THE TINTERN LOOP

26.06.11

The bad weather of the previous week had turned into what looked like a glorious day as we cycled out of Croesyceiliog. It was Sunday morning, 08:00, I was riding my Ribble for the first time that year. I had recently fitted a brand new 11-28 cassette and dérailleur coupled with a 33t TA ring on the front, the idea was to give low gearing for the steep hills around this area. The ride to New Inn and then on to Monkswood was a nice warm up. The racing set up on my aluminium bike made short work of the sprint to Usk where supplies were bought, the jovial owner of the shop introduced us to a special offer of five doughnuts for £1! The ride continued on the old Chepstow road then the lane toward Cobbler's plain was taken. The Black mountains shrouded in mist could be seen in the distance, the summit of the Sugar Loaf was poking it's head out of the clouds. Cobbler's is always a good ascent and today was no exception. The swooping up and downer to Trellech Grange was then taken. On the descent to the beautiful Tintern cross it was noticed that the Fountain Inn was closed down. A peloton of cyclists from Cwmcarn Paragon club went past as the atmosphere of  the forestry was taken in. The aluminium frame on my Ribble gave an unforgiving ride on the rough lane toward Tintern but once the main road was joined along the Wye valley things were different as I sprinted along the smooth asphalt at quite a quick pace. Tintern was left to the tourists and the climb up to Cleddon bog began. The recent rain had brought a banquet of smells and tastes through the trees and up past the Whitestones picnic area. Brunch was taken at Cleddon bog. As temperatures soared toward 30 degrees a fast sprint through Trellech, Llanishen village and down the Star pitch was enjoyed.  Back in Usk the town was milling with people who had come to the Usk open garden day. After eating an ice cream the madding crowd was left behind and our route took us up the top route from Llanbadoc to Glascoed golf course. It was now just past midday and the ride continued in the near unbearable baking sunshine. The hot ride continued back to New Inn and the old abandoned road to Croesyceiliog....42 miles.

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