Mile munching

Training ride yesterday, Manchester – Anglesey. I’d not done this ride for a couple of years and last time I was on an MTB with slicks on it. I was looking forward to spending a long time in the saddle of the cross bike and hopefully improving on my last time.

I hardly slept the night before as I’ve been fighting an annoying cough. Not a great start. 5:30 am in the morning I was feeling pretty rough and considered more than once canning it. But I didn’t. The first couple of hours were horrible. I was riding slower than a pensioner and just couldn’t summon the energy to put the power down. I was struggling. Then I realised I couln’t shift into the smaller ring because the limit screw on the front mech was wound all the way in, and I didn’t have a screwdriver. I was frustrated but relieved too – maybe this was my excuse to call Deb for a pickup….

I managed to adjust it with the buckle on my watch strap so then I was on my way again, thoughts of quitting 30 miles into the ride banished from my mind. I stopped near Rhyl for 20 minutes. A sit down and some food should help. It did. I started to feel strong again, 4 or so hours after I set off. My headache vanished and I big-ringed it for the next 30 miles towards Conwy. I was flying now.

For 30 years I’ve been coming over here and in that time I’ve probably only seen Conwy castle through a car window, apart from maybe the odd tour around it when I was a kid. Riding a bike into Conwy (you’ve got to avoid the A55, obviously), up to and through the narrow sreets within the castle is an awesome experience, especially if you know the history. Thinking about it, this town has the lot. The sea, History with a big “H”, a proper military castle, a Telford suspension bridge and proper mountains. Perhaps we’ll live here one day.

More miles passed. I then joined the Sustrans cycle path along the coast parallel with the A55. When they built this path some joker must have tarmacced over a guinea pig because I was riding at a reasonable clip, one hand on the bars, other hand holding my water bottle and looking out to sea when BAM! I hit this weird mound of concrete, no more than 3 inches high and immediately smashed my knee and the bike into the ground. Ow ow ow!!!!! I’ve got blood pouring from my knee, I’ve taken a load of material off a pedal and my brake lever and i’ve bent my rear mech hanger. Ow!!! Me and the bike both eventually skidded to a halt, red and black stripes trailing behind us. I sat there for a couple of minutes cursing my bad luck and lack of concentration. The bent mech meant that from that point I couldn’t use any low gears – the mech would be driven into the wheel if I tried. Bah.

Eventually I’m over the Menai bridge and onto the island. The thing is, once you cross the bridge there’s just 8 miles to go, but the road to Benllech undulates and presents you with 14 sharp climbs. It’s a killer end to a ride.

116 miles and 8 hours after I set off (including 3 stops, 1 crash and a dose of manflu) and I arrive at the caravan where Deb’s waiting. So we went  to the beach and flew a kite.