We set off through winch wen and the marsh road which was broken up and difficult to spot potholes – Lee P’s bottle jumped out and nearly took out Trevor. Curse of the Capt’n maybe !!
Through Skewen and Baglan to PT, where we turned under the motorway and up the valley to the Afan Road. The 18% gradient to the lights was just the start of the hills for the day. We moved on at a good pace up the valley where Dave G dropped his chain in Cymmer. The group split up on the climb and the smell of rain in the air was a hint of what was to come…
Over the top and into Treorchy where the group split. Dave G, Bob H, Simon H, Trevor and Phil R turned left up to the Cardiff Arms café before heading home over the Rhigos. The remainder turned right and stopped for bacon butties (no veggies on display today) at Treorchy cross. Suitably refreshed we carried on towards the Penrhys climb looming before us and into a headwind. Turning left at the mini roundabout Mark N and Lee P headed up the steep climb where we all stopped to water the flowers at the top.
With spots of rain in the air, Gruff asked “where’s the sea from here”, effectively summoning a thunder clap and the water towards us. After the descent we started the draggy climb into Ferndale and towards the Maerdy climb, where the mother of all rainstorms opened up on us. The roads quickly turned into rivers and the spray off passing cars ensured we were totally drenched. Although only 15-20 mins of rain, it is easily the wettest I have ever been on the bike!
Turning right onto the Maerdy climb nobody had any brakes and climbing up the other side we had to contend with cycling up through streams of water on the road with floating rubbish. We all took it easy hoping that the rain would stop before be descended the other side.
Stop it did as we got to the top but we were still very careful dropping down into Aberdare and by the time we got to the bottom it was warm sunshine again. We took the direct road up to Cefn Rhigos and into glynneath, where the pace picked up on the TT route. Due to the headwind it stayed together until the ever critical “rock”, where the Secretary attacked on the climb to test some legs, before being closed down by Gruff and Lee P. Those three battled it out for the sign, with the Secretary taking the sign – Still life in the old dog yet :).
From there we started to break up through Cadoxton and Skewen as everyone made their own way home. Total for me was 70 miles although others had more.
Points: Mark has the photo
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