Eleven riders started the traditional Good Friday ride from the Stadium in cold but sunny conditions. Jeremy, Jonny, Ian W, Nic, Lee, Louis (back from Oz), Mark N, John, Rhys, Mark K and 1 guest Phil Rees.
After some discussion all agreed to stick to tradition and tackle the Bwlch and Rhigos, so we set off from the Stadium, stopping at the first lights for Rhys to fix a puncture. Off again up the Bon-Y-Maen by-pass, right at Winch Wen and onto Crymlyn Road & right onto the A4230 through Skewen, for most of which we were terrorised by an old boy who was not all happy at having to share the road with cyclists. Through Neath Abbey and then right for the Cimla climb. We then lost Rhys and John in Pontrhydyfen, Rhys suffering a ride ending split in the side wall of the previously repaired tyre.
Then the long haul up to the first of the main events. For the first part of the climb up the Bwlch the easterly head wind was challenging but manageable. At about the half way point, our only guest, Phil decided to turn round and head for home. At this point the cold head wind became very hard work until the turn north about 2km from the top. The top itself was extremely cold and bleak. The subsequent decent was probably close to the eqivalent of being cryo-genically preserved while still alive.
Cafe stop and thaw out at the Cardiff Arms, which was surprisingly lively with the locals intrigued at our desire to ride bikes in that temperature & asking ‘is it warmer at the coast?’.
On to the second event and a much more pleasant (relatively speaking!) climb up the Rhigos in full sunshine and sheltered from the wind. Then the descent into the Neath Valley and a very welcome tail wind home. Around 57 miles Stadium to Stadium
[active_button_download link=”http://www.swanseawheelers.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/routes/bwlchrhigos290313.gpx?dl=1″]Bwlch & Rhigos .gpx Route[/active_button_download]