…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
…no you haven’t missed one! I’m starting from the second one on the list.
A couple of days ago when I wrote about the Wonky Weather Warning I found myself faced with a list of the six highest points on Anglesey (none of which are above 220m… Met Office).
(heights are ‘above sea level’ I believe)
When I used Google Maps to tell me where the second place was I realised I have cycled this one a few times; the road doesn’t go right to the summit, but skirts past. I had this little idea to pay a visit to each area, for a little bike hill climbing; I’m used to these here hills so I wasn’t daunted in the least (actually I think I know the Llanelian one and I don’t find it particularly fun… maybe I save that one until last!)
I used Google Maps to tell me the best incline and route to get me closest to the highest point and I determined from that that there would be pretty much a constant climb, up 315ft, for two miles. I find this is a good way to compare with climbs I have done in the past; I was defeated by one climb in North Wales a few years ago which climbed some 335 ft over the course of 0.7 miles – I had my bike fully loaded with four panniers and a tent.
Here was today’s target destination (one pannier containing only two cameras – easy):
It was a beautiful spring day and I arrived at my designated start point and was looking out towards my target, but I was distracted by a beautiful sight just off to the side of the road:
You know when you’re doing something right because this sort of thing happens. I plan to head back here in a week or so to try and catch the daffodils in flower just beyond the snowdrops.
Turning my attention back to my target:
I took a swig of my water and headed off. I wasn’t in a hurry; I would just take it at my usual pace (I don’t have much of a “get up and go” about me). I turned left at Maenaddwyn and looking ahead on the road I foresaw a potential drawback; workmen erecting a telegraph pole – they were at the “offloading new one off truck” stage and a string of cables drooped down for a portion of the narrow road. Thankfully there was room for me to cycle on by without stopping.
There are certain gears I don’t like dropping down to if I can avoid it; dropping off the big chain ring for one feels like defeat (my big chain ring isn’t particularly big btw) and I was plodding along quite nicely whilst still on it (I was a bit jittery have consumed fresh coffee before I set off from home – I really shouldn’t do that because it isn’t helpful). As I approached a tight right-hand blind bend I wondered what the incline was like beyond it “should I drop down a gear in preparation?” I wondered, “nope, not just yet.” But I did have to give in eventually.
I didn’t make it to the highest point by road without stopping though. You see, I mean if you refer back to the map above you will see a lake marked on it (actually two but ignore the smaller one – it just looks like the field has flooded a little with all the rain we’ve had). This lake I know to be a particularly beautiful sight and it has nice memories for me because when I first moved to Anglesey I visited this lake once or twice with my late dad, to do some fishing – although I’m not sure we can really call it fishing since we never caught anything, but I have fond memories of these quiet father-son times; I think I was just the only son of his that didn’t get bored of sitting in a deckchair for a few hours, staring at the patch of lake where the other end of the fishing rod hovered over; pointing to a little orange float thingy that’s supposed to dip down to tell you your bate has just been gobbled… I had to stop, therefore, on this occasion, to take a picture:
Nice huh? Sadly the few ducks that were on the lake were camera-shy and kept to the edges.
I then set back off for the final stretch to the highest point a short distance away, except I passed the turning; it was less of a road than the nice smooth tarmac I was on and so I elected to follow the route I am familiar with, following the road round to the right instead of the left. I had noted my set off time, and discounting the length of time I was stopped at the lake I think the two mile ~315 ft ascent took me close to 10 minutes (a little quicker than Googles proposed 16 minutes).
The descent was a little more rapid, but I stopped again to take in the view (managing to do an ‘endo’ by grabbing my front brake a little too eagerly – I’ve not made my back wheel leave the ground like that for some years!)
Further on down I encountered some dozy dog walkers; one dog saw me and reacted sensibly, the owner holding that dog’s lead hadn’t seen me and wandered into the road leading the dog that way too, other dog walker sleepily said ‘bike’ when she saw me, by which time I had slowed my pace and wound my way round them. I did get a “thank you” from the lady though.
The rest of my ride home was thwart with a lack of umph and I spent the whole time wondering why that was; was my bike slowing me down, was the slight head-breeze heavier than I was perceiving; was I still recovering from my recent blood donation, was I ill-fueled, does my body not generate adrenaline any more?… I saw a pair of cyclists ahead and decided to use those as some motivation to up my pace but my body wasn’t having it; I seemed to make a little progress on the first cyclist as we were heading up hills, but naturally his lead opened up as he began to descend again before me, and seeing this didn’t help my spirits; I couldn’t keep my pace up then on the flats to make any headway. Eventually they turned off somewhere and I was left to potter home under my own steam (steam being a gross exaggeration)… but overall the event had been blessed with some beautiful sights and I now need to plan my next one!