Should we turn around?

A catch up with Ellen was long overdue and we decided to meet at the rather amazing cafe by the reservoir at Llyn Brenig. However I did get an intense feeling of guilt when I couldn’t reply to the lady working behind the till in Welsh…she did speak English too thankfully, but can I even call myself Welsh if I can’t speak a word of the language…ha!

Breakfast butties on the way and hot chocolates in tow, we chatted away as us girls always do.

Ryan had gone off to clock up some miles on his road bike near the reservoir, so Ellen & I went for what I thought would be a quick wander round the reservoir.

How on earth did I manage to forget how big the reservoir was?

We just kept walking…and walking…and walking, up to the point where Ellen mentioned we turn back. But I thought it would be a good idea to carry on. We kept on walking but were slowly questioning whether we where walking round in circles.

Wandering along the path there were so many pre-cut Christmas trees around, which was rather random. They’d been cut down but not taken home to be covered in tinsel and fairy light. Such a waste…ha! The temptation to take on home was so big!

9 miles later I felt incredibly guilty for making Ryan wait for so long, as he’d only been out for 2 hours…we’d been 3. Not to mention the fact Ellen hadn’t got the comfiest of shoes either!

It was good to get away from the chaos that seems to unfold at Christmas though. No busy supermarkets or to-do lists to tick off. Just spending time with friends like Christmas should be.

Welsh Champs 2017: Llyn Brenig

Photo Credit: Welsh Cycling


For some bizarre reason I decided to enter a 20 mile Welsh Champs TT race. It was near Llyn Brenig, which is one of my favourite places thanks to Rally GB. It also involved some hills, which I apparently like going up at the minute.

On my recce ride last week it was blue skies, barely any wind, you could almost say it was a perfect day for Wales. Good enough for lots of photos! I fell in love with the route and couldn’t wait to race it.

From the photo-shoot with Ryan



The elation of surving a hard 20 miles!


Race day on the other hand had completely different circumstances. Rain. Wind. Just typical North Wales conditions really.

Brilliant. 

I got there before sign on was even suppose to open and I had no idea why. I couldn’t really warm up so there was nothing else I could do apart from wait for my start time. 

I thought I’d be fine in just a jersey, but decided to opt for a jacket instead last minute. Que rushed number swap from jersey to jacket…I may have pricked my fingers with the safety pins a few times!

I got to the start, then realised my Clif Energy blocks were still in the car.

Then to start I had a massive hill my legs just didn’t want to go up.

Becky, who rides for the Army, was so lovely! She went onto get 2nd so she had a mega ride!


It wasn’t exactly going as well as I’d planned. All of the other girls passed me not far off the start line and I felt like a bit of a numpty.

Why on earth did I think I’d be able to do this race?

My fitness was lower than it could be, certainly lower than it use to be. 

The further around I got, the more frustrated with myself I got.

Gosh I sound dramatic…ha!

Whilst I was trying to get use to tri bars, I had no idea if I was holding up any of the guys behind me. Before starting I joked the now National Champ would probably overtake me, and towards the end I was starting to think he would, despite starting half an hour after me. I tried to sprint up the final hill to the finish line, but my legs were having none of it. 

I crossed the finish line and my legs just burnt out.

I enjoyed pushing myself, but felt I could have given it more than I did. 

I loved being able to descend and lean into the corners dotted around the Evo Triangle, even if I was battling with the wind.

How cool are these for race numbers though?


Thanks to Welsh Cycling and everyone else who was involved in organising such a great event. Everyone was so lovely, racers and organisers, despite a complete rookie turning up…ha! Coming from downhill where I’d get moaned at a fair bit for holding guys up on the trail, it was good not to get it in TT’s too. 

Also a big thanks to my brother for driving me there. I don’t think I would have been in any fit state to drive home after it otherwise. Apparently I looked white as a ghost after finishing, so we headed to the Llyn Brenig cafe for breakfast before heading home. Racer’s diet all the way…

Does anyone else when they have an all day breakfast make a bacon toastie with the bacon and toast? Nope, probably just me…ha!

Now into hill climb season…yikes!

Why so slow Lucy? Why so slow?


No Place Better…

I tend to have those place that, despite not being all that technical, I still want to go and ride my mountain bike there. After visiting Llyn Brenig and the Alwen reservoirs multiple times for Wales Rally GB, they have been on my list for a rather long time. Arriving without a yellow helicopter dodging trees and rally cars doing the same, it felt rather quiet! Granted there were still plenty of people around, just not as many as when the WRC spectators pay the reservoir a visit.

I wasn’t expecting the routes to be anything near what I’ve ridden in the past. I was only expecting fire roads really, but I just wanted to see more of the place after only being able to see minimal parts of it at the rally. We started off on the fire road that goes around Llyn Brenig. I was happy just being in the Welsh countryside on my mountain bike. No pressure to go a certain speed or ride a certain way, just being out in the sunshine.

Opening and closing the multiple gates, we found ourselves at a junction of trails. Back to the Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre or to the Alwen Reservoir. After a climb that was a lot tougher that it looked, I was so close to saying let’s just head back, but with the sun out what better place is there to be? We’d only get home sooner to do well….not a lot! Me and my brother don’t get out on the bikes together much, so we may as well make the most of the rare occasion of us both having free weekends to ride our bikes.


Going round¬†Alwen was something I didn’t regret either, as it was definitely closer to single track than Llyn Brenig. We were riding in and out of the forest too, which gave us a break from having the sun warming our backs. The trails were so quiet apart from a few walkers and young families out riding bikes. We couldn’t go particularly fast because of this, but it meant we could fully take in all of the amazing views around us. Those amazing views also meant taking lots of photos, which my brother wasn’t too pleased about ha!

In some sections the trees were that big we could have mistaken ourselves for being in Canada or somewhere in the Alps.

 
“As amazing as the Alps in the snow are, nothing quite beats Wales in the Spring”

 
Riding across the bridge over the pitch black Alwen, I somehow had to put all my faith in a bridge that was no doubt quite old…

Riding over the moorlands and coming to realise just how big the reservoirs were.

It was refreshing to see somewhere new and make the most of this sunny weekend.