Tales from the road...
Sunday, 27th December.
Boxing Day’s travails had taken their toll and thus expectations of a two-day run of enthusiasm were duly low. However, never say never; a Sunday morning gathering occurred complete with dog-anxiety training to boot. Absent from proceedings were the heroes from Boxing Day, namely Dunno (still polishing his stainless stays), Dunno-in-law Carl (still recovering from Dunno’s cycle-fit experience), Haddock (possibly still removing flora from his facial hair) and several others for whom Boxing Day nights were being recovered from. No, it was left to a dedicated few to uphold the Christmas season presence on the mucky, sloppy and soggy lanes to Newport and back. Resplendent in stainless mudguards, the big H led the way through St.Dogs and beyond whilst Javlar, Ll Cool J, Ll Cool J Jnr. and Fandango followed in the splash-free environment created behind. Yes, Fandango had surfaced for a second day on the trot; clearly training has begun early for our over-geared, under-washed Bianchi-riding fool. At least his Ass Saver was fitted correctly – an appendage, Ll Cool J reminded, that was first modelled on board the aforementioned rap star’s ride. Trend-setter or what? Tempted into a new coffs ‘n’ scoffs establishment by the sultry come-hither motion aimed at the Lycra Heroes by incumbent local beauties, tales were exchanged over caffeine covering topics including crop rotation, GT85 as an eau de toilette, the Archers, Branston Pickle, precision agriculture, headlamps in Tesco, motorcycling and mince pies. The week ahead looks grim for cycling ambitions, therefore the past two days might be the beginning and end of Fandango’s training programme, only time and Behnaz will tell.
And Jayney K was providing the encouragment for the ladies today:
"...A hastily cobbled get-together to save a rufty-tufty threesome from Christmas inertia brought out Meinir, Julie and Jayne to defy monsoons and heatwaves. Wagging of tails and greetings coupled with sharing of talk about bike related Christmas presents ensued before said girls headed off towards Cwm Degwel and the higher reaches. That Holy Grail of West Wales rides i.e. a flat one, was Meinir's aim today. Well, it was almost flat apart from said cwm but the girls were also in search of that other holy grail: fitness and weight loss. Ah so much better to travel that route than arrive (arrival being rarely achieved). Golden halos of good intention adorned their heads as they did their best to power down to Eglwswrw and beyond along a fast stretch to Boncath. As drizzle set in, the last vestiges of Christmas lights were switched on front and back of 2-wheeled steeds. Before long they were wizzing down towards Llechryd then a left turn brought them down to Cilgerran. After riding through the Wildlife Centre, the threesome found great delight and eye-popping deliciousness among the cakes and hot drinks at Cafe 1 in Cardigan's high street. Muddy, wet bottoms were well wiped across the seats as the girls tucked into their nosh and thoughts turned to next year's cycle adventures...!"
Saturday, 26th December.
Quantum of Solace was starting to make sense; he understood the references. He could relate to the previous night’s Casino Royale-fest; at last, clarity on the Craig quadrigeminal. And in that special moment of lucidity, he knew what he must do: Stop watching Christmas telly repeats and respond to the enthusiasm emanating from AndrooL’s txts; a Boxing Day club ride was in the offing. Upon receipt of several similarly-exuberant messages, VT’s TxtMnky was in no doubt – Santa had delivered extra parcels of oompf to the Club Massive. So it was, with only the faintest whiff of turkey gravy farts, that the Club’s ardour materialised in Finch Square, primed for a post-indulgence sojourn to witness the madness of Boxing Day sea-splashing at Aberporth, then moving on for coff’s ‘n’ scoffs in Emlyn. Outed as a Boxing Day lift-getter, Tommy K was shamed into confession – citing pedal failure slash emergency pedal changes at the last minute delaying his timely departure. A long standing friend of Fandango, Cardiff John, joined the outing – clearly 25 years of acquaintance with the co-Chair hadn’t scarred him, but his choice of ride buddies was beginning to look suspect. Dunno had contorted son-in-law-to-be, Carl (great name), into a suitably chiropractic’s nightmare of a riding position so that he may enjoy the joie de vivreof a VT ride out atop Dunno’s mudguarded Cannondale of Christmas Past. Ian had opted for full-leg coverage again and Haddock was still extolling the weightiness of his steed to anyone who would listen or was too weak to ride away from our very own Robert Downey Jr. [I’m guessing that’s a really weak link to Iron Man or something? – Ed.]. Last, but not least, was the hero of the hour, mud guard transgressor and recovering Surgeon’s topic du jour, AndrooL. Having banished any notion of a lift to Cardigan, our one-and-a-bit legged superstar battled 40mph headwinds to show just what it takes to claim the crown of HMoC; young Kurowski, take note. And what a day out it was. High speed jinxs dropping into Aberporth saw Haddock fish-tailing like, well, a Haddock and Fandango quickly ran out of talent as he emergency-braked to avoid unnecessary rear-ending of a fish. Tommy K had forgone his micrometer and reached for his tape measure to gauge the rapid wear occurring on his gritted rims as he entered the braking-fray also. And after all that, our merry band were left wondering where the challenge lay for the witnessed-hundreds of beach dwellers enjoying a warmer day’s paddle than was available in June. Onwards to Emlyn, the group following a carefully crafted route, chosen through expertise in local meteorological conditions coupled with intimate knowledge of Ceredigion’s backroads that ‘guaranteed’ a gale-free jaunt into the Teifi valley. Faces contorted with pain, eyes watering through exposure and quads bursting with effort, the group thanked Fandango for imparting his local knowledge and then duly suggested he keep his good ideas to himself in the future. With free mince pies scoffed and the temptation to settle-in for the afternoon quoshed, the group said the Boxing Day farewells. For the Western Teifi Valley dwellers, more entertainment was just around the corner. Literally. Swooping through the gloop with gay abandon, Haddock was intrigued to hear Fandango shouting ‘tree!’ to no one in particular. Preparing his ‘wood’ puns and getting ready to fire his single-entendre machine gun, Haddock was still chuckling to himself as the first branches of the giant fallen tree reached out for his general being. Squeaking to halt with grasping wooden tentacles millimetres from his head, our hero breathed a sigh of relief; Haddock had avoided an impromptu transformation into Treebeard. Or so he thought, forgetting about the incoming Exocet also known as Ian whose time to impact was now being indicated in seconds... “My face! Not my face! Arghh!” cried the Rider-Formerly-Known-As-Haddock as he was unceremoniously launched into the arms of the welcoming topiary that covered most of the road. Yes, Boxing Day rides are special, aren’t they – just ask Treecheeks. Before we finish, two spesh menches almost slipped through the net:
1. For the best sprout recipe in the world contact Haddock / Si / Treeface;
2. For advice on how to make amends for crud catcher transgressions, do not contact AndrooL whose Ass Saver fitment attempt had clearly been handed to a less than competent team of drunken Proboscis monkeys.
