Monday, 2 June 2014

Cambrian Mountains & Elan Valley Bike Ride

My Welsh 3 peaks walking/cycling challenge is fast approaching, in fact only 2 weeks away now so I decided to go over to Mid Wales for a challenging bike ride. This would include the Devil’s Staircase Climb amongst others along the Abergwesyn Pass and a lovely ride along the Afon Ystwyth valley and through the Elan Valley, 70 miles and over 7,000ft of climbing in total. I took a small camera with me and captured some photos; these are not great as I took them ‘on the move’ so to speak.

Abergwesyn Pass

There may be trouble ahead! - The start of the Devil's Staircase climb.

It really was a cracking day out on the bike in a beautiful unspoilt area and in the main on quiet scenic mountain roads. I started at the Elan Valley visitor centre my route took me to Newbridge-on-Wye then Beulah; this is where the fun began as from here to Tregaron the scenery was stunning, problem is this scenery comes at a price when on the bike as the climbs were relentless one after another and not little ones either, the main climb as I have already mentioned was The Devil’s Staircase which features in Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest cycle climbs and it didn’t disappoint. Not long after the cattle grid it kicked up to a 25% climb straight up to the first hairpin legs now beginning to burn as I approached the second hairpin which turns sharply right still climbing my lungs crying out for more air and my leg muscles straining with every turn of pedals but there was no way I was getting off, the road then turned left and the gradient finally started to relent and as I passed the 25% warning sign for the descent from the opposite direction I have to admit I did give out a triumphant “yes”.

Abergwesyn Pass
Heading down to Tregaron
Lunch stop in Tregaron
I stopped for Lunch in Tregaron before continuing on, the climb up the B4343 from Pont-rhyd-y-groes to the Hafod forest was a real effort especially on already tired legs, then came a nice ride up the Afon Ystwyth valley from Cwmystwyth to where the road turns right and heads through the Elan Valley. The Elan Valley section was fantastic riding past Craig Goch I could see on the opposite bank the Lluest cwm Bach bothy which I stayed in earlier this year (details of that can be found here), This section was basically downhill all the way back to the visitor centre as I passed the dams of Craig Goch, Pen-y-Garreg & Carreg-Ddu.

Afon Ystwyth valley

Afon Ystwyth valley

Elan Valley - Craig Goch

Craig Goch with Lluest cwm Bach Bothy on far shore by the trees

Craig Goch Dam

Elan Valley
A tough yet rewarding day out on the bike, below is my Strava detail of the ride.

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