OVER THE TOP

19/07/08

The BikeBrothers left Croesyceiliog at 12:30. It was a Saturday, the weather looked changeable although there was an agreeable forecast. The wind was against us as we cycled along the old abandoned road to New Inn. Our objective was to cycle over the highest public road in Wales, The Gospel Pass. This annual event is one that we always relish. The ride to Glascoed was pleasant ,it was decided to follow one of the Sustrans national cycling routes, these paths criss-cross the country and are made up of dedicated cycle tracks and quiet public roads that any cyclist can follow easily. Route 42 was taken; this actually takes you up and over the 544m Gospel Pass climb. These routes bare a remarkably similar path to the roads Nick and I have always taken, it shows that a lot of people are in agreement of what a good route should be! Abergavenny was bypassed, here a rain shower was encountered but this quickly passed over and the temperature went up. Being the start of the holiday season meant that this little lane up the Vale of Ewyas got quite busy indeed. People were attracted to the ancient Llanthony Abbey which also has a hotel in its grounds. Thankfully we would not be stopping there this trip. After the abbey the road is quieter; the climb is in a series of short ascents and flat straights which gradually get steeper. I was really enjoying the climb.The last section, before breaking out on to the open mountain, gets really steep, I passed Nick who had stopped and was rummaging around in his bag looking for somwthing. After a bit of zig zaging I came to the cattle grid where we usually stop to view the valley. However there was no sign of Nick, a few minutes later he appeared pushing his bike up the hill, he had encountered an attack of the ‘bonk' which had left him exhausted. After that the ride is quite gentle over the pass itself. At the top of the pass the wind hit us full force but the drop down was taken quickly. We then found a shelerted place by a ford in a stream for a ‘drum up' of home made kebabs cooked on our mini barbeques! We still followed route 42 down off the mountain to join route 8 that would take us gently in the late afternoon sun to Talgarth. Here we stocked up on drink and chocolate. It was time to leave the cycle routes and take one of our favourite climbs out of Talgarth to Pengenfford. In the evening this turned out to a good ride up this tranquil lane before rejoining the main road for a fast sprint with lights blazing through Cwmdu, Crickhowell and Abergavenny. After this we joined the canal tow path for rough ride back to New Inn where we joined the main road and along the old road to Croesyceiliog in the glare of the full moon. I think this was one of the best Gospel Pass rides ever! We reflected on this as we arrived home around midnight....80 miles.

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