Thursday, 28 July 2016

A bit of a catch-up - no major words, just happy pics

Thursday rides are still happily plodding along, Jenny has done a great job of taking up the leading role. Now I can just flounce up and take photos of smiling riders. 

Wonderful Bruce organised an evening tour of Avebury (on foot this time), with a tour guide friend. It was magical. Tales of Pagans, excavations, pub ghosts and the theories behind the stones. I think they all look like faces. Although this one also has a rabbit, hidden away unless you are lucky enough to see his form in the evening sunlight.

Can you see him?

It was a warm sunlit evening, which became moonlit as the night set in under clear skies. A perfect way to decompress after being thrown back into work that morning. Everything else seemed so far away.

Steve and I finally got a weekend away as a couple, for a mini break, no hassle, no racing, no major plans, just a late Friday escape into Wales in the van. Van life. It's total freedom! With a rough sketch of a route on the Garmin, we rode Saturday. 30 miles, with a hilly start on rarely trodden bridleways to the West Wales coastline, and an easy trundle back along the river valley cycle route. 

Ponies getting gusted around in the wind, too shy to come over for biscuit treats.

Hardtail friendly double track made some of the miles easy work. Other miles not so easy, with slow gains through scrub, mud pits and numerous gates to negotiate.

Gotta love these friendly beasts. So shy and yet so curious.

Tough grassy climbs and rolling descents along the coastline were the highlight of the ride.

Low lying trees, in some areas blown almost 90 degrees from upright through the constant rough westerlies, or forming arches over the bridleway.

Hardtail love. The route turned out to be perfect for a bike and bivvy ride, and is likely to be incorporated into something larger in future.


Sunday we milled around, the weather having turned a little for the worse. The dolphins at New Quay didn't care, and it was a real blessing to see them in the wild, dorsal fins popping above the water like a scene from a wildlife documentary. If only they were close enough to successfully photograph.

There was still beach time, despite the weather. I got drenched by the unpredictable swell, as the salt water soaked the bramble wounds from yesterday's ride.

The bikes came out again at Aberystwyth, for a trundle into town for coffee, through the park and along the promenade.

Selfie timer shot, whilst being battered by the gales and feeling like British Summer had returned to situation normal. We still had a good time, whatever the weather.

With the month of July ticking away, I left it rather late to continue the the audax AAARTY challenge. Luckily an early home-time allowed me to squeeze in a small hilly 50 loop on Monday, with time for the off-road finish, climbing to 420 meters on Worcestershire Beacon. The skies were amazing, with storms and sunshine forming rainbows over the Severn Valley.