Llanberis 2011

I'm a weekend behind here but I need to blog about the Weaver Valley Cycling Club Training Weekend to Llanberis, Wales last weekend.

It is an annual event for the club, renowned being a tough weekend as it punches in 200 hilly miles into the legs before the start of the season. Such is the quality of the weekend that the club sees a handful of riders from other clubs getting involved too.

Now I'm nowhere near the talent of the riders who signed up (we had around 50 riders at the top end of the club taking part) so I decided to ride half way (to Ruthin) on each day, which would add up to around 90 miles, and then help out where I could in the support vans.

We set off from a grey, drizzly Moss Farm in Northwich at 8am and arrived at Ruthin at 11am. Well I arrived at 11.30 as me and 6 others got lost on the way, taking a 10 mile detour over a number of sharp hills into Ruthin which tested the legs. Everyone set off from Ruthin and arrived in Llanberis for around 3pm-4pm.

The scenery was incredible. Climbing over Denbigh moors into Betws-y-Coed and finishing at Llanberis. It was just totally, totally beautiful. I watched as a good friend of mine Kris Zentek climbed up the pass, and although I knew it was tough going, his eyes and smile told another story. He was loving every minute.

I felt upset not to be riding amongst the bunch, I knew I couldn't have done it and kept up. I wished I had lost more weight and fit enough to ride at the pace being set to enjoy the ride. However I was determind to get involved the next day. I needed to ride this route and be amongst the scenery.

We stayed at The Legacy Royal Victoria Hotel, at the bottom of Mount Snowdon, which for the £40 paid which included a 3 course meal and breakfast was a bargain. (By the way, thanks to Kris, Jules, Elaine, Eleanor and Kev really enjoyed the company at the meal on Saturday).

The following day we set off from Llanberis at 9am. Taking in the Llanberis Pass within the first 10 miles. For me I've never climbed such a long steep climb before, thankfully I made it to the top without stopping.

After the decent we climbed out of Betws-y-Coed, this again, although not a steep climb was another good 30-40 minutes of climbing and I lost touch with the group. Although I was riding on my own I found myself, for the first time, enjoying climbing. Sitting comfortably on the saddle and spinning my way up. I battled on afterwards along the A5 but the long, straight road on my own took it's toll and fearing I was too far behind jumped into the van for the last 5 miles through the forest.

It was a great weekend. It has given me something big to aim for next year. One thing is for sure I have nothing but respect for the riders that did both days back to back (which was all but 3 of us). The pace that they tackled the distance and the climbs was incredible. You wouldn't be wrong in thinking that on the way back, that perhaps the pace would be kinder on the legs but I won't forget the moment sitting in the van, a 150 miles in near to Chester, and a group of 10 riders in front of us were racing with each other doing 30-40 miles an hour. Awesome.

You can see the route taken here. Eleanor from the club has also written a blog here.

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