Sunday, 20th December.
Floods, plagues and pestilence couldn’t keep a determined Fandango from losing his winter 2015 cherry today; the latter two biblical afflictions were easily dealt with (53x17, 95rpm and your through Llechryd in no time) but the little matter of a submerged road and the aforementioned village’s bridge seemingly MIA, scuppered our hero’s early arrival intentions. The wiser men amongst the gathered pre-Christmas VT peloton that had travelled from afar, had opted for mechanical assistance in getting to the meeting point and were suitably clean, fresh and warmed by their respective car heaters. And so it was with the usual rapture that the bedraggled, slightly sweaty and Ass Saver-sporting co-Chairman was welcomed by the assembled winter hardcore. Fandango’s concession to all things ‘mudguard’ was soon put into pitiful perspective as Richard’s magnificent stainless efforts glinted in the wintery sun whilst Dunno’s Hallet-Hasbeens mildy scuffed the tyres in greeting. And then there was AndrooL... His bicycle was in usual gleaming fettle, oozing Italian loveliness, except something was wrong. Something wasn’t quite right. The picture was both familiar and troubling at the same time. OH MY CHRIST ON A STICK! WHAT’S THAT? MY EYES! MY EYES! ARGHHH! Seemingly, AndrooL had left his Pride of Cambiago unattended at some point allowing unwelcome attention from the Goblins of Gopping, joined by the Fairies of Foul, supported by the Pixies of Profligate and backed up by the Ogres of Odious. The resultant efforts of these Beasts of Bad Taste protruded rearwards from his seatpost like a carbuncle from hell; in fact, it protruded so far rearwards that small children at the roadside ducked to avoid facial contusions, scarring or worse, permanent blinding, as AndrooL turned corners; Boadicea would have been proud (if composite plastics had been available in 50 AD). Later, the somewhat inevitable chase-from-a-small-terrier occurred and Tommy K was heard to comment, “The dog would have given up 10 minutes ago if it hadn’t caught sight of Andrew’s crud-catcher...” So the lesson remains extant kids – mudguards are an unnecessary evil. Also present today and exchanging Bianchi kisses with Fandango, was Jayney K; bereft of Team Grrrrrlpower today, but that didn’t stop her recruitment drive with one of the better-halves of the Aberporth Massive, with whom festive cheer was exchanged before they all set off flood-hunting. Resplendent in downtube-shifter loveliness was Haddock, who was taking every opportunity to load up his Single-Entendre Machine Gun only to pull the trigger at any unsuspecting cake-eating, milk-squeezing compatriot in the pub. Yes, a pub in the suburb of Birmingham was the caff du jour, as the targeted cafe par excellence was shut. Due to weather or offensive mudguards it wasn’t clear, but shut nonetheless. In other news, Ian had opted for a fuller leg today, so previous tales of hock were nullified, providing Dunno with limited targets of opportunity all through the morning. And speaking of Dunno, I’ve managed to get all the way to the end without mentioning his lady’s stockings... Oh, well, almost managed, that is.
Sunday, 13th December.
Special Agent Dunno reporting from the dank frontline that was Sunday's outing:
"...It was a distinctly damp and drear Cardigan that saw five doughty VT’ers gather for a Sunday spin, surprisingly one of the best turn outs for weeks. Iwan, Dunno, Haddock, Tom and last but certainly not least, Ian hotly denying that his recent absence from VT was due to training activities concomitant with the dark arts of Triathlon. Haddock was expected for family lunch duties and so it was decided that, following a drive-by abuse of Chez Fandango, a saunter along the coast towards Aberporth was in order thus allowing an easy return to St Dogs. An added draw was the rumour of a new caff and new caffs are always worth checking out aren’t they? Fandango abuse was duly served and off we set. Haddock had clearly breakfasted on three Shredded Wheat, a six pack of Red Bull and other soon to be banned substances for there he was, hardly beyond the city limits, disappearing into the mist, pedal to pedal with Tom. This despite constant moaning about the heaviness of his retroesque carbon/aluminium/kelp kit bike. “Oh it’s so heavy but it looks good doesn’t it? Have you seen my special Brooks saddle? That’s heavy too but not as heavy as my other Brooks saddle, that’s original you know just like my authentic gear levers, they’re heavy as well. Did I mention how heavy my bike is? And I don’t get out much either I’m so unfit blah di blah di blah…” ……. and relax. Whilst on the subject of style, mention should be made of the legs. Yes, Ian was displaying a shapely calf and a manly knee, two of them in fact. Old ladies swooned and old men cursed in impotent envy but Ian was oblivious to them, just as he was to winter’s threat. The thermometer is in positive territory and so a hairy hock must be shown. All of which was counterpoint to the studied use of a Barbie-pink fairy light atop Tom’s handlebars. How interesting it must be at Uni. Iwan was greatly impressed by this display and needed little encouragement later on to join this fashion fest with a showing of a rather fetching Rapha top. I confess to feeling a little left out and doubt whether my Aldi knee socks really cut the mustard in this company but, I digress. On with the ride. Well, the Aberporth caff seemed to be out of bounds for us sat, as it was, at the foot of a flight of steps, so it was farewell to Haddock and on to the Llangranog standby for the rest of us. The climb out of Tresaith was just as challenging as the last time I was dragged up it and Iwan wished he had put on his cycling legs instead of his rowing ones. We all like a good downhill don’t we? But they’re much more fun in the wet, on moss covered hairpins with slick mud between block and rim. Throw in oncoming traffic and limited skill you have a perfect mix and the reason why there is a market out there for brown corduroy cycling tights. After peanut and white chocolate slice it was back up to Brynhoffnant and Emlyn-side for me and Tom but not before a climb out of the cove that was accompanied by a full on impression by Ian of a 1928 shunting engine shifting coal wagons in the marshalling yards of Port Talbot. Marvellous..."
