What do you get when you put a group of women together and tell them to ride 180 kilometres off road over three days through the heart of Wales?
Great scenery, great weather, great riding, lots of innuendos and much cackling!
It was the first time that the well-established MountainbikeWales (the go-to organisation for guided Trans Cambrian trips) were brave enough to put an all-female ride on the calendar. It sold out pretty much straightaway from when it was advertised, the weather was forecasted dry and the trails were dusty. It had all the makings of a fabulous trip, and it certainly didn’t disappoint!
Day 1 Knighton to Rhayader (1100m of ascent, 52km long, moving time 4hrs 40)
The day for Long Grassy Climbs, Coffee Stops and an Extravagant Evening Meal!
After a good evening’s sleep in the characterful The Horse and Jockey Inn (check out the signs for the toilets!), we were introduced to Polly, our guide for the three days, and Mr. Mountainbike Wales himself, Phill a.k.a teaboy. We had a hearty breakfast and a final kit check before heading off to start the three-day off road mountain bike ride termed the Trans Cambrian, a journey that takes in the best scenery of Mid Wales through a mixture of forest tracks, singletrack and quiet roads.
Day one was primarily through classic hilly Wales with lots of fluffy sheep. A tail wind was behind us most of the day (an unusual easterly!) which was just as well as there was some stiff climbs! It was a leisurely pace with plenty of short breath-catching breaks, as well as a couple of lovely café stops.
The second café stop – the Glyndwr’s Way Cafe Bwlchysarnau – is a little gem. Run by Belinda and friends who bake and sell homemade cakes (their scones being a particular speciality), is a popular haunt for both walking and biking groups. It’s a community-led hall run by volunteers, so you need to email them to let them know you are coming . The hall (a school house in a former life) has some great pictures of the pupils from yesteryear, and the volunteers also sell a few useful products such as inner tubes, Skin So Soft and Coolmax socks! Like I said, a real gem.
Full from the scrumptious scones, it’s a brief stiff road climb before a steady descent to Rhayader – the adopted home of the magnificent Red Kite and its own weather system (usually rain). We stayed at the Ty Morgan, literally in the centre of the village, lovely food, lovely accommodation, but if you’re a light sleeper then bring some ear plugs….the town clock that chimes hourly is directly outside!
All in all a tiring day with plenty of climbing, but the easiest of the three, with it’s relatively short day and cafe breaks. In hindsight, a great leg warmer for the days to come….
Please note:- this is not a promotional post. I paid full price for this trip and all my thoughts are my own