24.7 miles, 2,980 feet of climbing
Accommodation: Tyn-y-Groes Hotel, Ganllwyd, Clywd
Rain, rain and more rain. It barely stopped raining today. From the moment we left Penmachno the heavens opened. At first we tried to ride up the loose quarry slate which festooned the path up the back of Cwm Penmachno toward the Manod Mawr quarries, but, it was in vain and we were pushing before long. I defy anyone to ride the whole way up, for its so steep, loose and protracted. Or maybe I just had too much for breakfast! Toward the top though there are some nice, rideable, technical sections through the woods and once over the pass we whiz down the tarmac road, strafing water from our tyres with a satisfying, accompanying high pitched buzz.
And then, we’re in the town of Llan Ffestiniog. Wanting to find a cafe to dry off, we come up short, but make up for it by adjourning to the pub where we’re met with fantastic hospitality and an offer to drape our wet clothes all around the pub’s radiators. And of course that’s where we were entertained by our friend Myfanwy. The slightly confused but very friendly barman takes our order for lunch, and we opt for the large roast dinner – apparently the small version was £7, and, the large version was … also £7! Really! He said he was new. Before long but with dry clothes we were off again, into the rain once more and toward Coed-y-Brenin forest.
Before long we rode another fantastically exhilarating section, this time on a steep gravel road which was virtually a mudslide. As we rode the slate-strewn ground beneath us was literally moving, as the rain continued to cannon down from above. Trees had fallen from recent storms and at times we rode bent over the cross-bar, our heads on the handlebars in order to clear their trunks! After another long day we made it to our hotel for the night. Sadly we found the drying room to be cold (although it did have a dehumidifier) such that we definitely didn’t dry anything in our room after being expressly told not to do so. No. At dinner, we met a couple of lads biking the nearby trail centre … when we explained our trip to them they doubted our ability to finish it, and we wondered whether, if the weather carried on like it had, we could too! It had been another epic day.