Sunday, 6th December.
Reporting duties fell to Trebedw's very own Poet Laureate today. Over to you, Cynan:
"...Should I risk going on the club run? According to Behnez, the weather should be OK up until 14:00. Plenty of time to get some miles in then. I looped around Drefach Felindre and called for honorary club member, Stephen Mogs (I don’t think that he’s paid his membership yet...) and we set of for the rendezvous point in downtown Newcastle Emlyn. Upon arrival I immediately regretted bragging to my sidekick that we probably had 80-100 members in the club. Difficult to back up such assertion with nobody around. Nothing, nada – a ghost town; Emlyn looked like an abandoned Pobl Y Cwm set. Five minutes later, cutting a dash through the eerie silence, Dunno appeared reporting that he’d seen Brian getting some cheeky warm up miles in before we set off. And once Brian had finished his sprint sessions (or whatever he was doing), it was decided that good old Llangrannog was to be our destination. We battled into the head wind all the way up to Brynhoffnant then plummeted down to Llangronnog; Brian even managed to go around the S-bends this time without falling off - all that Bike Park Wales action is finally paying off, it seems. The obligatory two-shot cappuccinos were slurped and cakes scoffed. Just the ride up to Plwmp to deal with then, should be no problem. Then the dreaded “cake legs” kicked in. Damn you chocolate brownie!!!! And with that, Dunno and Brian flew past me (note to self: must get fit). Another win for experience over youth! Thankfully , Stephen was suffering just as much as I was, so at least I had company. Just as we were about to get back on the main road the heavens opened. It was only 12:30; 12 bloody 30. Drenched. My first thought was, when I get back, I shall be writing a very stern email to Ms. Akhgar; absolutely clueless. Therefore, because of the rain, it was a swift dash back through Rhydlewis along Brongest bypass and then home to fire up the ipad: Dear BBC, why oh why oh why....”
Sunday, 22nd November.
Sir Graham of Dunnville recorded today's epic:
"...Dawn broke in an unpromising manner - yet more rain. However, the weatherman had promised it would blow over by 10 a.m. followed by large quantities of yellow warm stuff. [Assume you mean the sun, not some sort of problem with incontinence? – Ed.] So, aside with the duvet and jump on the bike. Oh, hang on; best put some cycling gear on first. Porridge fueled and muffled against the cold, it was down to Emlyn for a 0930 meet. Haddock was already there, proudly showing off his latest acquisition, an aluminum-jointed carbon combo with assorted ‘found’ objects to kit it out, including a period Brookes saddle set at a jaunty angle, no doubt intended to keep him awake during the long ride over from St Dogs. Next was The Hallett astride his all-terrain vehicle which, given the assorted mud, leaves, twigs and flooded roads I had already encountered, was a clear demonstration of common sense on his part. We were soon joined by Doc Brian. At first it seemed he had decided to just drive along with us in his car - no doubt ready to offer a ‘sticky bottle’ a la Nibali - but no, a bike was duly extracted and after a quick check round to make sure Fandango wasn’t hiding round the corner [Highly unlikely – Ed.] off we set. Haddock had some strange tale of domestic responsibility. Something involving Haverfordwest, children and a Trumpet. I didn’t really follow the logic but apparently it was more important than cycling and meant an early return in the direction of St Dogs. So Poppit Caff was to be our destination and The Hallet’s very own in-brain route-finder plotted the course. An easy roll down to Cenarth and then the up-and-over to Abercych providing the first segment of early morning lung blowing. As an added pleasure, the weather had decided to ignore the suggestions of the BBC and we were treated to an invigorating shower. We splashed and bounced our way along the banks of a flooded Teifi to Llechryd and I wondered why Castelli didn’t have a range of cycling wellies (I’ll settle for 20% royalties). Back onto roads that didn’t have randomly placed duck ponds, a left and a right took us towards Cilgerran. Finding himself on a long straight bit of tarmac Haddock thought he heard the countdown of a TT and was suddenly off at a rate of knots, assuming an aerodynamic position, or as much of one as a Brookes saddle will allow whilst not inhibiting any marital ambitions he may have. Oh what folly, what wasted watts, what a …… it turned out that our very own Ironman had thought a nice flat run through the marshlands was next on the cards but he hadn’t reckoned with the devious circuitry of Mr Hallet’s Brain-Nav (Patent pending). More altitude was first needed and so it was on to Pen-Y-Bryn, steep down and then even steeper up, up and then up again to the A487. Yours truly would have welcomed a lengthy rest - and maybe oxygen - but cake and coffee were close now and Doc B knew it. He was on familiar ground here and with happy memories of bouncing down this particular road on his head a couple of years ago he led the way before Hallett took the front for the final rattle downhill to Poppit. Sadly Haddock had, by now, bade us farewell and taken the shortcut to St Dogs and so missed the warm fug and misted specs of Poppit Caff. There is nothing finer than warming chilled fingers in front of a crackling log fire after a morning’s sport, but unfortunately we had to make do with what looked like a hairdryer. No matter, tea, coffee, carrot cake were just enough to distract us from soggy pants. At long last the weatherman’s predictions came true and a wintry but warmish sun was out to help us back to Emlyn. A fairly straight route was taken but our navigator was still keen to demonstrate ‘the superior handling of a 650B’ and so a reversed repeat of the Llechryd to Abercych duckponds was taken before a final charge into Emlyn. Despite a soaking and accumulating a couple of kilos of muck and grit in my back pocket another great morning’s ride was had..."
