Day 2 – 71km, 1480m climbing, 6hrs30 total moving time
The day of landscapes, river crossings and punctures (numbering 4 – all mine)
After a hearty breakfast, we packed our bags for Phill to take to our next stop. It was a damp but mild start, however the forecast was for it to brighten up during the day. I was greeted with an overnight puncture, so had to dust off the tyre levers to fix it.
It was a gentle start along a cycle path towards the reservoirs, although this soon turned into a brutal climb (affectionally termed ‘puke hill’ by the locals) and one of many throughout the day. After a further 3 punctures (all mine!) and a couple of toe drenching river crossings, we finally made it to nearby Claerwen reservoir with its incredibly imposing dam.
We were running way behind schedule so we time trailed around the Claerwen – a journey I have done several times on foot – but is just a quick jaunt by mountain bike. We stopped for lunch just a stones throw away from the best bothy in Wales, with Phill being brilliant making us coffee on a stove and offering around cookies. The landscape around this area is gorgeously wild, barren, desolate and where the weather really tells you whose boss! I love it.
Day two really is a day of two halves, as after lunch (and a change of socks) we left the reservoir area towards much greener landscapes. Namely the little know Hafod forest – a little known gem of a place – and one of the highlights of the three days. It’s a gorgeous place and somewhere I would definitely like to return to. As we passed houses randomly dotted around the landscape, there is a sense that the people who live here do so for the more simple life – and on this sunny afternoon with the sun shining and the green-ness all around almost flourescent – I can see why.
After leaving this beautiful area, we past the old mines of Cymystwyth before heading up the ‘broken road’ a crazy long climb that made me grateful that I packed ‘emergency’ hobnob bars and Colin the caterpillar sweets in my bag!
Time was pressing on, so we didn’t linger as we cycled through the less inspiring Esgair Ychion forest to head to Llangurig (the highest village in mid-Wales), and the friendly Bluebell Inn.
The craved-for pint of cider was delightful after 10 hours on the saddle, although it made for a tipsy showering experience. I haven’t spent so long on a saddle in one day before, and treating myself to a brand new saddle for this trip was not one of my best ideas. Aching muscles were second place to my saddle sores – ouch.
After dinner, we all retired to bed with aching limbs (and bottoms) in nervous anticipation of the final day – do the legs have another hill in them….?
Please note:- this is not a promotional post. I paid full price for this trip and all my thoughts are my own