First up. Just want to say my hosts at The Old Wheelwrights B&B last night were great. Awesome place. Its primarily a tearoom and a chair making workshop and a couple of rooms they do B&B when they can. I was the only one there and they looked after me. Leant me a USB lead to charge my Garmin. Took me in the Jag to the pub and we sat and had a chat and chauffered me back. I had a decent nights sleep and I was treated to a great breakfast. Filter Coffee, full english, loads of toast.
Andy and Annie. Look them up if you’re ever out that way.
I was stuffed when I left about 10.30am. The first few miles were gently rolling before I hit my first hill which set the tone for the rest of the day. First gear. Long, Steep. Slow. Baked with the sun on my back. Legs were good though after a spin for the first few miles got rid of some soreness but been stuffed from breakfast was repeating on me a bit.
I was rewarded with a great descent into Bishops Castle but the speckled sun shining through the tree cover hid the potholes which tempered my speed a bit so I could pick my lines. The snow has clearly damaged a lot of lanes. I had to stop to adjust one of my panniers that was rattling just outside town. The sweat was peeing out of me. Hydration was going to be key. Now Bishops Castle is lovely but the High St kicks up to some ridiculous gradient before a left onto a waymarked cycle route and the next climb of Moat Hill began. Its here I noticed that a lot of houses just have their doors open. The B&B owners were reluctant to lock up when we left for the pub last night. Its a different world. The roads are SO quiet. The descent was a bit dicey. More potholes hidden in the speckled shade. I got back on a B road to Montgomery and finally entered Wales!
Note: Men. If you need to take a pee make sure you turn the bars left, aim at approx 45 degs right and end with some force to reduce drippage. Don’t admire the view like I did and piss on your drops and dribble on your shoes. Take note.
Got lost briefly in Montgomery. Another village with a square. My Garmin tried to take me up some unridably steep track off the square. A quick stop to check my OS maps app and realised it was just a shortcut but I could get round the back another way so I went that way and the road kicked up again. As I crested the top I looked back and realised I’d missed Montgomery Castle off to the right. I couldn’t be arsed to go back and get a pic. Another great descent on, for once, on excellent tarmac chasing white van man.
I dropped onto my first A road in ages. The A483 is a trunk road but still quiet by my our standards. Onto B roads again and then the next climb round the back of Newtown. More first gear madness. Low and slow. Its what touring is. Just as hard but slower. I descended into Newtown and saw someone wandering in the road. Some young chap. He wandered back to the left and then at the last minute walked back out into the road and saw me. Shit himself and shouted ‘Oh fuck!’ as I sped past. I was sure he saw me 200m before but obviously not. Newtown was Carmageddon again. Rammed. I had to do a bit more of the A483 before I turned off and headed back into the hills again. Wasn’t long before first gear was engaged. First hill, second hill, third hill. All steeper and longer after each other. Pretty brutal with the sun baking me like a cake from the left. More route confusion at the top. I’d accidentally routed myself down some field track. More OS Maps backup and I found an alternative down passing another tourist panniered up twiddling back up the other way. Its what we do! I was craving something cold and sharp now and my bottles were getting low.
I had to retrace on the A470 briefly. Got back on track and hit the lanes again with more climbing before dropping into Llandidloes for a restbite. Found a garage. Bought a Pepsi and some water. No here’s a thing. I pull off the forecourt and wait to turn right. A guy reverses right across me hugging the kerb, stops just to the right and then waves his hands like he’s asking me what I’m doing? I just stared at him until he just sped round to my left onto the forecourt. Moron. The garage had no sandwiches so I scooted round town and settled on the Spar where I got a dodgy Chicken & Stuffing sarnie. I bagged it for later and set off on the last leg of today. The gradient out of town was easy then a right and it kicked up. Nothing new here. First gear again but the heat was relentless. So was the road. I was heading for Llyn Clywedog and when I saw the dam it made me stop. Looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. I carried on. Crested a hill. I was expecting the descent here but I saw the road out of the valley and my heart sank. I think the heat, the number of hills and the gradient got to me. To add insult I had to stop on the way down and open a gate before I hit the hill. At one point I was thinking now is the time I need men running alongside me in mankini’s pouring cold water over me. Fuck that would have been good at that moment. And then another steep descent and I was there lakeside. I stopped for a break. Not too long though. Ate my sandwich, drank my water and carried on. I’m no good if I stop for too long.
I was tired now with the biggest hill of the day still to do Machynlleth mountain. I was taking it from the easy side but it was pretty relentless (again). To top it I had a harsh headwind now and it was quite cool so I must have been pretty high. It starts pretty steady then ramps up like a mofo into no-mans land. Its pretty barren up there. And then I was treated to probably the best UK descent I’ve ever done. Carpet-like, pristine tarmac with open, wide sweeping bends allowed me to just let go and enjoy it. The whole descent lasts for miles with the odd short uphill to deal with. Awesome road and a fitting end to the ride. I was stacked. I reached Machynlleth and by chance the B&B was just on the right.
Showered. I had a walk into town and treated myself to award winning chips and a couple of beers.
Longer and steeper tomorrow. Should be cooler though which will help