Sunday, 1st November.
“...Happy Birthday to Javlar,
Happy Birthday to Jav.
Happy Birthday dear Javster,
Happy Birthday to Mike.
Our little pressie to his Jav-ness was a glorious summer day to behold; once clear of the Teifi Valley’s misty grasp the gift that kept on giving was revealed. With a run through Cilgerran, up and over to Abercych (and back into the mist) and then on up to Trelech, the clothing layers were being discarded with every 10 metres of ascent. Scooting through Five Roads and past the windmills to Emlyn, Brian was flying and several minutes of max effort were required to catch Doc Speednasty before the coffee and [birthday] cake stop. With the 58 candles extinguished, the group took the brave option to return to Cardiville via the old road from Emlyn and thus see off the best part 40 miles coupled with a cheeky sunburns all round. “Ah, these heady days of summer – will they ever end?” mused the day’s sun worshippers.
And, like real men of Velo Teifi, the girls have been drinking beer...
"...And the winner of the Velo Teifi Ladies Bake Off is... Drooling over the plump nuts [you saw the boys then? winkey face – Ed], sloshed with golden salted caramel, the female cyclist bit delectably into soft buttercream before dark forbidden chocolate sent her taste buds stratospheric. Woken from her reverie, she and her partner in crime decided that Llangrannog cafe had won the award. A glorious summer's day for November brought out that feisty duo Meinir and Jayney K to conquer the cols de Tresaith, Penmorfa, Llangrannog and Brongest. Butterflies flitted past and glimpses heavenwards saw not a whiff of a cloud. Woodsmoke filled their nostrils and their cheeks were soon aglow (facial ones, silly!) After swooshing down the descent to Rhydlewis the twosome took the little used lane to Brongest and, still in awe of the golden vistas, they attacked the final col de Brongest with gusto. A gentle ride along a false flat brought them to the Beulah road and eventually the Gogerddan Arms where cooling pints were enjoyed on the terrace. (Don't tempt fate by asking when winter will arrive.)..."
Sunday, 25th October.
“...Stunned by the first blow, Viking Prince Hallett dismounted, crouched and considered his situation. Without his lindiskjöldr the Norseman was forced to commandeer his front wheel; held firmly at the spokes and resting along his forearm, it would do but it was no Gokstad shield that was for certain. The absence of a Mammen axe was a clear disadvantage, but an appropriately presented Lezyne pump would suffice. He was ready for battle.
The aggressor circled above, watching. Perhaps Huginn and Munin would see the unfolding drama from on the wing and report of Prince Hallett’s bravery to Odin, the deity simultaneously responsible for war, poetry and sorcery. Should the Prince be chosen to die a good death today, the Valkyries – the Chooser of the Slain – would surely be hovering above to bring him to Valhalla.
Massive of span and with talons capable of crushing skulls, the steely-eyed hunter observed the curiosity below, bereft of the usual helmet worn by such warriors. To grasp his puny head and lift him high above his now-dismantled contraption would be easy. The powerful beak would make short work of the Viking Prince’s fleshy parts; yes, the brood would feed well tonight...”
Prompted by Owen’s tale of avian onslaught not normally associated with training for Ironman (we assured him it was more likely a buzzard than an eagle), our local frame builder extraordinaire and practised man of words regaled us with his own experience of bird wrestling. Sadly, not in a ‘look at that huge pool of jelly, what could we possibly use that for?’ type of way, though. The yarn conjured images of Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis in The Vikings therefore no Velo Teifi embellishment was necessary. Honest. Rumour of Richard having taken to wearing an eye patch may be exaggerated, however.
A chilly morning saw the return of VT Co-Chair, AndrooL now firmly turning the cranks of recovery, albeit with asymmetric limbs at this time, the recovering leg dwarfed by the massive quadriceps of the well-honed good pin. And speaking of dwarfs, it was agreed by all riders that 5’ 8” is an immense, towering, imposing height and anything beyond that altitude was the stuff of freakville and circus side-shows. At least, that’s what the lesser-spotted Fandango heard, ignoring the wider discussion regarding All Black massiveness. Yes, Fandango had found the shed keys again and deemed the morning one where His Presence would indeed grace the gathering. Although Fandango had early morning doubts as he waited and waited for his Javness to join him for the ride to Emlyn, suspecting pranking shenanigans by the Javster as a form of punishment for lack of commitment over the previous months. No japes however, merely an early morning software download delaying the Strava KOM King. Fandango’s head start was short-lived and he was soon caught, in fact the morning saw His Infrequentness quietly contemplating his general lack of form as he struggled to keep up with AndrooL’s good leg, let alone the evenly paced ride out to Poppit.
