Welsh Coast to Coast April 2011

The weather was amazing, the trails dusty and the locals friendly – what an incredible six days of mountain biking across the top of Wales!

 

Thanks to everybody for the sponsorship, the current total as of 8th May is £860.56. This is a staggering amount and is going to a fantastic charity. Thanks again.

 

For the trip I hooked up with my mate and the idea of the ride was to travel off-road through Wales taking in as many of the biggest mountains on offer. As it was for charity, we wanted it to be as hard as possible (some days were tougher than others)  so rode/hiked as much off road trails as possible. Here is our trip from North to South.


 

Day 1


Starting in Rhyl we travelled south along the Clwyds to Llangollen. The sun was out in force and bar the lack of map for the last bit, the navigation went very well. We clocked up 65km and 1045 meters of climbing: looking back this was definately the easiest day!


Day 2


Langollen to Bala today with a long climb to begin. This took us on to the Wayfares trail over the top of the Berwyn Mountains. Found an awesome rocky descent off the back of the Berwyns, which ended up in us getting lost for a bit before we stumbled upon an abandoned sofa. After 60km and 1206 meters of climbing, the steak and beer tasted particularly good.


Day 3


The big one: Bala to Corris, 60km and 1595 meter of climbing. We hiked the Arrans (907meters)  and Cadir Idris  (893 meters) but couldn’t see much as the weather was at its worst on this day. The bridleway descent off Cadir Idris made up for that though, it just kept going forever. Rolled into Corris after 10 hours just in time to eat the worst Steak I have ever had, accompanied by the best beer of the trip – so a mixed day really!


Day 4


Covered 70km and 930 meters of climbing today riding to Dolgoch, just north of the Beacons Beacons.  Massive climb out of Machynlleth took us into the wilds of Wales followed by a stint on the road. Fitted in a Chicken Tikka Sandwich (?) on route and then headed past Strada Florida and into the Tywi forest for what turned out to be an awesome 4×4 trail to finish. Took us ten and a half hours to get to the bunkhouse and when we arrived the place was overrun with crazy folk eating and boozing. We sat there hungry and drinking the free coffee – a low point.


Day 5


Easy day today, 48 km and only 460 meters of climbing, or so we thought! After a rubbish night sleep, we had some watery porridge and headed off. Feeling pretty low, I ploughed my head into a rut on the first descent! I luckily managed to avoid concussion but did manage to limit my neck rotation to a quarter turn clockwise for the rest of the trip. Fortunately, we stumbled upon a great bit of single track down the Afon Doethie valley which brought us out in Rhandirmwyn. An awesome food stop, which has a good burger and excellent cream scones.


Keen to avoid the low points of the previous night, we brought food and eight cans of Stella in Llandovery. I decided to man up/take one for the team and carry the beer for the final descent up to Llanddeusant.  The final climb was massive, took about an hour and we got chased by rabid dogs! It was just about worth it! Anyway, arrived at the hostel in good time and made short work of the Stella.


Day 6


Swansea or bust today: 52 Km and 534 meters of climbing over the top of Fan Brycheiniog. It was windy on the top but downhill all the way afterwards! Hit the road and then blasted the remaining 30km into Swansea to finish on the beach at 2:30pm.


We had four hours to kill until the train home arrived so found a bar to celebrate our massive achievement. The waitress could not quite believe it when I ordered a panini for a starter followed by a Lamb Shank, however, when I explained what we had just done she promptly brought us out two beers on the house. Nice! The lady on the next table was also impressed and made a donation.


What a great finish to an amazing trip for a very worthwhile cause – BOOM!