WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

July 10, 2016

Five x 100

Hello dear readers! My apologies for not writing sooner, but fear not... you're not forgotten! I have been quite busy riding since my last post, so here's a quick update.

My 55 for 55 Event was exhausting and demanding and all-consuming and completely awesome, but I didn't stop there. No, no, no! In fact, I rode another 1,800 miles during May and June. So what I've put together today is a short compilation of five rides that I think deserve some special recognition because they were ALL over 100 miles each. WooHoo!

Chepstow & Monmouth Loop
Date: 15 May 2016
Distance: 105 miles
After riding 3,025 miles over 55 days I wasn't a faster rider, but I was a stronger rider. My endurance had vastly improved. This first long distance ride is one that I made a couple of times last year so I knew it well AND it's one that I really enjoy. Highlights include racing down the mountain from Chepstow to Tintern Abbey and then the lovely ride up the Wye Valley following the river into Monmouth.

Symonds Yat Explore
Date: 26 May 2016
Distance: 113 miles
I was really clocking up the miles in May and feeling rather confident so I made my first "explore" ride. I had been as far north as Biblins Bridge along the Peregrine Path, but Symonds Yat had been on my list for a few years. And let me say... it did not disappoint! Stunning. The real start of my ride was began as just a straight shot out of Usk along NCN Route 423 to Monmouth, but I then through town, the NCN Route becomes the Peregrine Path and follows along the Wye River. It's a great route for riders of any skill level and when you reach Symonds Yat you are rewarded with not only the most charming riverside community, but also lovely B&B's, pubs, restaurants, camping, and even an adorable little ferry crossing.

Gospel Pass Big Ride
Date: 31 May 2016
Distance: 102 miles
The Kingfishers had been talking about making this ride for a few years - and with a little coaxing we all met up in Abergavenny for a fantastic day out on the bikes. The weather was perfect. We started early. And we took our time heading up the long slog along Hay Bluff. We dropped down into Hay-on-Wye for lunch, then toodled our way back through Llangorse Lake, Crickhowell, and closing the loop back in Abergavenny. It was simply a fabulous day and Graham at 83 years of age made it without missing a beat! Quite an astounding achievement.

Massive Neath Explore
Date: 5 June 2016
Distance: 101 miles
This turned into one of the biggest explorer rides I have ever made. I got lost. I got turned round and went the wrong way - several times... and I discovered one of the most scenic views I have seen in Wales. The climbs were brutal, unending and desolate. At times I was pushing my bike along single-tracks through deep woods and asking for directions from crazed mountain bikers. I found myself wandering through huge wind turbine farms along dusty gravel roads with nothing visible on my Garmin but green forests. It was exhausting and exhilarating and perhaps one of the best rides I have ever made. Highlights include climbing Rhigos Mountain and discovering the view over Cwmparc.

NOTE: The ride was divided into two galleries: the first one is of images taken on my way to Neath; the second is of those taken on my way home.

Nightride to Swansea
Date: 18 June 2016
Distance: 106 miles
I went into this ride event without any idea what to expect. Described as an un-official and un-organised, riders were told to show up in Cardiff for a night ride to Swansea. Well, I had been wanting to make a night ride and this one turned out to be well worth the wait. Approximately 300 riders of all skill levels riding bikes of all shapes showed up for this truly unique non-event. We didn't have a leader, we didn't have a distinct route, and we all just sort of wandered our way through the morning to end up at a tiny little pub in Mumbles. I loved it. I highly recommend it and I'll probably want to do it again next year!

On a final note... I've been redesigning some of the components for the blog (can you tell?) as well as incorporating new features from Ride With GPS (shown above). Select "Show All" in the lower-right-corner window to see what's cool! To see the numbers for ALL my rides in table format view: 2016 Monthly Details.

Cheers! ~ cm