Trail Running and Labradors

I was suppose to be meeting Ffion at Llandegla, but after waking up with a sore upper body after going a little too hard in the gym, for some reason I thought I’d go running at Llandegla instead. I don’t get to see/walk Jenson much these days, so I brought him along too.

We parked up in Llandegla and went to see where the running trails started. It felt weird seeing the #GirlsAtLlandegla posters up! I can’t wait to see everyone riding the trails!

I eventually found the start of the running trails and could let Jenson off the lead. His tail was up and wagging. He loves it in the forest and I’m pretty sure it’s because of all the muddy puddles.

I’ve not been running for a while and it felt good to do it again really. It’s just simple. Chuck your running trainers in the car (possibly a dog too if there’s one available) and find a forest to go and run around.

I desperately wanted to go and ride my mountain bike, but the downpours forecast on the weather didn’t fill me with confidence.

There’s two 10km running trails at Llandegla, the red or the blue. As much as I’d like to think I could get round the red, the vertical inclines up a boggy bank that the red entailed meant I’d leave it for another day. The blue was enough really. There were plenty of hills for me and Jenson to get up to get my glutes burning…and that they did!

I’m not going to be the ‘hero’ and say I ran all the way round. I had to have a few breaks and I couldn’t not take a few photos right?

When the running trails went away from the mountain bike ones, the forest was so quiet. Seeing all of the mountain bikers ride past with mud splattered faces, part of me did feel a little jealous. But I couldn’t have brought Jenson if I was mountain biking.

On one part where the running trail runs near the start of the long climb on the red MTB trail, I just assumed Jenson had followed a scent into the bushes.

“Oh hello”

He decided to go and say hello to the mountain bikers…

Thankfully they were happy mountain bikers and didn’t bother too much! Ha!

Once Jenson and I had got back to the car park and had past the 10km finish post I just wandered back to the car.

Only the have a young shredder racing through the car park with his Dad and the BIGGEST grin on his muddy face. You could tell he had love every second of being out on his bike.

Next thing his Dad is saying close to their van…

“Ready…ready…go!”

And they skid round the corner to their van in sync. The young lad must have been about 5 years old. 5 years old and he was skidding in sync with his Dad.

That is what cycling is about…having the BIGGEST grin on your face.

I mentioned about the posters for Girls At Llandegla and I thought I’d post the links again here in case you’ve lost them! So…

Click here for the blog post!

Click here to book on!

Girls, Gossip and Bikes

When you’re a child you always want to be older, but as an adult you’ll often want to be a child again. Keeping in contact with friends was so much simpler back then, but as an adult there’s always something on the to-do list.

With some time off over Christmas I’ve thankfully been able to catch up with friends I’ve not seen for so long! Including Ffion who I’ve been up to Llandegla with today. With both of us having assignments to be handed in, catching up with each other hasn’t been that easy. Yet today both of us has some time to go and ride round Llandegla. We could have maybe gone somewhere a bit different as I ride there so much, but my confidence on the bike lately isn’t great!

Parking up at Llandegla I’d made sure to wrap up warm, although with the 10 degrees temperatures it turned out I didn’t need to. We pedalled our way to the top with conversation in full flow.

Going round the two berms right at the top of the forest we knew we’d both want to stop to take some photos of the view. With even more logging taking place at the top of the forest, it made way for being able to see fog sitting at the bottom of the valley. With all the times I’ve been to Llandegla, I’ve never seen anything similar happen.

With the start of the black closed off we followed the red round, whilst I was forever in the wrong gear. I’ve somehow still not got use to having two chain rings as opposed to 3, or I’m just more familiar with road bike gearing these days…

The forest was rather quiet, so we didn’t see too many people out on the trails, which helped make it a really relaxed ride. We stopped a few times, then quickly started pedalling again after realising we’d been chatting for 20 minutes.

Rolling back down to the trail centre I washed my bike down whilst Ffion tried out the Freeride. I don’t think me or my bike would have coped with that…ha! However, thanks to a revamped section at the top of the red I did actually manage to get my bike off the ground…I think!

