According to the all-powerful Training Plan, this ride was about a week late. It didn’t matter really, I’ve not exactly been short of long rides recently but I ‘owed’ the All-Powerful Training Plan a 9 hour ride, so I dutifully packed up the Passat and took a bike and a pile of food to Ruthin for the MTB Marathon.
Even the longest route today was ‘only’ 75K, so that would tick off four hours. I made sure it was a hard four hours – I rode with Matt for a bit, rode with Dave for a bit and due to not being able to drop down into the small chainring, I utterly killed myself on the very first climb in order to stay with some friendly faces. The small chainring would see some action later in the ride but confusingly (to me), I was only able to change gear properly once the bike was well and truly covered in mud and poo.
It was properly covered in mud and poo once I’d failed to unclip and fell sideways into a bog, covering one side of my entire body with mud. You’d pay good money for that at a health spa.
Anyway, the Genius was doing its thing – climbing like a billy goat and descending at speeds that I don’t normally do on mountain bikes while I was concentrating on being efficient, eating properly and generally looking dead cool. It was going well I thought – I knew I was approaching proper racing weight (not easy when you’re 40-odd and you work in an office with a load of serial cake shoppers) and I also knew I’d been putting in the effort for the past few weeks.
Anyway, a very steep and hilly 4 hours and a couple of feed station stops later I finished, ages behind Nick Craig but 14th overall which wasn’t too bad. A quick coffee, a change of jersey and a bit of route advice from a local and I was on my way along the road to Llandegla. I left the car in Ruthin and I reckoned I could ride to ‘Degla, get a couple of laps in and then ride back.
The ride there was a grind up the Nant Y Garth pass into a headwind but it took less than an hour. Café was still open, but cos I’m a focussed individual at the moment I rode past it and straight up the first climb to start a lap of the black route.
I love Llandegla. It gets crowded at weekends and there seems to be a lot that go there that can’t help dropping litter all over the place but the trails are ace and it’s just down the road. Sort of.
After the black I just had time to go round the blue trail, which is waaay more awesome than it sounds. Saw John and Tom in the Exposure Lights van just as I was leaving – we had a quick chat then I enjoyed a quicker ride back to Ruthin to the car.
Total ride time – 8 hours 10 minutes. Doh!