The slightly tricky bit was how to bike with her, but then get back to my van. A plan was hatched that I would meet her near Betws y Coed at the Marin Trail centre and bike with her over to Ffestiniog and then head back, either the same route or by Penmachno.
|The damp start for me at the Marin Centre!|
|slippy single track|
|Unrideable track over to Dolwyddelan|
|Nice track, still raining|
|This looks flat, but actually it was quite steep!|
|At the edge/lip of the big quarry!|
|Bye Jo (the first time!!)|
By now committed I cycled the track thinking I'm lost, but I don't have many options I have to see where this goes. Then I saw a cyclist heading towards me (phew, saviour), I can ask them where I am! Oh its Jo!!!! What on earth has happened!? No idea but somehow I've gone in a complete circle and got ahead of Jo who's on her correct route heading South!! Even when I downloaded my bike GPS route later at home it doesn't show how this actually happened (Welsh Triangle or time travel I think).
I was totally stuck at this point.... it would be foolish to try and go back on my own into the mist and try again as I was now in a completely different place/location. The only safe plan was to carry on with Jo at this point. Jo suggested I continue on her whole route and stay at Corris, but I had to be back in the Lakes for climbing on Sunday so this wasn't really an option.
We carried on down the mine tracks, checking our position at the junctions with the GPS to be sure the ground matched the map. At a point where it looked possible to cut across to Penmachno again we parted.
The next 30 minutes were quite tense, exhilarating and stressful as I headed off into the mist following macro land features (the edge of a forest and big ground features) and my nose. Eventually I passed through lots more complex mine workings before finding a decent track that dropped me down and eventually out of the bad weather and into the Penmachno Valley! Phew!
As time wasn't on my side I just blasted back mainly on the road (with odd quick forest section) the 20 or so km to the van as the sun finally came out and I gradually dried off after 6 hours of damp cycling.
Its ages (can't remember when) since I was stretched like this, both physically having not biked much this year, and mentally, carrying on in the rain, unfamiliar terrain/area, unclear navigation, wet/cold, all impacting decision making. But its these testing/challenging days that you get the biggest reward from. So thanks Jo, what a great day.
If you want to hear about Jo's journey check out this (Huw's) blog.