Last week. to celebrate my 66th birthday and, inspired by other 50+ members doing their first century, and before the summer is completely over, I decided I was going to do a solo 100 mile round trip from Cardiff to Brecon including a lot of the Taff Trail. Since returning to cycling a few years back my longest ride has been 30 miles but I do that regularly and have put a lot of miles in this summer so felt I was up to it.
I set out at 6.00 am on the first stage to Merthyr Tydfil, where I grew up and first cycled. Cardiff to Merthyr is a regular ride for me and the Merthyr to Brecon route I had done many times before as a teenager, but this was the first time I have tried it in 45 years.
Although I do like to push myself I know my limitations and this was not a ride against the clock, beside which there is a lot of climbing involved, and I was planning on a few nostalgic detours. It was a sunny day and luckily no wind at all to talk of. Because I was running later than I thought on the outward trip I took a faster return route involving more roads and less climbing rather than retrace my tracks.
I did it on my mtb with semi-slick tyres, as the ride was planned as a mix of MUP, country road and a bit of XC. I got home after 7.30 pm, very tired and a little bit sunburned.
Here are some pics of the ride: Taf Fechan reservoir just outside Merthyr, the Gap at Pen-y-Fan – the highest peak in the Beacons, and the tea shop in an old farmhouse at the foot of the steepest climb where I had to have cake (scones and jam) to build up my strength for the climb to come!
Luckily, I had no real problems, other than some pain in my knees during the trip and afterwards, and a bit of saddle soreness. Slept well that night and a gentle ride two days later was fine.
The point of this post is whether this was a 100 miler or not as I had around 7 or 8 stops – for food, beer at a pub at the halfway stage, a bit of walking to places I couldn't ride, chatting to a few hikers and bikers, and just enjoying the views. Or was it a series of 12 mile rides?
Plus another pic of a steam train at the Brecon Mountain Railway at a place called Pontsticill -another pit stop.