OVER THE TOP 2010

3.7.10

It was a warm sunny Saturday afternoon as we left Croesyceiliog to cycle out on the lanes through Glascoed and Monkswood. The pleasant climb up Rumble Street was a little start to our annual big ride Over the Top - the Gospel Pass at 544 metres is the highest public road in Wales. After a while the shop in Maerdy, Abergavenny, was or last stock up point before cycling up the valley past Llanthony Abbey. The climb starts here and continues in a series of steps and straights, through the tiny village of Capel-y-Ffinn. From here there is a long wooded climb before breaking out on to the open mountain to view the valley that had just been ascended. The climb over the pass itself is fairly straightforward. This time for a change we dropped down to Hay-on-Wye. After the climb out of Hay a rare incursion across the border into England was made and there was a spectacular ride down the Golden Valley in the evening sun.  The river Dore is derived from the French for gold d’or, which itself was mistranslated from the Welsh for water, dwr. Past the beautiful Abbey Dore and then into Pontrilas our route took us back into Wales and up in to the picturesque village of Grosmont. The river Dore flows in to the Monnow here and the road took us alongside it to Skenfrith. The sweet smelling, remote lanes of this area are always a pleasure to cycle and as it turned to dusk it was an agreeable ride past the Rolls golf club. Darkness fell; I lighted my new 2 watt led Smart lamp, while Nick stuck to his Lumicycle. After getting lost for a while in the maze of lanes we eventually found the small village of Tregare and the road to Raglan. Our route home was out past the gliding club and into Usk, tracing our steps back through Monkswood, Glascoed and along the old abandoned road to New Inn....92 miles.

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