Author Topic: Lake Vyrnwy - Tuesday 4th October  (Read 982 times)

Lake Vyrnwy - Tuesday 4th October
« on: October 06, 2016, 02:28:16 pm »
It’s not about speed.  The only person you beat is yourself.

London Wales London is a 406km test of your strength of mind.  The distance you travel is not measured in miles or turns of the pedal, it’s your mental stamina that counts.

Those are the first words on the London Wales London audax website, It was with those sentiments in mind that, on Tuesday, I took on my longest ride to date.

I had abandoned a long ride in August and for reasons that I don't fully understand, that DNF hit me hard. The past two months have seen me watching motivational videos as well as reading reports and blogs. This week, I finally felt ready to have another go. Not the same route as before (that was a one way trip back home) but another slightly longer route. I would ride from home (Redditch) to Lake Vyrnwy in Wales, round the lake  and back home again. A total distance of 212 miles. I decided that I would use my Thorn, it has a rack and bag, mudguards and now it has a new front wheel with an SP dynamo and a B & M Lumotec IQ2 Luxos front light. At last I should be able to see properly in the dark.

I left home home at 4:45 on Tuesday morning in the dark and cold, as expected. The new light provided excellent illumination although maybe it could do with lifting up slightly to give me a little more distance. The current position makes descending harder in the dark. Only adjustment. I took the main road from Redditch to Droitwich and on through Tenbury Wells. I was enjoying this. It could have been a little warmer but still. On to Mortimer's Cross and to Leintwardine, food stop, through Bishop's Castle to Montgomery for tea and food.

The going was fairly slow but steady and I had in my mind that it was not about time or speed but about distance. I wanted to do the distance and how fast I did it was irrelevant.

The next section, to the Lake, was only about 25 miles but I knew that this was one of the hardest parts. The climbing starts just after Berriew with a long drag, drop down to the main road then off towards Meifod, turning off to head for Dolanog. It is now relentlessly up and down. Sometimes 2 - 3% other times 15%, sapping the energy from already tiring muscles. By the time I arrived at the Artisans Cafe at Vyrnwy my legs knew they had done some climbing and were shouting at me to stop it. Food now a top priority. Sausage sandwich and a cup of tea, drinks bottles filled up again and we are ready to go.

A quick ride around the lake, after all, that's what I came here for, and then head for home. The route back was along the B4396 to Knockin where I stopped for more food and a sleep! I hadn't realised that I was so sleepy. The early morning start and the already long day was taking it's toll. It wouldn't be the last place I had a nap either. On through Shrewsbury, that was busy with traffic, and on to Ironbridge. It was dark by now and the bridge was lit up, it looked lovely. A long slow climb now out of town heading towards Bridgenorth. The climbing was getting more laboured as my legs tired.

I missed the turning in Bridgenorth so instead of taking a B road to Bewdley I took the main A road to Kidderminster. I knew this would cut some mileage off the ride but I wasn't certain how much. I did not want to start doing loops by home just to get the miles in. From Kidderminster to Bromsgrove and on to Redditch. I reached home well after midnight. I had completed my objective.

When I mapped the route out on RideWithGPS, I made a mistake and added a loop. That, combined with taking the wrong road out of Bridgenorth, shortened the ride from the 212 miles that I expected to 203. It didn't matter, I had done the double century that I wanted.

So now that I have achieved this goal, where does that leave me? I want to ride LondonWalesLondon next year, probably as my first 400km. I know that I can ride, albeit slowly, 80% of that distance. I still have nagging doubts, I could easily have found a B&B in Ironbridge and packed up for the night. The fact that I didn't means I have found that little bit of mental stamina that I needed, that I didn't think I had and that should be a foundation for more.


  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Lake Vyrnwy - Tuesday 4th October
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2016, 06:35:53 pm »
How many points did you get?

Has never ridden RAAM
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Lake Vyrnwy - Tuesday 4th October
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2016, 10:18:33 pm »
Vyrnwy (or rather Hirnant, which you passed on the B4396 just after leaving the lake) was the target of my first long ride, a mere 84 miles from east Cheshire, as a teenager 40 years ago. We did the trip several times, because a friend's family owned the old vicarage as a holiday home. Happy memories.