OVER THE TOP Abergavenny for Lunch - Talgarth for Tea.

4/ 08/07

It was 14.30 as we cycled out to New Inn from Croesyceiliog, we had decided to cycle up the highest public road in Wales, the Gospel Pass, at 542 metres. The weather was warm and the Sun was trying to shine, it was perfect for the penetration of the valley. From New Inn our ride took us through the rural central farmland of Gwent .We stocked up in Abergavenny, the last town before hitting the mountains. We then cycled up the road to Llanthony , this lane was quite busy with traffic as there is a pub about seven miles up the valley. The fairly flat road to Llanthony was taken without incident. Not far past Llanthony the several miles of climbing started, this for me was the best part of the ride. A tranquil evening, a quiet lane and plenty of miles of climbing , it just doesn’t get any better! The road is like a staircase with it’s flats and ups. Eventually we reached Capel-y- Ffin, from here the climbing started to get steeper before getting out on to the spectacular open mountain. The summit was reached after a bit more of leg aching climbing. The descent starts off like a roller coaster and then turns down onto a gentle downhill before the last near vertical drop that ends upon the back way to Talgarth. We were now tired, hungry and, yeah, just about done in! Food was needed, so we took some on board from the Chinese take-away in Talgarth. As we were eating, we worked out our route home. The new relief road was open around Talgarth so we decided to ride up the now closed old road but unfortunately it has been dug up and mostly covered with earth! We joined the new road for four miles of climbing to the top of Pengenfford. We only had LED lights which gave a unimpressive beam. There was a long descent down to Tretower and Crickhowell ahead and I was not feeling great about the 30 miles of cycling left. So it was time to fight fire with fire, I used the mountain to launch me like a downhill skier, the 50T ring was in it’s highest gear as I followed the cats eyes and white lines on the road. The road disappeared fast. Nick caught up with me in Crickhowell and from here we it was full steam ahead along the main road to Abergavenny - the twenty miles were destroyed! However we calmed down, and took it easy on the back lanes from Llanellen and to Croes Llanfair, our legs were aching and we were feeling very tired. We ambled along to Goytre and then had a half hearted attempt at ruleuring along the main road to arrive in Croesyceiliog in the small hours quite exhausted after 80 miles of hilly cycling.

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