10th July 2016
With it only being a couple of weeks away until we ride the Malvern Mad Hatter (101 mile ride) Andy suggested we do a long ride with a fair bit of climbing. As Lara is not doing the Malvern Mad Hatter and having also joined a cycling club, it was just Andy and myself to tackle the Bwlch and the Rhigos.
I hadn’t ridden for a couple of weeks due to illness and was a bit apprehensive about tackling two climbs within a short space of time and riding the distance. After arriving at Andy’s a little late, all the traffic lights were against me on the way, we set off.
We headed towards Llantrisant and followed the A4119 going through Talbot Green and heading towards Tonyrefail. Instead of going through Tonyrefail we turned off and headed toward Blackmill. We were now riding on roads that we hadn’t been on before and we were enjoying the ride, although it was very hard work riding into the wind.
After Blackmill we headed towards Ogmore Vale and a few short sharp hills and as usual a few close shaves with cars. One that comes to mind is being overtaken by 2 cars on the inside going round an island unbelievable. We stopped just before we got to the Bwlch as the strap on my helmet was rubbing my neck raw and I had to do a bit of emergency first aid. As we set off again Andy shouted watch out for the chickens and right there in front of me were two chickens walking down the road.
Neither of us had ever rode up the Bwlch and were looking forward to it. We had been lucky with the weather up to now and the rain had kept off but it was looking very dark overhead. As we started the climb and crossed a cattle grid we look up to see clouds rolling off the top of the Bwlch. The climb was not too steep but was long and just kept going up, about half way up was a switch back and I looked down to see if I could see Andy. I had been chasing another cyclist up the hill and managed to catch them just before the top. Once at the top the views were stunning and there were a few other cyclists already up there and I was chatting to some of these while waiting for Andy.
After having a rest on the top of the Bwlch we set off again on a long descent and what a great descent it was. After going round a switch back near the top the descent was fast and straight apart from the odd bend. After descending the Bwlch we were only riding for about 15 -20 mins before we hit the Rhigos and another climb. I decided I would try and ride a little faster up the Rhigos but started to struggle at about the three quarter mark. We decided that we would meet at the bottom of the Rhigos and not stop at the top which turned out to be a good idea.
Once we had descended the Rhigos and set off again the heavens opened, the rain was stinging and blowing straight into our faces making it hard to see. Luckily the rain didn’t last too long but enough to get us wet. The ride back was a familiar route and Andy took a lot of the lead. Our legs were now starting to hurt which wasn’t a surprise after ascending over 1300m but we continued homewards. We both enjoyed the ride although it was hard and it was a good practice run for the Malvern Mad Hatter.
With only 65 days to go until our September riding challenge from North to South Wales we have set up a couple of giving pages and if you would like to support us the pages can be accessed via the following links:
Andy is raising funds for the MS Society and his Just giving page can be accessed via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andy-Lloyd10
I (Mike) am raising funds for Mind and my Virgin Money Giving page can be accessed via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MikeShevyn
All donations to either Andy or myself are appreciated and you will be helping two very worthy causes.
Keep reading the blog to follow our adventures in the coming weeks………………………..