A hill by any other name would feel as steep …

Map reference: Sennybridge loop, 84k, 1,940m climbing, 4 hours and 20 mins

Carbs and caffeine: musette consisting of cheese sandwich from yesterday’s packed lunch, cold cross bun, handful of jelly babies

Spotted: snowcapped mountains, two dogs wearing pink jackets, a white Lamborghini (several times), a boy-racer in a Honda (twice was more than enough)… and a lost Tesco van

Husband and I had thought we might go out for a massive ride today,  but we slept in until 8am and didn’t feel like rushing. We didn’t push off until nearly 10am and wanted to be back for the rugby, Wales v Ireland, with both teams being supported here (albeit middle son only supporting Ireland because green is his favourite colour). My eldest son had half an éclair riding on the result, and got to scoff it as Wales won.

It was cold but beautiful as we set out towards Trecastle along a back road that eventually, and unexpectedly, gave us sight of snowcapped peaks. Wales is really such a beautiful country, none better when the sun is shining. After an hour and a half, we were at the bottom of “The Hill With No Name” (aka A4069 between Capel Gwynfe and Bryamman). It’s a lovely, sweeping, long Alpine style climb with few cars and a scattering of puffing cyclists.

By now my legs had recovered from our hilly start (300m climbing in the first 30 mins had me reaching for the painkillers for my back again) and I determinedly, and pretty easily, made it up in my large cog. We then pedalled on down to Bryamman, turned back on ourselves and I then repeated the big cog challenge, against the wind all the way back to the top. Then – you guessed it – we went down the hill and up one more time… in the big cog. My Garmin occasionally reached 18 per cent, but was often around 5 per cent, with the longer sections being about 7 per cent, I reckon.

By then it was time to abandon our hilly playground and head for home. Pretty soon heavy legs set in, even Husband was feeling it. I had wanted to get all the way back in the large cog, but a really short 20 percenter forced me to submit to the clickity-click-phew method. No shame in that, that small cog is there for a reason.

Note to my Aunt Myfanwy: I thought of you lots today as we passed through your gorgeous Welsh countryside and within a few miles of your sickbed. I do hope you get better soon. x 

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