Total trip length: +/- 550 miles for those who want to know.
A nice little jolt woke me up as the ferry came to the docks in Liverpool. Glancing at my watch…2:30am bummer, I was hoping to get another half hour of sleep. Well at least I’ll just head to the sea terminal and find a nice floor spot to catch a couple more hours. Were the thoughts going through my head as I road off of the ferry. Before I knew it, I was in Liverpool, like LITERALLY IN Liverpool! Where is the sea terminal? This isn’t good.
After searching for a place to sleep I came across a hostel that still had someone manning the desk and wanted £20 for the night. It’s after 3am! For a few hours of sleep £20, equivalent of $30 is not worth it. So back to the docks I went. Sitting on a bench, I decided no better time than now to gear up and start the 80 mile journey. Once I was ready to go at 4am, the sun was beginning to rise over Liverpool and I spent the next hour trying to find the Queens Tunnel and cross under the River Mersey. What a hassle!
Finally I was on my way riding and following the coastline. I have grown to hate riding in cities because I just end up going in circles half the time. The coast path along northern Wales was so nice and I was enjoying this section. After roughly 40 miles, it was time to leave the coast and head into Snowdonia climbing over some steep mountain passes. Arriving to Pen-y-pass just after 3pm, I decided it would be a good idea to hike Snowdon. 80 mile ride plus hike up Wales tallest mountain…I sure do have some good ideas.
Well I ended up surviving the hike and it was quite nice. Now 10 miles left to ride and luckily half of it was downhill! Woohoo! Brad and Jill had offered to host me and Jill even had a nice spaghetti dinner ready. Thanks guys! I was going to sleep great tonight. Enjoying a late morning, I eventually woke up and pedaled my way to Machynlleth.
It was here I was supposed to leave the pavement behind and link up with the Trans Cambrian Trail but with a day of light rain, I relaxed. Tired of hitting rain and being wet I’ll take the day off of riding and recuperate. Heading out of town early in the morning, I found the trail and climbed up into the hills. 14 strenuous hours later, I was hanging my hammock while being swarmed and eaten alive by midges.
Well that wasn’t pleasant one bit plus I woke up shivering with frozen feet that took a good half hour of riding to unthaw. Oh well, a day on the bike and camping is better than a day sitting behind a desk. (A few of the thoughts going through my head trying to keep it positive). With the long push yesterday, coupled with a terrible nights sleep no wonder my legs were having trouble working. But eventually I rolled into Knighton, treated myself to a B&B and a 4 pack of…ice cream cones (you thought I was going to say beer). I had successfully completed the Trans Cambrian Way in 2 days (usually a 3 day feat). Full review of the trail here.
Leaving the dirt behind for a little bit, I was thankful for the 40 mile road journey to Brecon. Sometimes just need a little bit of mindless pedaling to clear the head of the previous day’s struggles. I love mountain biking and being off the roads, but there’s just something about getting back to a little road riding where the struggle isn’t as bad and the going gets easier for a short while. Swinging by the grocery store in Brecon, I still had plenty of daylight left (just after lunchtime) and followed the gps as it lead me to the spot I would connect up with the EWE through the Brecon Beacons. Explantion: The EWE is a long distance mountain bike route (1180mi) through England to Wales to England thus EWE, very creative. I found the trail just outside Brecon….
…Cliff hanger ending until Part 2