And from the girls:
'But you said there weren't going to be any hills today!'
'Oh, I forgot about that one. It was only small.'
Once again, Julie, Hilary and Jayne discussed the presence or otherwise of hills on ladies’ Velo Teifi rides. Maybe Jayney K is in denial about the presence of said land forms in west Wales or maybe she’s going a bit gaga in her dotage; next time there’s a coffee and cake stop at the old folks’ home in Crymych, expect the departing group to be one less. The aforementioned threesome plus Meinir (who left the peloton at Aberporth for another engagement) took the coastal lanes to Blaenporth before making a fast descent to the Cardigan/Newcastle Emlyn ‘B’ road. The girls got into time trial mode, sweeping down Lady Road and taking the twists and turns and bumpy bits in their stride before crossing Llechryd bridge whereupon thoughts turned to coffee and cake whilst riding through Cilgerran. So it was a rapid push along the lane to the Wildlife Centre where well earned munchies were taken. Thoughts turned to Christmas [Stop it! – Ed.] as said venue's Christmas dinner menu was displayed. An enjoyable ride with extra brownie points going to Hilary and Julie who continued riding back to Newcastle Emlyn.
Sunday, 4th October.
Oh dear God, they're now providing titles for their stories too... From the girls:
"Socks, squeaks and Two Hoots."
Sunday saw the last hurrah of the fine weather as the ladies threw caution to the wind with an away day from Aberystwyth leisure centre to Devil's Bridge. Winding along new lanes, the girls travelled almost in line with the puffer train of the Rheidol railway [less hot air from the train though... – Ed.]. Railway tracks were crossed to shouts of 'train' instead of 'car' and then a steep, nasty, evil hill of two miles length and impossible gradient was reached... Comments of, "I will have to go in socks because I cannot walk in my cleats," and," I am sure I have a squeak," emanated from the usually tough, no-nonsense bunch. At last, the main road was reached and the Ladyton sailed down to "Two Hoots" station cafe at the end of the railway line. Sinking into comfy chairs and enjoying delicious grub plus early autumn sunshine, the girls were reluctant to remount their steeds and continue on. However, it was more or less downhill following the Ystwyth valley amidst spectacular views, whizzing down dry, gently winding roads through Hafod and Pontrhydygroes until the Ystwyth cycle track was met. A straight, flat, slightly rough track was punctuated with a stop at the bouncy suspension bridge which brought out the sillier side to the girls as they attempted the "hokey- cokey " on said bridge. Fortunately the bridge did not collapse. Back on the main road to Aberystwyth and a quick detour around the hill fort via the cycle track until town was reached with the return to the start point achieved via the Prom. A great ride, courtesy of route-planner extraordinaire, Alison.
Sunday, 20th September.
Are there any men in this club that ride on a Sunday? Are there any men that ride and can form coherent sentences in this club, we wonder... As is becoming the norm, the girls keep us posted of their exploits. Just the three of them this time:
"... Hilary, Alison and Jayne left Newcastle Emlyn for Henllan via the uphill route (what's new?), heading towards Brongest. Tales of derring-do from Alison and husband Tim about their cycling trip to France were listened to avidly - what fitness she must have now! From Brongest to Beulah, the' gossipsome' trio climbed steadily but found welcome relief in a chance to chat to a cheery couple with four wiry little dogs of dubious ancestry (OK one was a Jack Russell). As chat progressed, the dogs' thoughts seemed to turn to food as their eyes seemed to be summing up the tastiness of the ladies’ legs! No, our legs are not dog chews! Time to leave... Onward then to Beulah before whizzing down to Neuadd Cross. A roller coaster ride brought them to Capel Tygwydd and a further fast descent before arriving at Cenarth for well deserved coffee and cake. And more gossip..."
Sunday, 14th September.
The girls have been out. Silly hillocks...
"...We departed Crymych with the intention of a fairly relaxed, non-hilly jaunt south of the Preselis. Well intentioned but unrealistic, the girls realised that there were hillocks aplenty, as well as large pelotons of sheep blocking the road and leaving the girls with greeny-brown mementos soon to be smeared all around brakes and other places that prove difficult to wash off. The day was still and mild with first hints of autumn appearing. An enjoyable ride nonetheless and we finished off with a visit to the old folks' home for coffee and biscuits..."
Sunday, 6th September.
Dunno waxes lyrical after another great morning:
"...There was a definite EU colour to the VT ride today with representatives from no fewer than four nations. The Welsh, of course, were there; playing at home with the strong tag team of youth (Tom) and experience (John). A couple of English toffs (Graham and Richard) were displaying the natural aloofness of those to the manor born and a fondness for the showers of Eton. Carrying his own bag of medications and supplements was one of Kelly’s heroes (Sean, that is), the indomitable Brian and from the flatlands of Nether was the flying Dutchman, Rik. Congress was called to order and a unanimous decision was taken to test the limits of the Schengen agreement and cycle to Llangrannog for Cake and Latte. Along the Teifi to Llandyfriog and the first climb of the day. Steadily taken by all and interrupted only by mutterings of ‘are you sure this is the way?’, we soon found ourselves surveying the vale of Rhydlewis and charging along the Brongest bypass; it’s always better to pass-by Brongest, lest you never find a low enough gear to get out again. The same may almost be said of the way out of Rhydlewis. The road out to Brynhoffnant gives a kick like a mule before continuing at a long, leg-sapping slog often promising to level out but then rising again just as you thought you could sit up. Welsh youth was off at a sharp pace. But if Tom was riding like super ‘G’ then we had our very own Dumoulin in the shape of Rik. The very shape of a time trialer from the Low Countries, he ignored inclines and appeared to never change gear or cadence. As these two disappeared up the hill, the rest of us pursued as best we could and at long last we regrouped at Brynhoffnant. With Richard sent on ahead to clear the way of obstructions we tucked into crossbars for a fast rattle down to Grog. At the final hairpins it was evident that he hadn’t cleared everything out of the way and pant filling manoeuvres were made to avoid an oncoming car. Oh where are those brown corduroy bibshorts when you need them? Anyway, the usual scoffing was done, sporting wrongs righted and the return ride made the easy way up to Bryn and homeward. What more can you want from a Sunday morning..."
