Its been a month since I posted on here! That’s not good, but all it means is I’ve been busy. Unfortunately I haven’t been nearly busy enough riding bikes as I’ve been training to run a half marathon. I know!
Guiding duties for MB Swindon at the weekend around the ever amazing (for many reasons) Blaenavon… So here’s the write up I did for the club website:
For some bizarre reason people started to turn up just after 9am for a 10am ride. Its possible it had something to do with them camping in the Brecon Beacons the night before and being up early but I’d like to think they were equally as eager to get on the ride. Continue reading “Return to the Iron Mountain”
Its been a few weeks since I posted a new blog, mainly cos its been pretty quiet and I haven’t done anything, lets say “blogworthy”. Is that a word? It is now…
Anyway at the weekend I rode a little over 100km off road in two sizeable rides. Ride #1 was a bit of an off the grid affair that I will hopefully be able to tell you about sometime soon. But ride #2 was not so hush hush and that’s what I’ll talk about today.
The Fully Ponty
If you drop by here often enough you’ll know I ride with MB Swindon regularly and also host rides from time to time. This was a re-run and super-sizing of a ride I did a few years ago called The Ponds The Pit and The PunchBowl. In that ride we rode around the World Heritage Site and industrial landscape of Blaenafon in South Wales. It was a great day only marred slightly by one rider needing a few months off work with a broken shoulder! Needless to say it was a hit and I had to run it again.
This weekend we started further down the valley in Pontypool and eventually doubled the size of the ride from 2014. Why? Well the idea was to make it bigger for starters, add some extra bits that would still entice riders from the previous ride and also so I could indulge myself in some nostalgic scenery and sites from my youth.
I am writing a full account of the day for MB Swindon but its fair to say it was pretty epic.
- firstly along parts of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
- and Sustrans route 492
- along an old service track on the Coity Mountain
- above Big Pit
- Parts of The Iron Mountain Trail
- To the Punch Bowl nestled in the Blorenge Mountain
- and followed Mynydd Garnclochdy and Mynydd Garn Wen
- to the The Folly Tower in Trevethin
- and eventually finished up in Pontypool park
We made a little bit of the ride up as we went as a few mechanicals meant we were behind schedule and tiring a little, so some map reading and nose following kept us high towards the end of the ride and saved on a few hundred meters of climbing.
The result was the final 6km were practically all down hill and we arrived at the cars relatively fresh and not too broken.
It was a big day out and the rain only spoiled it for about 15 mins – we then had glorious sunshine as you can see from the pics below.
There will be a write up over on MB Swindon later this week but in the meantime here’s a few pics from the day. Click for full size…
What a fantastic event HOTS is. I have never been before but my MTB mates from MB Swindon had said its one of their favourites of the year. They are not wrong. A big social weekend revolving around riding bikes and making money for charity – would could be better.
Saturday is a 9.30 ride start time once 400 or so riders have had breakfast and wondered why they drank so much on Friday night.
The ride is well marshaled and marked out with a basic 50k loop and 3 optional extras to top it up to 75km if you are for it. With no race cut off as such (though you will be left alone while everyone else is drinking), you can take as long as you like, which is handy as some stop for a pub lunch as well as feasting on free bananas and flap jacks at the feed/water stations.
Its non competitive and the atmosphere and camaraderie is great.
Come Saturday night, there’s more socialising (drinking), eating and comparing stories from the day. Followed by a huge raffle and some charity auctions.
It was a great event and one that I will be looking out for again next year.
For more details – http://www.heavenofthesouth.co.uk/
It was supposed to be muddy and wet and probably a bit miserable on Saturday with MB Swindon – but the sun came out and 15 of us had a great time in Collingbourne Woods.
My video is above obviously, my tongue in cheek words for the MB Swindon website can be read by visiting the MB Swindon website HERE.