Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Welsh Ride Thing - Day 2

The one thing about sleeping in a bothy is once one person gets up everyone else is awake. So it was quite early that we were packing up and eating our breakfast on Sunday morning.  Not that I knew the time, as my phone had died overnight!  Ali enjoyed her breakfast with her fresh pint of milk - not the most light-weight of travellers!!  I had my mashed up weetabix with powdered milk...

Over breakfast we were chatting to the lads who had also slept there, none of them were doing Monk's Trod, there were horror stories about waist deep bogs, we were wondering if we should change our route. But there didn't seem an obvious alternative without changing our whole route so we decided to give it a go. There was one minor alteration to our plan though, instead of going round a very lumpy road with an evil climb we decided to just push over the mountain on the bridleway as it was direct.

Once packed, it was ready to set off on the forest road - the visibility had improved and we could even see the wind turbines in the distance that we had ridden past the previous evening.
Coming out of the forest it was back to river crossings, some of them involved a little thought of how to get across.

Once we got over the hill, which we basically pushed up and down it was along the road to find the checkpoint, one false start at the wrong bridleway sign and we found the correct one and checked which direction it was pointing.

After coasting down the road it was time for Monks Trod. We set off, riding some pushing some. In fact it reminded me a bit of Great Hill. But only once did I go into a bog and only up to my ankle. There were some amazing views and once again Ali's amazing route planning meant we took the good line down.

Once we hit the main track again we had to make a decision, it was a 2km there and 2km back on an easy track to get the next checkpoint but it was an easy one to miss out. We were behind on our schedule and wanted to ensure we were back in time on monday. So the decision was made and Ali eventually agreed it was sensible even though she wanted to get all the points.

Then onto what should have been a familiar bit of track seeing as transwales had gone there both years! But somehow I failed to recognise the view.

However once I got stuck in the puddle it all came flooding back.

We carried on down the track to Strata Florida with an excited Ali recognising the lovely trail that she had walked along to take pictures at transwales. At Strata Floria we got our picture of the arch and headed on up the road to a trail I did remember! It has lots of lovely puddles to ride through, some deeper than others.

This is also where we encounted the most traffic on the route! It felt like hundreds of 4x4's (or trucks as Ali calls them) were coming along the trail in the opposite direction! To be fair to them they were all really courteous with some of them cheering us through the big puddles. Then onto the only cheeky part of the route as we ended up just above the next checkpoint with the only options to get down scrambling down a cliff or following a footpath. The cliff was vetoed and we went down the footpath. Finding a lovely cute bothy at the bottom.

Joining the seven splashes we headed off to the next checkpoint, a chapel at Soar Y Mynydd. Here we decided to miss our second checkpoint as it was another out and back, it was fine though as we would still get the eleven needed. I didn't remember this climb, apparently I had rode it in transwales 2008, or the amazing view that opened out in front of us.

Then we rode down some amazing singletrack through the Doethie Valley in what was now a gloriously sunny day.

This brought us to the most southerly checkpoint where we had to take a picture of a stunning view.

Then the climbing started again, our plan now was just to get as far as we could by 9pm and then find somewhere to sleep. If we came across a pub we would eat some hot food, otherwise it was a dinner of hot cross buns and chocolate cookies.

Into the forest and what should have been a fast and easy downhill on a forest road became an obstacle course with fallen trees to climb under, over or round.

Out of this and onto a technical downhill, I was impressed with us both riding it with all our kit, I must admit to some singing! Back onto the road and now it was time to try and make up some distance. A stop at some toilets in Abergwesyn to fill up the camelbaks and it was back on the road. Just before 9pm we both spotted a gravel track heading into some trees, in we went and found a nice clearing behind a fallen tree. This was to be our bedroom for the night. Soon in our bivvy bags, Ali was fast asleep before I had even finished eating, seems like the day had tired her out.

No tadpole incidents today.

56miles ridden 2399m climbed


  1. It sounds like you and Ali had a really great time,my friend! I LOVE the giddy joy on your faces when forging the puddles! :-D


  2. I need to go on an advnture that lets me right the line "just push over the mountain" :-)

    Sounds like a load of fun.

  3. Doethie is the best track ever. I was disappointed not to make it down that far - looks like you had great conditions for it though :)


  4. This ride sounds like great fun, was it an organised event?

  5. Yes it was organised by Stuart from Forest Freeride (

    There is a blog about the event here:

    We loved it, no pressure just do your own thing and the riding is fantastic!