I LOVE Road Trips

SGL, August 2014.

My final pre-CCC training block was three days in Wales, 8th – 10th August: a three day odyssey (see map below) – epic rides linked by epic drives!  Just what a road trip should be…  Wales has always provided the backdrop for my final training ahead of a big event: the roads are deserted, the climbs hard and scenery beautiful.  For me, it’s the training equivalent of ‘coming home’ and ‘comfort food’, mixed together!

All in, I drove 980 km, rode 520 km and climbed 9,500 m.

Day One (click on the photo to view it and then use your Back button to shrink it back): Bala – Machynlleth – Barmouth – Bala: 182 km, 3,072 m and a major landslide!

Lake Bala.  And a bike...

Lake Bala. And a bike…

 

Would be a lovely place to live!

Would be a lovely place to live!

Looking down to the start of Bwlch y Groes

Looking down to the start of Bwlch y Groes

 

Bwlch y Groes - hardest climb in the UK?  Quite Possibly.

Bwlch y Groes – hardest climb in the UK? Quite Possibly.

 

From the top of Mach Mountain, looking north.

From the top of Mach Mountain, looking north.

Best coastal road in Wales?

Best coastal road in Wales?

Barmouth from the Towyn Coast Road.

Barmouth from the Towyn Coast Road.

Barmouth Bridge - always a treat to ride across this!

Barmouth Bridge – always a treat to ride across this!

Some pics from Day 2: The Devil’s Staircase:  174 km, 3,518 m and quite possibly the hardest ride I’ve ever done in the UK (SO much steep climbing and uber remote).

Ystwyth Valley on the Elan Mountain Road

Ystwyth Valley on the Elan Mountain Road

On the way to the Devil's Staircase and feeling nervous!

On the way to the Devil’s Staircase and feeling nervous!

Just in case the 25 - 30% wall in front of you wasn't obvious...

Just in case the 25 – 30% wall in front of you wasn’t obvious…

The rewards: roads and views to die for.

The rewards: roads and views to die for.

The section between Beulah and Tregaron: 80 km long, 2,000 m of climbing and no food or water stops - because NO ONE lives here. Unsupported and solo = bonk material.

The section between Beulah and Tregaron: 80 km long, 2,000 m of climbing and no food or water stops – because NO ONE lives there. Unsupported and solo = bonk material.

 

But with roads like this (and the odd timer lorry), who cares…?

But with roads like this (and the odd timber lorry), who cares…?

My Welsh Odyseey 2014: crazy long days, great drives on quiet roads and riding as good as anywhere in the world.  Wales, you rock.

My Welsh Odyseey 2014: crazy long days, great drives on quiet roads and riding as good as anywhere in the world. Wales, you rock.

And then there was Day 3: N.O.G.A.R.D. (also known as the Dragon Ride, reversed): 164 km, 3.200 m.

Brecon Beacons from Bwlch Cerrig summit: Hurricane Bertha is looming out west.

Brecon Beacons from Bwlch Cerrig summit: Hurricane Bertha is looming out west.

Brecons + Bertha = dark and moody in the mountains.

Brecons + Bertha = dark and moody in the mountains.

Romans must have made this one.

Romans must have made this one.

 

Yes, that really is a road in the UK: Bwlch from Cymer.  Awesome.

Yes, that really is a road in the UK: Bwlch from Cymer. Awesome.

 

Looking north from the top of Rhigos: NOGARD almost finished: just Sarn Helen to go.

Looking north from the top of Rhigos: NOGARD almost finished: just Sarn Helen to go.