Sunday, 30th August.
From Jayney K.:
"...The girls were not allowing the Bank Holiday weekend to get in the way of their bike fun as they departed Ffostrassol for Cwmtydu. Fitness was indicated by a rapid ascendency [always in the ascendancy, those girls – Ed.] on the hills before plummeting down towards Plwmp. Sailing through the wooded valley, the girls passed the dog agility training centre (would Carl's dogs like a go?) [no, they’re agile enough – Ed.] At a very peaceful and autumnally (!) still Cwmtydu, the only coffee and cake shop was not yet open - alas we were too fast!) so with munchy bars ingested, the girls attacked the infamous hairpins out of the bay. (Remember that if you are walking up at this point always jump onto the bike as soon as you see any pedestrians and they can marvel at the stupendous effort that you have made up the hill.) A peloton of cattle trundling, pooing and munching their way along the road soon put a stop to any ideas of pushing on after the climb and thoughts of bike cleaning came to mind. Eventually the gang were wending their way back along lanes, taking in various circuitous routes, watching buzzards and avoiding frogs on the road before finally settling for coffee and crisps at the pub. Bravo to Hillary for then cycling back to Newcastle Emlyn via Llandyssul rather than taking a lift..."
Sunday, 16th August.
Slight chill. Gravel. Members’ choice. Bridge. Democracy. Return of Aled. Chatter. Ll Cool J. Middle of the road prancing. Banana. Tubs. Retro-hipster. Glue-talk. Route change. First climb. Second climb. Pacy. Bumpy. 650b. Preseli views. Water. Damp bike fear. 650b. Main road. 2x2 paceline. Five seconds. Though and gone. Singlefile paceline. 650b. Cynan-leadout. Sprint for the line. Toast. Eventually. Unfortunate military types. Cakes. Tea. Hallett in brownie points hunt. Eggs. Eventually. Caffeine. BMW penis substitute. Bad parking. Trewern. Bikey talk. Fell running. Glanrhyd sooner than expected. Lung buster. New faces. Pained. Croft. Departures. Grand morning. Super. Smashing. Great.
Sunday, 2nd August.
The ladies have been touring North Pembrokeshire:
"...Today, the ladies ride began on The Parrog, Newport and for some reason only known to them, they headed straight up hill, huffing, puffing and swearing their way up to the Col de Bedd Morris. With breathtaking views taken in, the group made the fast descent to 'Bessies' amidst more swearing. Photo opportunities of the pub were taken (pub not yet open) and the old dog patted [not Bessie herself, I assume – Ed.], the girls ventured on their way along the Gwaun Valley absorbing the sense of ancient history and the natural world at her best. An elderly gent on what appeared to be a mountain bike going at a rate of knots turned out to be Meinir's dad on his e-bike. Rider of the Day award, sir, for getting out there! Sweeping down sun dappled lanes, Jayney K was forced into evasive manoeuvres to avoid fast approaching-and-much-too-wide-and-shiny-open-top-Mercedes. The driver sported a shiny head not similar to Fandango, but it’s not clear whether the Co-Chair was lurking in the back lanes or not... Whilst tucking into the side of the road to avoid scratching said shiny vehicle/head, Jayney was attacked by two poodles with ill intent. Clearly Rottweillers disguidsed as Poodles! The Lady peloton continued their way to Col de Carnedd Meibion-Owen before dropping down to Pentre Ifan where they took time to visit the ancient dolmen. Photos taken [but not shared, we note – Ed.] they returned for coffee and cake at the Parrog and the company of Ioan and Mags..."
Sunday, 19th July.
