Setting off at first light heading into the mountains with my best mate Dave was the perfect start to my last day. With the sun rising in the sky we started our ascent up into the Black Mountains. Dave knows this route well, so it was nice to not worry about navigation as much and just concentrate on the conversation.
Some lovely riding together, I was very sad when we got to his turn-around point. I has a really big day ahead of me to make it to Cardiff, he had to return home back over the mountains.
I had a lovely stop in Usk, where I chatted with a fellow long distance cyclist and met up with my uncle Charles, who had picked the perfect spot for lunch. I miss you British pubs!
Aiming for Cardiff by dark, my afternoon was spent making miles and enjoying the ride.
It's been a while since I visited Cardiff, the city where I spent a 10-year chunk of my life. Some mixed feelings, but mostly excited to see my (other) best friend Claire... and her shower!
Having loved ones waiting beside the road bearing a sign with your name on it may be one of the greatest honours bestowed. I can't wait for you to come and visit us!
Last night Simon showed me the current OS offering by helping me plan my route for today, on the Sustrans National Cycle Network. The mostly paved quiet country lanes made for good progress across the rolling Welsh countryside. Lovely riding and I met many interesting people along the way.
At a pub at Newbridge on Wye I discovered that I had lost my wallet. Gutting!
My four day route is one-way and I didn't have any time to waste, so I phoned the post office where I last used it and emailed Don, a friend I had made along the way and hoped for the best, figuring I would cancel the cards by the end of the day.
Thankfully ApplePay exists and I was at least able to pay for my beer with my phone.
A long story made short and I had my wallet back within 24 hours! Another cyclist had "run it over" and because my phone number was not in the wallet (an omission to be corrected!) some detective work was required. My good Samaritans employed the power of the web (Google search) to make contact with my family using the contents of my wallet (thankfully I had a business card from a hotel down the road from my parent's house). Thank you to the multiple people involved in getting my wallet back safely!!! An added bonus to the wallet incident was that I got to spend some extra time with my sister, because she drove out of her way to pick it up and bring it to me. Thanks Ruth!
Made it to my friend's place before dark: very happy and VERY tired!
Going over the Aquaduct again was such a treat! I was so lucky to be there for another boat crossing. The sun was out and there were many boats out on the water, big smiles all around 🙂
Very thankful for Simon's local knowledge, because of him I had a lovely day riding along the canals... flat all day. What a great way to see a slice of history, and very pleasant riding. The complete opposite day to the one before, which was greatly needed.
I had a lovely roast at the family-run Bradford Arms Hotel in Llanymynech which I highly recommend.
The train journey up to North Wales passed by quickly and event free, as my mind ran through final logistics and mental checklists. A fry-up in Prestatyn made for a good start 🙂
It was lovely to get a photo under the sign again, nearly ten years after ending there on foot on my Offa's Dyke walk. I knew biking it for my second time on trail was a lofty goal, but you have to dream big!
BRUTAL climb out of Prestatyn on slick rock. Some nice views over the coast, until the clouds came in. This is the North Wales I remember!
After "iron-manning" it up the steep/wet/slick trail clearly designed for feet, through fog and up and over so so many stiles and kissing gates I was happy to get to the top and start descending (on my "mountain bike"). Big mistake, I skidded and came off the trail and my bike almost immediately.
Taking shelter under a tree I decided that a bike was not the right tool for the job. Wet, muddy and with sore arms (from repeatedly lifting my bike) I took shelter under a tree and consulted my map for an alternate route.
I ended up taking quite country roads to my hotel in Llangollen. The day had taken its toll on body and ego! A pub dinner, shower and comfy bed helped.
Logging roads quieter than expected. Nice area around McCreight, Pye and Stella Lakes and really nice to hit the ocean at Elk Bay. Stretch to Campbell River mostly nice and quiet logging roads… hilly though!
As I got closer to Campbell River the thought of Fish and Chips was too much to bear! I headed to town to get fed and on the way decided that it wasn’t worth sleeping on the ground another night when I am so close to home.
I knew I would get home late, but I decided to hit the roads and push for home 🙂
VI trail section through some quiet forest roads, but windfall eventually made me turn back. Not after expending way too much energy scrambling with my bike up and under trees trying to get through it! I surprised some ATVers whilst I was having lunch amidst the rubble of trees.
I had to detour significantly and pushed hard to get to Sayward just in time for the restaurant/bar before it closed. The girl turned off the sign just as I was about to walk in and took pity on me. Very happy to eat a burger and fries and even had a quick pint while I waited. Definitely glad I decided to go for it!
I was even glad to buy a dubious looking sandwich and some snacks because due to a fuel mis-guestimation I have I ran out on day two of a four day trip! So without a way to easily heat up my dehydrated food it’s nice to be able to get a few more calories.
Decided to camp at a spot I had been to a couple years ago. I saw lots of elk… like multiple herds of elk; which was cool.