With a piece of doorstop toast & cheese on top and an americano (although I was torn between the toast or a cake!), we both refuelled before heading home. I also had a quick chat with the guys at Llandegla about next year’s event ‘Girls at Llandegla‘, which I’m super excited about now! It’s registered with Help For Heroes now, I just need to make a few adjustments to the poster and I can fully get to work on organising it after everyone’s had a great Christmas & New Year.

Maybe you know someone with a New Year’s Resolution of trying a new sport or exercising more…why not bring them to ‘Girls At Llandegla’?

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.

Christmas Cards & All the Trimmings

It was a lazy start to the morning. I woke up, but instead of getting ready straight away I went downstairs to grab a coffee and some Weetabix (because this girl is rather fond of some Weetabix in the morning) and hopped back into bed to write some Christmas cards. Catching up on Made In Chelsea as well of course!

However, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be a fan of the big MiC. There’s always a drama and they just seem to go round in circles rather than resolve arguments about the most minuscule of things.

So, with some Christmas cards written and my tummy full of Weetabix I slowly got my things together to get out on my bike. With a million layers thanks to me being so pathetic in the cold…ha…I headed out with no real plan of where I was heading.

The hills probably weren’t the best idea yet with all of the snow refusing to melt, so I ended up following country lanes over into Cheshire instead.

Having completed assignments I wanted to get sorted before going back to work after Christmas the night before, it was so refreshing to be able to get up and ride my bike with a clear head. I can try and switch off from work, but those deadlines always seem to play on your mind until they’re done don’t they? I can actually enjoy Christmas and not feel guilty for those assignments I haven’t done yet…because they’re all done. It was a hard slog to get them done, but they’re finally sorted.

The weather was fairly pleasant actually so I thought a 20 mile ride would be a good distance to aim for. Since I’ve been spending more time sitting at my desk than exercising lately, my fitness isn’t exactly great so I’m just easing myself back into things. I could just ride along at my own pace and get my legs use to being on the bike again.

At one point in my ride I thought it was going to become quite interesting. I turn the corner and the road is completely covered in hedge cuttings. I mean it was like a carpet of hedge cuttings right across the road. Yet somehow my tyres coped and I got around my ride ok, although I did have to stop a few times to check them!

Apart from that it was a fairly relaxing ride to be honest. I pretty much used my Garmin to record the mileage as I knew the stats wouldn’t be anything amazing. Although as the sun started to come out on my way home I knew I’d made the right decision in going out in the first place. I can’t remember which cyclist it was, but they said earlier in the year that a short ride is better than no ride. And I can totally agree with them.

Now though? It’s definitely time for a brew.

Bodnant Garden

This is somewhere which I’ve wanted to go for such a long time. It’s so easy to just get absorbed into estate gardens when you walk around them. So many paths with the only decision required is which path to take next.

Either way, this is where Ryan and I spent our Sunday and the closer we got to the garden the further the sun came from behind the clouds. Some might say we lucked out really!

This little guy started to follow us round!

Performance Enhancing Pugs

I was so close to curling up on the sofa and watching a film on Sunday. I didn’t feel 100% and wasn’t sure how that would pair with a hilly road ride. There’s nothing worse than being unwell on a road ride!

However, another scorching day dragged me out of the house. I tried not to think about the long climb ahead on the route Ryan had planned. I just kept turning the pedals hoping my burning legs would quieten down soon. 

The route went from trying not to fall put of a trackstand at traffic lights to ever rising and winding country lanes, one of which I was lagging behind Ryan a bit. Suddenly out pops a Pug from the hedge a the side of the road, hopelessly trying to catch up to Ryan.

I don’t think anyone will have ever seen a Pug runs so fast. 


When she (i.e. Bella the Pug) realised her short legs couldn’t quite keep up, she came running back down the hill to me. Only to the. go and do a little excitable wee on the floor, which was thankfully not all over me as I then picked her up to stop her getting in any more trouble!

So we were out on a road ride and now with a Pug in tow…

What on earth do we do with a Pug?

I didn’t even have my bum bag with me to squeeze it into and take it home…damn!

