Beautiful Brecon Beacons..............
by IronjediApr 22nd 2013
Beautiful Brecon Beacons.
Monday 8th April, So it was off to the Brecon Beacons with a group called Kentisbeare Junior Cycling Club (KJCC). We were a group consisting of 20 Children and 10 Adults. The children aged from 11-18, but the majority were 12-15. The adults from 40 something??? We stayed at Talybont YHA and had the whole venue to our group, we stayed on a breakfast and evening meal basis.
Talybont YHA is set in a beautiful part of the Brecons next to Talybont Reservoir. It is off the beaten track and was so quiet and peaceful. The hostel was very clean and the staff welcoming. The meals they served were of a good standard and there was always plenty to eat, often seconds which after cycling was met with smiles from everone.
On Monday afternoon after arriving we rode out a group of 27, all road bikes and had a quick spin round the local area to get a feel of the place for a couple of hours. The scenery was amazing. The Pace was quick with the 15 year olds leading the way. There was still snow on most of the high ground but riding was unaffected by this. Cake was the order of the day on our return. I set out for a 6 mile run around the reservoir, stunning and peaceful.
Tuesday morning the group, now 28 strong set out in KJCC colours for the 50 mile road trip over the rolling hills, and there was many. The highlight of the day was the ride up the Devils Elbow which had a Tour de France feel to it with its sharp hairpins marking the landscape with gradients at the steepest around the hairpins; some say a percentage of around 33%. At the top everyone was rewarded with an outstanding and exhilarating decent. I stayed on at the back with two other adults to let the kids get ahead so I could appreciate the full roller-coaster ride of the decent. The climb was certainly worth the decent. At the bottom we ate at The New Inn, Ystradfelte. The Steak and Ale pie was great and very warming. After Lunch we pushed on stopping only for a quick pot of tea and cake. The kids were doing an amazing job with all the hills, and as we rolled back to Talybont the day had taken its toll on a couple of the younger riders. The day was a success with no punctures and a couple of minor crashes.
Wednesday morning and the group had shrunk a little with 7 riders withdrawing from the day¬'s 55 mile excursion. The formant changed a little and we now found we had our own support van to mop up anyone falling off the back, our team car and a team photographer. The pace a little easier and the roads didn¬'t feel quite so steep. A lovely moment along the way was going up a small ascent we were met by a car which suddenly pulled over, Daryl (KJCC) jumped out the car and ran alongside the riders with a tray of cake handing out food on the go. Daryl then leap frogged our group playing Queen (Bicycle race) full blast out of the window, Mental. We pushed on getting to our lunch stop well ahead of time by 30 minutes. We even beat the photographer. Lunch was great, a buffet with plenty to eat, by this time I was feeling quite full.
We left lunch and were straight into the climb through The Gospel Pass. I again followed on at the back to help the younger riders up. Zac (KJCC) was pushing on at the back with saddle sores quite keen to chuck the towel in and get swept up. However due to us being at the back of the group and some distance behind we had to push on ourselves. My chain came off and I sent Zac forward up the hill on his own, I put it back on and then it was off again, third time lucky. Nooooo..... the chain just exploded breaking, leaving me stood there with two things going on in my mind. 1. Zac has just been sent off on his own and we were some way behind. 2. Shall I launch my bike into the hedge in frustration. After picking it up and on the point of it leaving my hands I remembered I had a spare locking pin, so I gave that a go. 5 minutes later , that didn't work, however fortunately I had a SRAM locking chain link for emergencies.
Chain link on, Zac had been gone for around 15 minutes whilst I pathetically stood trying to fix my bike. Zac then appeared riding back down the hill towards me. He had ridden on on his own came to a junction, waited for me to catch up as he didn't know which way to go. But the man at the back (me) didn't arrive so he stood at the side of the road crying as he thought he had gone the wrong way and been left behind. The relief on his face when he saw me was a sight. Chain fixed and we were off again. Zac appeared to have braved out the pain and was keen to get on. We talked about the support vehicle and whether he would get in it, at first he said ¬"Yes¬". But as we continued to climb up the pass and still no sight of any help we decided that the hard work was behind us and we would both finish the climb together. The Pass began to get steeper and three cars came down the road towards us stopping to let us climb pass. Daryl had clearly been busy chalking the roads up in tour style quotes. As we passed the three cars random strangers cheered and clapped at the sight of man and boy climbing one of the highest roads in South Wales. It was a real boast. As we crested that section the support van was heading towards us. Zac ¬"are we getting in it?¬", ¬"No way¬". Zac pushed on straight past the van not even stopping to acknowledge them for fear of making eye contact and being pulled in by his mum who was on board. At the top of the Ascent we were met by some of our group who clapped us to the finish. I was so proud of Zac, he was amazing that day. Daryl keen to finish the day off in his tour style that he had got into pushed me and then Zac up the final metres. Almost launching Zac off his bike in his excitement. Zac was done and happily climbed into the support van, along with another few withdrawals on the day. The vehicles were now fully loaded with our group down to 18.
The decent was thrilling, only one casualty who hit some snow and then rolled around in the sludge. We cracked on for a quick return to Talybont.
What a great week, it was inspiring to see so may of the kids achieving so much in those three days. Memories I will keep. I will certainly be back again. Now onto Snowdonia....................