A 100 miler

I can’t run at the moment thanks to my plantar fasciitis, so I decided to go for a nice long ride on Saturday instead. It was cool and cloudy out there with quite a strong NW wind, as I headed out just before 7am. I started off riding into Machynlleth and then along the north side of the Dyfi Estuary to Aberdovey, with a brief stop at the toilets in Pennal. It was then into the wind along the coast road to Tywyn and then back inland a little to Bryncrug before the lovely stretch of coast road out through Llwyngwril and down into Fairbourne.

My planned route was going to be around 80 miles, but I started hatching a plan to bump that up to 100 miles as I was feeling OK and making good progress. From Fairbourne it was a nice little ride into Dolgellau where I stopped in ‘y Sospan’ for a huge scone just out of the oven with butter and jam and a massive cup of coffee. There were a couple of other cyclists having breakfast whilst on a four day ride from bangor to Chepstow.

I didn’t sit there long though and once fed and watered hopped back on my bike ready for the climb out of Dolgellau up to Crossfoxes and then on past Cadair Idris along the Tal y Llyn pass. I still felt quite good so had convinced myself to do an extra loop later so as to make this a 100 mile ride. I descended to Tal y Llyn and had now covered around 60 miles. However, as I started the climb up to Corris my legs started cramping up. I had to eases off a little but the cramps were still there, and I couldn’t shake them whatever I did. AT least it was downhill from Corris to Machynlleth, but whenever I applied any power or span my legs to fast they would cramp up. Nothing I could do about it though other than grin and bear it as I wanted to hit that 100 mile mark.

In order to do this I had planned two circuits of the Llanwrin loop, out from Machynlleth towards Cemaes Road and then down through Llanwrin. The first loop was OK until the final little climb where the cramps were unbearable, forcing me to stop for a while for a snack. The second loop was pretty much the same, involving yet more cramps and another little stop. Except that this time I couldn’t actually get off my bike as I couldn’t swing my leg over it. Not far to go now though so the stop was brief and I started the final 14 miles back towards Ynyslas. I made it back, but my speed was falling off by now and I had to do a little double -back on myself just to add an extra mile on so as to finish just over the 100 mile mark. I’d made it, the first 100 miler of the year.

An guess what I did on Sunday? For some silly reason I did the main loop of that ride again. 50 miles this time, but with tired legs and a strong wind, it was at quite a slow pace.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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