Dunno has dipped his quill once more and offered the folllowing tale of alter-egos, cake and double-entendre:
"...Normally, after a Saturday jaunt such as the excellent Elan Valley ‘Awayday’ (see website for pics, etc.) legs, feet, back and random other body parts would be demanding a Sunday lie-in. Yet despite overt texting from the darkside (Fandango) to do so, sighting of blue stuff through the bedroom window and the remaining buzz of bike-orphins (like endorphins only more addictive) was sufficient to get me on the road to Cardi for a 9.30 VT bash. Also up for the Sunday serving were Flying Dutchvet Rik, just recovered from a bull wrangling-induced broken arm, Ian the Man, also high on Elan Valley brain-fun and, new to VT jollies, Cynyr with a one-day pass allowing free and unfettered travel out of Llangrannog. Cynyr’s hard won leave was instantly disregarded by Ian’s proposal that we take the coast roads to LLangrannog for beach views and cake-based tuck. Seconded by Dunno and thirded(??) by Rik, off we set. First there was the obligatory drive-by of Fandango Villas. No gangland shootings you understand, just early morning verbal abuse of the lazy co-Chair. As is well known, Ian the Man has a Pavlovian reaction to any incline, instantly giving his impression of a bulked up Contador at the first sniff of a hill, slope or general increase in elevation. So it was this morning as we left the city limits and turned into the Ceredigion rollers [is that like the Bay City variety, but sweatier? – Ed.]. Now, yes I can hear some of you protesting ‘Hold on a minute, Dunno, aren’t you similarly afflicted by the hill twitch?’ It cannot be denied. Like Mr Pavlov’s dog, I needed no encouragement to be barking and snapping at Ian’s heels. Soon the two of us were ratcheting up the pace, panting and gasping with Rik and Cynyr calmly rolling in our wheezy wake. Something had to give and it turned out to be Dunno’s legs. A more leisurely pace was resumed, though the decent to Aberporth never fails to expose the looney fringe downhillers and Cynyr showed himself keen to fill the role playing the game of ‘let’s see how close we can get to the last bend before braking’. At Tresaith we didn’t so much attack the hill out, rather it seemed to attack us. Ian ducked and dived, rolling with the punches. Dunno took a philosophical approach as the pain increased knowing that, as the Buddha said (or was it George Harrison) ‘All things come to pass’. Cynyr and Rik pressed on manfully and if it seemed Cynyr held off to pace himself then certainly Rik switched on his internal Van der Graff generator and accelerated to the very top. LLangranog was found to be in the usual place, occupied at this time of year by happy families and disgracefully healthy looking lifeguards. Energy levels replenished by caff nosh we left the land of nog before Ian could give in to an urge to go skinny dipping. The ascent to Brynhoffnant was enlivened by the formation of the VT amateur dramatics society and the spontaneous production of extracts from this year’s Tour de France. Ian was the very essence of Contador, dancing on his pedals while Dunno channeled the spirit of Froome in a display of spinning not seen outside the Rhydlewis over 60’s Thursday night keep-fit class. The Dutch master went all Spanish and suddenly there on the road was Valverde surging ahead. Sadly, Cynyr was too full of cake and what should have been the little man from Columbia turned into a Nibali only without the bottle throwing. A compulsory choo choo train took us to Gogerddan where Dunno and Rik got off [unfortunate phrase that; ‘alighted’ might have raised less suspicion… - Ed.] and waved and cheery farewell to the others..."
Jayney K reports on the girls' big morning out:
"...Those rufty-tufty vixens took on the climbs towards the windmills [what, Holland? – Ed.] in what was perfect cycling weather, despite the TxtMnky’s best effort to promote lazy Sundays. Above Penherber the team realised that a fast approaching peloton of about 100 large woolly and menacing sheep (revenge for last week) was on their case and they were not going to take prisoners. Thoughts of rolling in sheep s*** while hooves thundered over them was enough to make the girls discover rarely used uphill sprinting skills; buckets of sweat doused the top tubes. A father and son farming duo lounging at an open farm gate greeted us with grins as the girls struggled past and on to the windmills. At ‘Five Roads’ the girls breathed again, feeling relieved and sheepless. From there, it was a swift, if famously bumpy, ride down to coffee and cake at the Woolen Mill in Drefach before finally returning to Newcastle Emlyn, smug in their sheep-avoiding, txt-advice denying exploits..."
Sunday, 12th July.
The girls have had an Awayday of their own, as Jayney K explains:
"...As clouds and drizzle cleared, Hilary, Jayne, Meinir and Alison departed the Red Trail car park at Abergorlech heading towards Llansawel and a sharp left turn brought them to a steady climb towards Rhydcymerau. Then began a stepwise set of climbs with nasty little kick-ups, until the "most awesome view in West Wales" was reached at the top. Time for mass photo call as the girls behaved like Japanese tourists. A ride along the plateau with variable gradient brought the girls to an awesome descent with massive views of the whole of West Wales (maybe a slight exaggeration). The thrill of high speed descent was on the agenda here, somewhat tempered by the threat of dirty white woolly objects that stood threateningly at the side of the road, some with proper attitude; shouts of “mint sauce” soon sent them packing! A sharp left turn led to a gradual incline up and over Llanllwni common and another stop to take in the vista; some nibbles were taken and a round of nano-wanging (tossing banana skins to you and me) led Hilary to being crowned the winner with a massive throw of two metres [er, that doesn’t seem very far girls – Ed.]. Off across the common and then a humongous descent in the style of Tdf, down towards Brechfa, enabled the Vixens to display a range of skills [some of them bike riding-related – Ed.] taking on hairpins and long straight runs. With the bikes carefully stowed in cars, the girls relaxed in the garden of the Black Lion. And that’s a whole other story..."
Sunday, 21st June.
The longest day. Especially for those in the company of Fandango today, for particularly unbearable was he post-Velothon ride the week previous. Smug was not the word. Well, it was actually and thus Ian, Ll Cool J, Javlar and Tommy K did their utmost to stay in front of the gloating fool on the day’s route via shiny new tarmac, Newport cake shops and back to Cardiville. Special mention for the Tommy K’s steed of the day, a beautifully restored Colnago – ciao bella!
And from the girls:
"...Today, the ladies headed from Cenarth to play on some interesting hills behind Llandygwydd and thereafter rising ever upwards towards Blaenporth and the coast road. By all accounts, a pleasant ride, chugging along observing wild birds and roadside flowers! The return, via Bowls Road, headed to Neuadd Cross for a thrash down to Cwm Cou. Stories of near-death experiences were contemplated, after being chased by three large dogs at what’s known locally as Sh*t Farm crossing, but legs honed through an active spring season soon outran the mutts before a final descent to Newcastle Emlyn. The adrenaline rush has set the bar for more adventurous rides later in the season; standby for tales of epic proportions in the coming months..."
Sunday, 7th June.
