeting but not enough to detract from the fabulous scenery. We stopped for a quick photo-shoot by the side of the road (and resisted the lure of the burger van)
After this a brilliant descent down the A470 into Brecon. Even though the wind was swirling and at times scary, we hurtled down at an average 30mph for the next 8 miles! Wheel wobble (and fear!) prevented me from attempting to go faster when I was topping out at 40mph! After that descent, we stopped in Brecon for a quick bite to eat and a cup of coffee. Suitably refreshed we started off on the 2nd half of the ride….
I can honestly say that the buffeting we got from the wind as we cycled over the moor by Mynydd Illtud was staggering, well in excess of 25mph. It was incredibly difficult to make headway in the wind. Still, the view was lovely and it couldnt be this bad all the way back could it? Another photo opportunity presented itself
and then yours truly
Well, after the Mynydd Illtud section, we climbed up towards the Crai road by Fan Hir. Climb? Climb?!! Some sections were 20-25% gradients. Legs pumping, sinews twanging, muscles bulging. Made it to the top….to be hit by the rain, and renewed gale force winds..
Coming down by the side of Crai Reservoir, mist descended, rain hammered down (actually horizontally) and the wind was in our teeth. Both of us had trouble seeing in this malestrom of elemental fury. After 5miles of this we decided a quick coffee stop and a breather out of the weather was in order. We stopped off at Craig y Nos Country Park and slumped onto a bench outside of the cafe. Watching the rain and wind swirling around in the valley, we consolled ourselves with a cup of hot coffee and a welshcake.
Sat on our bench we appreciated the view if partially shrouded in mist and rain.
Having partially recovered from our battering, we set off again. The coffee stop seemed to revitalise us and we cycled on despite the conditions. After coming out of the valley, we cycled along the Inter Valley road that passes by Coelbren, Glyneath and Rhigos. Just to test us out at the end, there was a last big climb before decending into Hirwaun and back to the car.
All in all, a tough, hard as nails ride in appalling conditions for over half the ride. The end result? 54 miles, 4000feet of climbing, battered faces, aching limbs but big smiles. Ok, the smiles took a cooked dinner to help develop but now they are there.