4 Members of the thewoollybacks.co.uk joined in the Welsh Ride Thing organised by forestfreeride.co.uk/ ..... Dave Adamson, Geoff Lever, John Moore, Paul Leach.
Report from John:
Well we're back alive, still talking to each other and all fed and watered.
Where to start?
The very wet "the forecast says it should stop raining about now" start line in a farm in the village of Pennant in deepest darkest Wales, around about 40 to 45 riders had shown up even though the weather was pants.
It was about this time I realised I still had my last ride in the memory of the GPS and deleted it, along with the whole route we were about to do. Thank goodness for Chunk and Pabs who'd laminated the maps for the route, in the end it was a bit of a good thing that Chunk was in charge of the GPS and I was in charge of the mapping as it made decisions quick and easy at "most" junctions.
Stuart our Forest Free Ride host all gave us a little bit of paper with 13 questions or things to do at each of the 13 check points we were aiming to do.
Route plan - 120 miles, 13 grid points, 19,500 feet of climbing, back to Pennant for 1pm on Monday
Day one plan - Ride 33 miles to the 4th check point and bivvy in the nice bothy.
Day one what happened - wet, wet and bollox deep river crossings, moor land trudges and the on set of trench foot saw us to the 3rd grid point by 6pm, although there was 3 hours of light left the dank foggy weather ment we didn't fancy getting lost or even more wet so we stopped at an earlier bothy en route.
Day two plan - To bag off as many grid points as possible in 12 hours and end up a couple of hours away from the end.
Day two what happened - It took us nearly 3 hours to get to the bothy we were aiming for last night, plan B came into play with a short cut missing out the bottom 3 grid points. After another slow going moorland crossing.
We got to another point and realised we needed a plan C and another shortcut.
After crossing the toughest test so far which was a 4 or 5 mile push, pull, throw bike moor land "bridleway" with knee deep pot holes in between millions of grass tussocks we decided on sodding the rest of the grip points and heading off to tarmac for a long pull to a village a couple of hours from the end and a few beers, a pub meal and a wild bivvy in woods en route to the end.
Day 3 - Plan and what actually happened and went to plan.
One forest road climb, quiet back lanes followed by a 7 mile tarmac 30mph downhill back to Pennant