By 9.25 at the Liberty, it resembled a veterans-only ride with myself, Bob, Simon H and Andy D contemplating whether we’d get away with a Club ride and coffee stop to KFC before the storm hit us. However , our vain hopes were dashed as Adam & Simon joined us on the dot, with Trevor and John F turning up as we crossed the R.Tawe –Porthcawl it was then.
At this point there was an inkling of what was to come with the odd spit & spot of rain. Hitting the Winchwen bypass, the ‘odd spit & spot’ was turning into a potential ‘good soaking’, with a gale thrown in for good measure. We headed through Winchwen and took the marsh road, at which point John had decided to turn back after his MTB exertions the previous day, so he missed the unexpected ford we ploughed through in one of the dips, as our brakes howled in protest in the wet conditions to slow us down before we hit it.
Between the back end of Skewen and Baglan, the rain capes were going on in earnest at various points –it really was turning ‘stinking’-and we wisely stayed on the cycle path for as long as we could. Briton Ferry had seen Bob & Andy D turn back ,so after a road-side conference and with the conditions worsening , it was decided the remaining 5 of us would press on to Port Talbot, then turn up the Afan valley for a shortened run. This master plan of Trevor’s –who’d obviously been taken lessons from a yachtsman – was spot on, as the gale was now behind us and the rain seemed to ease off too. We knew it wouldn’t last, so we wisely turned off the valley road towards Pontrhydyfen . Sardis hill thinned the bunch out with Trevor and Adam reaching the top first, with the 2 Simons and myself bringing up the rear. At this point, 2 strategically dumped armchairs looked well tempting, but that wouldn’t have been fair on the other 3, so without drawing lots, we carried on and back into the gale.
The descent of Cimla hill was tricky in the conditions, not helped at one point by a delivery van blocking our path, but we negotiated it and Neath/Bryncoch without further incident. Climbing up through Skewen with Trevor well ahead, I displayed a rare moment of hill-climbing prowess( my first in 3 years at the Club!) and from behind, dropped the 2 Simons and Adam before joining Trevor. Our bedraggled band then regrouped and headed for home, splitting in various directions after Peniel Green. We might have only done 27miles or so, but it was enough!
Points as follows:
Trevor- 4, Dave G- 3, Simon H-4, Simon -2, Bob-3, Andy D-3, Adam-2, John-3