Ha, no. Ryan went further up the hill to see if Bella had got free from her lead. I tried to calm a rather excitable Pug down, which in all fairness was not that easy! I had no idea how full of energy they were!

Ryan had no success so we went down to the houses further down the hill. Wherever this Pug had come from, with all the excitement Bella certainly needed a drink. Hearing a voice in one of the gardens we went to ask for water for the Pug, for that garden to be where Bella had actually escaped from. 

So one Pug was safely returned and it put me in such a good mood for the rest of our loop in the Welsh Hills. Somehow Ryan coped with me going on and on about how cute Bella was. My aching legs disappeared and I sprinted up the next few hills.


I was so glad Ryan convinced me I’d feel better when I was out on the bike. The ride just got more and more surreal. The views looked different and I couldn’t help myself from stopping to take it all in. World’s End was like a corridor of purple heather and on the Panorama the views went on forever. 


We got back later than expected, but it was such a funny and picturesque ride we just ended up in hysterics every time we spoke about it. 


I hope everyone had a Bank Holiday Weekend as amazing as mine. I got to spend it with such lovely people, it put me in the best mood for the week ahead. 


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?


Where did all of the trees go?

So those bikes with spongy forks and knobbly tyres do still exist. Those things called mountain bikes! With my exams out the way I can finally have my life back. 


Saturday morning was the first time I’d got out of a car at Llandegla to be hit by hot and not cold temperatures, and there was a fairly big group of us to get to the top!

A steady climb to the top was followed by a few surprised faces. The trees had gone! No longer is there a tree lined start to the descent, but instead open hillside scattered with tree stumps. With it being such a clear day, it opened up a new view from the top that was pretty special. It did mess with my head though…I couldn’t figure out which part of the trail I was on .


It was such a relaxed ride where I could catch up with everyone. There were new faces on the ride and familiar faces I had a lot of catching up to do with! I always feel guilty for not seeing them more, but nothing ever changes when I do see them! Apart from the fact one has a super cute baby, who I hope is enjoying their first Father’s Day. And the loveliest couple ever having lots of holidays planned. With one of those holidays being Whistler…I’m a little jealous!

We would sometimes spilt up to do different sections of trail, but meeting up at the cafe to have burgers meant we could re-group again. For £6.95, the BBQ is a bargain as not only is there quality meat (I’m sure there’s veggie options too!) you can pile your plate with salad. On busy weekend days, there’s less waiting for your food too. It’s a no brainer really. 


This is only a short post, but how can you not write about such a beautiful day? I could catch up with friends and my brother. It was just overall a good day and what mountain biking should be. Friends and fun times. However, Ryan’s morning ride wasn’t so stress free after breaking a spoke. Luckily it happened in Llandegla village, so I could give home a lift home!


I hope you all had a lovely weekend and didn’t get some rather dodgy tan lines like me! Including some elbow pads tan lines and a white X on my back. For the places I did remember to put sun cream on though, the Nivea Protect and Refresh sun spray worked really well. And it was only Factor 20!

Cafe’s worth stopping at this weekend…

Since being introduced to the world of road rides and cafe stops, I’ve slowly developed a list of fool-proof places to visit and refuel when out on a ride. With the weather supposedly on its way this weekend, why not visit one and let me know if you love them too! After all, a sunny ride out isn’t complete without a cafe stop!

1.T.H. Roberts Coffee Shop, Dolgellau

If you’re looking for a good breakfast to fuel your day on the bike, then this is the place to be. You get so much food!! The coffee is amazing and the hot chocolates come with all of the cream and marshmallows you could ask for. With a quirky interior and relaxed atmosphere, it will definitely be a place we revisit.

2. Ty Coffi, Bala

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The ‘Seven Gates’ route we took near Bala was definitely not a forgiving one, so finding this little gem of a coffee shop was a relief. Be warned to not let your eyes convince you into eating everything. The food was perfect, but the ride back was tough on a full stomach. Located on the high street in Bala, the multiple tables outside (and in) easily fill up, but it’s certainly worth a visit!

