Welsh Climbs in Winter

Cycling in Wales

On my drive across Wales the radio presenter was suggesting anyone planning any sort of outdoor activity today to turn around, and having just defrosted my car I can see where he was coming from. The sun was rising over the Welsh coast with the sea eerily still as I made my way to Llanberis. With a 40 mile route planned, I was joining RAF Cycling as they come to the end of their training camp. I’d never previously been on a group training ride before, so didnt really know what to expect, just that tactical layers suitable for climbing and descending were necessary.

Going out in sub-zero temperature with Raynaud’s Syndrome playing up is always going to be emotional, but I knew once we got to some Welsh climbs my body would soon start generating some heat. Pen-Y-Pass more than delivered on that front and was a climb I weirdly enjoyed. I suppose its easier to climb when theres so much scenery to look at. I’d love to say I got photos to show you, but with it being a training ride I thought it was best to leave my camera at home…ha.

The climb meant a long descent to follow, which I was rubbish at. I felt like a snail. I just couldn’t pick up speed at all, but I was still on a high from the climb.

I can’t actually remember much of the route in between the two climbs. I was in my own little world for most of it I think. The last time I did a ride non-stop like this was Belgium and we all know how that went. So I guess I was wondering how my body was going to react and if my energy levels would drop.

A topic that kept cropping up in conversation was the last climb of the ride. It sounded interesting, but it just depended whether my legs were dead by that point. Once the climbing started I knew it would end up being a case of mind over matter. Once I let my mind give in that would be it.

Was I going the right way? Just keep pedalling.

Would I be able to descend, or was it too icy? Just keep pedalling.

‘Garmin going into power saving mode.’ Please don’t do this to me now.

It’s funny how precious you get about your Garmin when you’re three-quarters of the way up a climb you’ve buried yourself to get to the top of. I’m so close to the top, yet there I am battling to get my glove back on whilst still riding after making sure my Garmin didn’t die on me! I don’t recommend trying to get a glove back on at the top of a long climb…ha!

Eventually my wheels got to the summit of the reservoir climb and dropped to rest my head on my handlebars. Where the hell Ryan found that climb I don’t know. I had no idea where I was, but I’d got to the top. After doing said climb, I can possibly say it topped Sa Calobra. With no traffic on the road you can dig that little bit deeper knowing you’re not going to have to stop at all or get squeezed to the side of the road.

Don’t get me wrong cycling abroad is fab, but Wales is home for me. Most of the time I can just ride from my front door, but then I can make a short drive with minimal stress and ride somewhere like Snowdonia. Maybe I’ll be riding the distance there soon, who knows. Baby steps.