Well, if there is one thing for sure, it is that you cannot predict the British weather far in advance.
It was a cold start to the weekend. Various shivering bodies turned up at the club, muttering in huddles about what was to come.
All was well as they set off, and all the way through Cheshire and the borders of Wales, conditions were fine. It was only as the approach to the big hill of the day came, that snow started to swirl around sporadically.
After Treuddyn, the wind started to blast properly, although it was a tail wind mainly, it was still very cold, so all pedalled on at a decent pace.
At the cafe, most stopped for a very short while to re-fuel before the main event.
Denbigh High Street was seen to, and then the real brutal job of cycling over the moors.
Here, the sun came out, went in, snowy blizzard like intervals came, and went, and riders grimaced, and many kept smiling (maniacs), whilst being wind blasted up and down to the A5.
Betwys Y Coed next, and then the long drag to Capel Curig. Most not bothering to stop at the cafe before heading along the pass to take on the last hill to the Pen Y Pass car park, and downwards, at speed, to the hotel.
Warmed, we retired to the bar, then ate well, before another pint in the bar, and most early to bed.
Sunday, well, that was another matter. We woke to snow, wind, and a potentially grim ride home. Many had already decided that they weren’t going to brave it, and lifts were arranged. Kev drove his car up to Pen Y Pass, but was met by drifting snow across the road. No, we weren’t going to be able to cycle up that!
Jim rallied the troops and made expert arrangements to ferry people, bikes, and luggage back to the rugby club, by van, by car, by 8 seater taxi!
A few then decided that they would tackle the coast road into a ferocious headwind.
Leaving the hotel in the direction of Bangor, they battled through crosswinds, snow drifts, blizzard like conditions, cold, all the way to the coast. Even driving after them was interesting.
They joined the coastal cycle path (North Wales Coastal Route) which is separate from the road, so I ‘roughly’ followed in parallel to them, guessing their location, just in case of a mechanical.
I parked up at Rhos on Sea to wait for a while. It was wild. Waves crashing into the sea wall and over onto the promenade, most of which coned off for obvious reasons. This was challenging weather to cycle in. I wondered whether any would arrive at this point!
Eventually, as the tide turned, the wind dropped very slightly, the sun came out for brief look, and the riders appeared, smiling after the cafe stop, and ploughing on relentlessly down the road and back onto the path, where I left them again.
They powered on all the way to Flint and grabbed a brew stop there to warm up, then carried on all the way to the Greenway at Queensferry, off onto the main road at Mickle Trafford, and then started to disperse to their various homes, and back to the rugby club. Most only arrived home at around 18:00, which nearly 100 miles more in the legs.
Chapeau to those who rode, the men and the lady, hard as nails the lot of them!
Well done to Jim for his control of a difficult logistical challenge, and to Al and the other drivers for helping out.
Well done also to the rest of the riders, as day 1 wasn’t exactly an easy ride.
Here’s to next year, and let’s see what the weather does then…!
A plethora of images below describes the weekend far better than I can.