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Ride Leading Part 3

Ride leading 18 and 19 March 2017 - Wales weekend

We set off on St Patrick's day to my welsh cottage for our annual TeamGlow Wales weekend. I had reserved my cottage and a neighbour's cottage to house 15 cyclists. And all the bikes....and food...and cakes...
I cooked dal for Friday evening and people started arriving from 4ish although traffic was bad on the rainbow road, the A55, due to roadworks, an accident and probably also the vile weather conditions. After a few days of gloriously sunny, mild weather, the rain and wind gods were set to join us for the weekend!

This has happened before on the Wales weekend and everyone had packed clothing for ALL possibilities.

I arrived at around 9 pm to find my cottage full of Glowing women with smiles on their faces. And I don't think it was the Guinness or red wine which was causing the smiles. The fire was lit. The room was cosy.
On Saturday morning we were going to ride at 9am but put the ride back by half an hour to assess the realistic options due to the wet wet weather. Off we went at 930 to cycle the Snowdon loop which was 36 miles with some good climbing. We went up the Llanberis Pass with a beautiful tail wind and regrouped at the top. All 15 of us did the same route. We dropped down into Nant Gwynant to Cafe Gwynant - wet and cold. It was a painful descent with rain driving into our faces. It's hard to wear glasses when it is like that because it's hard to see. But it hurts if you don't. The cafe owners were warm and patient as we caused localised flooding from our shoes/overshoes on to their floor. They had a wood burning stove and soon it was entirely surrounded by wet clothes and teeth chattering women.


And then off again. It was cold as we set off and I decided I needed home. I suffer from the cold and can soon feel vulnerable. A few turned off in Beddgelert to cycle to Criccieth but I went the most direct route back to Nantlle. And then through the shower, warm and clean before eating some food and having a lie down. All riders came home safely and were happy.
The pub was calling on Saturday night. I was glad we were going out because the cottage had a kind of wet clothes/wet shoes aroma.
I had booked a table at Cwellyn Arms at Rhyd Ddu and we had 3 drivers to get us there. I chose San Miguel instead of the steering wheel. There was another fire and it was cosy, warm. We ate well. Service was a bit slow despite pre ordering. But the food was good. The beer selection was also good.

Home and everyone tucked up by 1030!


Cooked breakfast on Sunday before setting off in dry weather to Betws and Penmachno. The day was deteriorating and when we reached Beddgelert the heavy skies were low and it started to rain. Mist was hanging on the hills. We carried on. I was after a challenge today. We climbed to the top of Snowdon, on to Capel Curig and down into Betws Y Coed. We had bumped into a group of young male cyclists at the top of Snowdon and had a lot of fun holding our own alongside their long legs and youthful lungs across the top and down to Betws. We stopped at the garden centre for a warm up coffee. And then on. The wind had increased. One rider was blown into a ditch and couldn't get up. She was lifted out by our Paralympic champion. On the top of Penmachno it was a brutal wind with low mist and rain. I got cold. We regrouped and set off again stopping at the first pub for lunch. By this time it was 3pm. I warmed myself next to a radiator, ate soup, drank hot water and became progressively colder. My teeth were chattering. It was another 22 miles home - that's over 2 hours in a strong wind with undulating roads. A slightly shorter route had a hill to climb. I wasn't feeling the love. I rang for a lift home and stayed in the pub whilst the others rode off. 3 of them made it home. We picked 2 others up on ththe way home.

The main challenges this weekend were ;-
pre event organisation for what started at 19 and became 15,
trying to have a training weekend but being divided because there were lots of riders just having fun and then of course, the Welsh weather.

It was a great weekend overall. I've kept my organisation template for next time which includes 9 routes for all abilities and levels of interest and fitness.

What would I do differently?

1. Be more decisive earlier about my personal aims and stick with it
2. Stay on course......

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