3. Jemoley’s, Penyffordd


If you have children to occupy (whether out on the bikes or not), this little cafe is perfect! Like with all of the cafe’s in this post, I can say the food & coffee is great. Ryan goes for the Eggs Benedict every time! The quirky part to this cafe is that it’s also a Ceramic’s Studio. They can paint anything from mugs and plates to little ornaments of animals.

4. The Old Fire Station Cafe, Malpas

On the main street in Malpas, this would be a perfect stop if you’re making your way through the Cheshire country lanes. The staff were lovely and their sausage butties and cake will be what drag me and Ryan back there. It is worth noting however that they’re closed on Sundays, so maybe pay a visit on a Saturday or mid-week ride out.

5. La Reina Tea Shop, Rhos on Sea


The most recent addition to my list, this hidden little coffee shop is a great stop if you’re cycling along the North Wales Coastal Path. Although, be warned, the many gifts and quirky house decor items in there are rather tempting to buy! With it being a little hidden, it’s great for a quiet cup of tea. If you do pay a visit, I’d recommend trying the bacon sandwiches! There’s none of these tiny pieces of bacon you get from the supermarket, but really thick medallions of it.

6. Chocks Away Diner, Hawarden


Now, warning, cheesy sentence coming your way! This was actually the first cafe me and Ryan rode out to. It’s somewhere I’d always wanted to visit, and he knew the way ha! We did take a little while to get out on the bikes together, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to keep up ha! By the photo, you might be thinking this cafe isn’t exactly like any other cafe. That’s because it isn’t. It’s on the end of a runway! You have to go past security guards (who are kind by the way!) to get to it. Located at Hawarden Airport, it’s great if you want great food and a cafe that’s a little different. It’s fairly large too, so great for group rides.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, whether bikes are involved or not. 

Running into the Irish Sea

Half 6 was rather an early time to be woken up on the Sunday morning, but Ryan had the start line of a TT to be on for his race slot at 8.45. 

I waited for the first 15 minutes while he covered the 10 mile TT course in St Asaph. The last 5 minutes were me anxiously waiting to see if he’d get a sub 20 minute finish time or not. He did…just…at 19 minutes 52 seconds. The fastest he’s ever been on the course despite the strong winds. 

Averaging 30 mph isn’t exactly an easy task I guess.

An early start did mean we still had most of the day left to fill, which we’d do cycling along the coastal path.

The sea going from a dull blue rippled by the wind to a rich emerald every time the sun popped out from behind the clouds.

Seagulls bobbing up and down on the waves or flapping like crazy against the sea breeze and getting nowhere. 

The path twisting and turning along the coast with a new view around the corner. The odd steep piece of path with the potential to catch you out if you were in the wrong gear. 

Waves crashing against the rocks. The sounds of which I could listen to all day.

The rhythmic splashing as the waves go back and to.


Countless amounts of dogs dragging their owners to every new smell they pick up with wagging tails to match. 

A main road not too far away, but we were to pre-occupied with the sight of the sea.


Taking a break in a quaint coastal tea shop, full of unique & detailed gifts you’d struggle to find anything similar anywhere else.

Nautical scarves, photo frames and little trinkets with seaside quotes on the side like,

“Love anchors the soul.”


Filling ourselves with bacon butties and pots of tea.

Not those pathetic thin pieces of bacon, but the type you’d only find in a local butchers.

A tailwind pushing us back to the point at which we started.


Only to finish by running barefoot into the crashing waves as they crawled further and further up the pebbled beach.


Sand trickling between our toes and waiting with anticipation to see how big the next wave was going to be.


Our spontaneous trip into the sea was without spare clothes and towels after all…

And we’d be silly to expect the Irish Sea to be anything but cold. 

Just doing without a care for the consequences.

Every laugh and crashing wave making any worry, no matter how small, become insignificant. 


The pebbles warm as we walked back to the car park, but sharp at times against my wet and sandy feet meaning I had a piggy back to the van.

The seaside now bustling with people compared to the ghost town it appeared to be when we’d first arrived earlier that day.