Where does one start to describe the Llanberis weekend this year?
Madness? Possibly. A little bit wet? Maybe.
Maelstrom? – a situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil. That’ll do.
Many dropped out, fearing what was to come. Weather reports suggested it would be wet and windy. Oh yes. It was.
A few turned up at the club as 8 o’clock came and went, and a small group of dedicated and hardened riders met, talked quietly, and pondered the day.
Only two groups were set, off, as usual planning seemed a little redundant.
The riders ploughed on relentlessly though, and safely passed Holt and headed on to Treuddyn, where over the top it was clearly a struggle to pedal into the cross headwind.
At Ruthin, it was decided that the groups would ride up on the road through the Clocaenog forest, hopefully gaining some shelter. Well, it was kind of shelter, although the rain and wind still battered the already wet riders.
I chased on down to the A5, where at the bridge opposite the B5113, the Afon Conwy had already burst it’s backs and was rapidly filling every available bit of land. As I progressed down the A5, it got worse, with foot deep floods every half miles or so, from river and hill run-off.
At the Betwys-Y-Coed bridge, again, this was just over a foot deep, but just about navigable (for me, anyway). Shortly after this, the bridge was shut.
By this point, the call had gone up to abandon the ride, get bikes into vans, and the 30 riders into cars and vans to get them to the hotel. There was no point in trying to ride through this, and rider safety was our prime concern.
I carried on to the bottom of Pen Y Pass, but a sign was up saying that the road was closed ahead. Great. I didn’t hesitate (although later it was found that the road was passable), and did a loop through Bedgelert, encountering many more floods, and some good exercise in wading with a motor vehicle!
Eventually, much later than we would usually arrive, we had all drivers and riders safely at the hotel.
The evening meal was good, and we took the opportunity to celebrate Eleanor’s 60th (it’s the new 40), with large chocolate cake. Alan was in attendance to supervise the proceedings of course.
Tired, and after a couple of pints, we all retired, hoping for better weather tomorrow..
Sunday awoke with a clearing forecast, but we thought we might have to ferry people to the other side of Betwys Y Coed to get past any remaining flood water. No need, as Jules kindly had a reconnaissance drive to Betwys Y Coed, and announced the road clear, bar debris and gravel.
It was an amazing transformation. The river had dropped back to normal levels, and riders wore smiles after the tough climb up the pass, enjoying the long descent to the town.
The A5 was still clear as they exited across the bridge, and all had a clear run to Cerrigydrudioin.
Back out through the forest, the sun was breaking through regularly, warming the air a bit, and riders were more relaxed, although feeling the miles in the legs after yesterday’s efforts.
Finally back at Ruthin, the riders were looked after with hot soup, sandwiches and cakes at the Garden Centre, and soon again, they were on their way for the final leg.
All riders made it back in one piece. All riders would have this weekend indelibly etched into their memories. Some riders will be looking forward to next year.
We’re booking for February…!
The weekend is better described photographically, so here are a load of photographs..