With the monsoon still clearing the country, I thought it was foolish to head to Wales, but as I had advertised the ride, I had to go. Being a motor-assisted ride, two of us drove to Monmouth, to meet the third member of the group who clearly struggled with the concept and had ridden there. A heavy shower while unpacking the car was avoided by sitting in the car, and then we set off on the hilly lanes between Monmouth and Abergavenny, stopping only for a puncture, where a very kind local came out with a track pump. We observed rain all around us, but remarkably stayed dry until the final descent into Abergavenny. More remarkably, that was the only rain of the day.
The rain soon passed and we slogged up the Tumble at our own pace, mine being significantly the slowest. In the howling gale at the top, a puncture was declared, and we got very cold while that was repaired. No need for the food stop at the “Big Pit” according to the Peloton, and after a rather hairy short descent into the wind, we turned right and continued through the old mining towns that characterise the Heads of the Valleys.What is usually a long slog from Beaufort up onto the Llangattock plateau was made significantly easier by the strong tail-wind, and the Llangynidr descent never fails to disappoint anyone, being long, largely straight and (for the uk) a good surface. By this stage, we were all running on empty, so diverted to a cafe in Crickhowell for some Welsh Rarebit.
The ride back along the Usk valley and then on to Monmouth only has minor undulations, and was ridden at a fast pace. As a consequence, we all arrived in Monmouth in need of some Amber Nectar. An enjoyable ride, shame there weren’t more takers.
The Vice Captain