Y daith o Cadair Idris – 1st September

The road down to Llyn Mwyngil drops 575ft in less than 2 miles

Originally the plan for the Saturday was for me to lead the ride, and do the ride up to Pont Scethin from Barmouth. But due to my arm I decided to pull out of the mountain biking side of the weekend. My arm feels fine, and seems to be back pretty much to normal, but the thought of banging it…. I don’t even want to think how much that would hurt. I’ve bumped it at home and ******* I knew about it! With 2 weeks till the Kielder 100, better to let it heal in peace.

Rob took up the leading duties and planned heading out of Machynlleth South on the Mach3 trail and trying to get down to the mountain bike trail centre at Nant-Y-Arian. No mean feat! I on the other hand was going North (eventually) with a road lap of Cadair Idris.

We got ready to go for 09:00, and headed down the alley onto the main street. They turned left and I turned right heading coastward down the North side of the Dovey Estuary. Soon I turned off the main road into what’s known as Happy Valley. I’ve no idea why. I didn’t agree as it’s up hill for the first couple of miles, then cresting the highest point I got a headwind off the sea, and had to pedal to go down hill!

Soon I was in Tywyn, with possibly the smallest seafront in the world. Consulting the map I spotted a coast road running behind the sea wall and railway. It would be out of the breeze…result. Off I went nice and sheltered… only to get to a dead end. The bridge over the Afon Dysynni appears to have been washed away or taken down some time ago. Checking the map closely there is a tiny gap in the road.

Oh well, back to Tywyn, and then on the main road that snakes inland before hitting the coast again. The road now clung onto the side of the hill as it rounded the headland and dropped down above Fairbourne. No need to pedal now the gradient and a decent tailwind meant speed was easy!

As I passed through Arthog, I kept my eye out for a right turn that would take me up to Llynnau Cregennen. Sure enough about 1/2 a mile after the villiage there was a sign and the turn. Now Rob had mentioned this when I’d said what I was planning…. he was right, this was one killer of a road. It’s pretty steep, but sections kick up even steeper. I have to admit I did walk a couple of the really bad bits. I’ll blame the bike as the gearing isn’t really set up for big hills. 750ft  in about a mile…. no wonder my legs felt it!

Once past the lakes I followed National Cycle Route 8 along the Northern flank of Cadair Idris, gradually losing height and once again with a very useful tailwind. Soon I was high above Dolegllau, and a combination of country lanes meant I didn’t need to drop all the way into the town. My next target was the junction of the A470 and A487 at the Cross Foxes pub. Droppong all the way into town would mean a killer climb up the A470, not good, and add in the massive road works going on up there…. no ta!

The country lane up to the pub was no strolling the park though, and halfway up I decided I’d stop there for a coke and a bag of crisps. It looks a very nice place, quite what they thought of a sweat soaked cyclist standing at their bar I don’t know! With a short climb up to the top of Cwm Rhwyddfor, I was looking forward to the 575ft drop down to Llyn Mwyngil. As we’d driven it the day before, we’d talked about how much speed you could carry down this 2 mile section….. Wrong! With a the valley acting like a funnel, the headwind was horrible, and I had to pedal hard just to keep above 20mph.

The last real climb was up, out of this valley and into Cwm Dulas which I’d then follow all the way back to Machynlleth. This was hard, my legs were tired from the distance I’d covered, and the fight against the headwind had finished me off. I crawled up and over the top. Getting to the villiage at Corris Uchaf I knew it was quite literally all down hill from here.

Four miles later I was outside the bunkhouse, with a whisker under 5000ft of climbing in my legs….. The Tour Of Cadair Idris completed!

Ride – #144     Bike – Raleigh Airlte 100

Miles – 54.4     Total 2012 miles – 3114.7

Strava – http://app.strava.com/rides/20450524

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