Sunday, 29 January 2017

South Wales Weekend: January 2017

After a few weeks of just playing locally, Lucy & I arranged a weekend with some friends in Wales. A mate of ours from Hampshire suggested we try some of the lanes in South Wales and recommended a hotel with reasonable parking and a good concentration of lanes.

So an invite went out to a few friends, some of whom were free and up for it so the trip was on!

I reserved 6 beds at the  Riverside Hotel which cost £69.00 for a twin room per night. The drive down was 5 hours and the fuel cost £100 return. Food & beer was around £100 for the weekend and then bike fuel on top, so the trip cost around £200 per person. We all met up on Friday evening in the hotel, a few beers and a wander to the nearby chippy saw us all fed and watered, then off to sleep before the fun started the next morning.

Saturday dawned a bit damp after a night of heavy rain, but blue sky was poking through here and there as we set off to the first lanes. Gareth warned us that there were a few tricky lanes, which meant nothing to any of us as our measurement of tricky was based upon the lanes we ride regularly... mmm as it turned out they were nothing like our local lanes!!

The area has lots of steep valleys and woodland, all of which have some ace rock steps and mixed terrain. The views were not open and expansive like they are up north, but never the less, there were some lovely scenery moments, especially in the blue sky of a rare January day.

We passed old mills, plenty of ruins almost lost in the woods and some beautiful old trails opened up to us, a legacy of the bygone era's before our current version of roads, the boring tarmac highways and motorways.

Some sections were more tricky than others, which meant we all grouped together to wait whilst the ones up front found their way through, because of this we all got to gossip and take the mick out of each other even more, plus we each egged the others on as we went...

Lucy did particularly well, as she was pretty nervous at the start, but soon got into the swing of things and thus tried some of the harder sections with lots of enthusiastic coaching from Gareth.

Saturday was  a tough day  for all of us except Gareth, who rides around there all the time and does much longer days than we achieved. The last lane of the day was probably the toughest too, with a big step of about 3 foot to get up and then lots of really slippy steps that had all of us off, including Gareth. A proper challenge.

Sunday dawned with a couple people bailing, John Paul felt ill so stayed in bed then headed home, Ron stayed at his home nearby for the day, so the rest of us set off into a wet and grey morning, all aching from the previous day!

We only managed a couple of lanes as Lucy drowned her bike in a deep puddle and even after draining the carbs three times, clearing the spark plug and mopping out the air box thoroughly,

So we ended up towing the bike the 8 miles back to the hotel and then deciding it was time to call it a day and go home... Another fantastic weekend visiting a new area for most of us, seeing a new town and meeting lots of lovely locals who were all really chatty and happy to see folk out using the lanes and having some fun.

It has to be said as well that the folk that came along on this weekend all helped to make it a very memorable weekend for me personally. It was another part of 50th birthday celebrations and I was extremely lucky to spend the time with people of such calibre. A big thankyou goes to each and every one of them for helping to make the weekend such a success for me personally.