This weekend saw me complete my longest ride. It was only be a few miles but it still makes it my longest ride with 117 miles and what a ride it was!
The route was to Bala and back, a place I’d only been once for the Wild Wales ride so it was quite nice to ride there and see a bit more of it. We went to the top of Moel Famou on the way there and then through the Denbigh moors and into Bala and back out through Corwen near Llandegla airport.
McDonalds is goals
It was a 7:30am meet and it was nice to not have to do the first 15 most monotonous miles by myself (and again on the way back) and we then headed towards the Burton marshes to put us out into Wales to start the hills, as this route did have 7500ft of climbing in it.
The first 20 miles or so were completely flat really so this gives me some time for the legs to warm up.
We had the club social the night before this ride so I did my best to not drink much, the same can’t be said for Rach but we had more than prepared for this by planning a McDonalds breakfast in Mold after about 25 miles.
This was arguably the highlight of the ride just because Hash Browns.
Some will question the quality of food, however – McDonalds boosts morale and morale, I’d say is quantifiable into watts. So McDonalds is about an extra 20 watts.
**Disclaimer: Believe it or not I am not a sports nutritionist**
It was a good place to stop and carb up before we started the real climbing because Moel Famou wasn’t far and it just continued to go more uphill.
The roads we mainly cycled on were small narrow side roads which have very few cars just lots and lots of sheep shit but these roads are great for riding two abreast without ever having to worry about traffic or anything so can purely enjoy your ride and take in the countryside.
Hills, Hills and Hills
I think we were about 15 miles from Bala and I was well and truly goosed, definitely ready for a stop for some lunch. We had a look at the route profile to see how much sort of elevation we had in these miles left to Bala and to a pleasant surprise there wasn’t actually that much and there was also a ever so slight downhill towards Bala which I was looking forward to it.
The hills throughout the ride was nothing major I’d say. There were some long climbs but they tended to be a bit more gradual with only some spikes in excess of 10%, the only thing was there was a lot of these climbs which did catch up with us.
We had done the last climb before we started to descend into Bala and it was a huge relief. I think the excitement of an easy ride to the cafe and being hungry made us ride quite quick into Bala!
We had done about 60 miles by the time we stopped for lunch and about 5500ft of climbing at this point too so we knew that most of the climbing was done which was nice to know. Here’s for an easy ride back…
Once we set off again we had a look at the lake as you can’t go to Bala and not see the lake before we headed off home.
The roads on the way out were amazing, smooth roads, gentle gradients and almost traffic free. With the weather being good you can’t ask for much more.
The elevation on the way back mainly came from undulating roads with the exception of one road completely off the beaten track. This just kept going with some nasty sharp bits too! When you think you’re at the top it kicks up again around the corner, there was a lot of flat(ish) sections in this climb but I think we were done with hills for the day but once we were at the top there were some real good views overlooking part of Wales, I’d love to tell you where abouts this was but I had no idea myself so i’ll just show you instead.
I felt rough at the start and just before our lunch stop but coming home I felt good. I was making sure I was eating and drinking plenty because if you want to “enjoy” endurance cycling in the slightest then fuelling yourself well is the key. It can make or break a ride.
When we were near Llandelga coming home I had achy legs of course but I felt quite strong and that I had a lot of miles left in me.
You hit a point in a long ride where you feel almost unstoppable and you can keep on going, probably running on euphoria and I think that’s what got me home.
Long rides like this is mainly just mental strength and a positive mind. Even more so when you have a creak on every single bloody pedal stroke. It was close to driving me insane and I don’t know what’s causing it…here’s hoping it’ll go soon.
Cycling just never fails to amaze me.