With a James Brown clarion call to remind of the meeting venue, the morning saw half a dozen Soul Brothers take it to the bridge. Fandango was lured out by the promise of warmth and light winds; Dunno made a welcome return from his Mallorcan Odyssey with only a feint whiff of salt and paella and Ian was out to beast his big ring just that little bit more. The funksoulbrothers were also joined by the returning Nic o’ the North, doing his bit for the Celeste Fan Club and, to complete the funk-fest, Ll Cool J had convinced Ll Cool Josh to ride out (and thus set the scene for a morning of ‘Old Bull, Young Bull’). The group ‘got on up’ to Boncath, onto Tegryn, down to Glogue (where Ll Cool J was christened – in VT terms, that is), cruised to Hermon and flouted traffic laws onwards to Crymych. From there, the looping route via Eglwswrw and Glanryhd then saw the majority dive down (get on down) to Poppit for coffee, cake and some deep soul lovin’. Alledgedly. All in all, a cracking summer’s day saw everybody get in to it, man. You know, like a sex machine. Huhhh. Ah one, two, three, four.....
So inspiring was the ride today, Dunno felt compelled to share his love also:
"...So where are the marketing teams for West Wales Tourism; for cycling holidays and bikefests along the by lanes of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire? Where are those pedlars (oops, dodgy pun) of hyperbole and cliché? On such a day as today, fine straplines and purple prose would be insufficient, blessed as we were by such wonderful weather and fabulous country to cycle through. Never mind the Mad Men of advertising, six of our very own not-so-mad men met this morning on the banks of a fulsome Teifi at Llechryd Bridge. Fandango was there to lead us out, displaying a fine tattooed ankle and flared nostrils. Ian Van der Koch, ever ready, was straining at the handlebar itching to attack the nearest hill, hillock or slight incline. Father and son tag team, John and Josh were there, as was occasional (by his own admission) participant Nick. Apparently Nick is so fond of his duvet he only attends club rides when the meeting point is within five minutes of his bed. Last to turn up was another bed hugger, yours truly, fresh from two weeks pretending to be a salty sea dog and sporting a fading Ballearic tan. To the unconstrained joy of Ian, it was straight up the hill to Boncath for a start. Lots of grunting and panting ensued but this isn’t the place to dwell on my personal problems. A long loop to Crymych opened up vistas that were breathtaking had we had any breath to take, yet on we went, tripping round the edges of the Preselis and not always recognising sections last seen during the exertions of the Angel. Poppit was the intended cafe stop but we had to continue without our dear leader who was needed for home duties. Fortunately, John’s in-head sat nav was working fine. If left to the rest of us we would no doubt have been taking tea in Fishguard, but John kept us steady on the Pac Man like route. Again, the welsh coastline posed expectantly for travel mag photos but cake was calling and we rattled down to Poppit caff. No ginger beer, but lashings of everything else were consumed - was that a fruit cake / sausage roll combo there, Ian? The payback for the pleasures of cake is ‘cake legs’ and at least two of us were complaining of this ailment at that horrible little hump on the way back to Cardigan. Once again, a fantastic Sunday ride with good mates, good country and good miles..."
And the Day of Inspiration is completed by Jayney K's update of all things Ladeez....
"...Meinir, Hilary, Alison and Jayne departed Ffos y ffin on a bright and breezy Sunday morning heading south. A circular route was planned, traversing glorious, sun-bathed countryside and not a threat of rain in sight (how rare!). Despite some chilliness, the girls descended to New Quay and a delightful coffee shop; almost as though they were supping lattes in a Mediterranean country. Time was needed to allow the substantial cake offerings to settle in the tummy before they rode off in a northerly direction passing the coastal path and woodland area. (This needed mentioning as Jayney K has never seen New Quay in anything other than rain or fog; she was highly impressed). The final part of the ride took the girls back to Alison's house via Oakford for a few more tasty (and homemade) biscuits in her garden..."
Sunday, 24th May.
Just Jayney et al reporting this week:
"...There was no 'wimping out' by 5 ladies from Crymych this morning as Alison, Hilary, Meinir, Jayne and today's ride organiser, Julie, formed a grand depart towards Hermon. Mist, drizzle, more mist, rain, fog; it kept coming but were they deterred? Not a bit of it. With high vis. waterproofs, the vixens were visible from Mars. "Is there anybody out there?" Guaranteed to be one of the most beautiful views in West Wales, the girls wondered where the Preselis were at one point. However this shortish and flattish ride proved popular and Hilary re-discovered her legs. Congrats. to Hilary! [I suspect they were where she left them... - Ed.] The famous 5 retired (not literally) to the old folks' home for coffee and cake. Sopping wet, the girls may have been amusement of the day to the residents..."
Sunday, 26th April.
Jayney and girls out again:
"...Meinir, Julie and Jayne departed Gogerddan Arms in cold, bright conditions. They road quickly down to Brongest with spring all around them and a spring in their step. Climbing up towards Glynarthen and then Brynhoffnant, they encountered headwinds and steep little hills. Bravely, the girls tackled the Llangrannog hairpins as they swept downwards to the cafe for well earned sustenance. Afterwards it was about negotiating some sharp little hills as they made their way back past Penbryn to the start point. Another Angel practice ride under their belts...."
Sunday, 12th April.
Sisters continue to do it for themselves, as Jayney explains:
"...Paris-Roubaix day and the rufty- tufty vixens Meinir, Julie and Jayne set about their own version in the environs of Fishguard, Letterston, Puncheston and Llanerchaer. Quickly, a three-girl echelon formed to combat the constant headwind, then the sidewinds then more headwind as the threesome negotiated part of the Preseli Angel route; they began to wonder if they would ever complete the course. The lane from 'Finger Post' to Letterston was so pot-holed that Jayney K. wondered if chunks of the lane had been secretly acquired to pave the Aarenberg. An easier ride out of the wind brought the girls to the Drovers Inn where Coca- Cola [other sugary soft drinks are available – Ed.] soon revived them. From there it was thankfully all downhill to Llanerchaer with a decent tailwind to boot. Then, the horror! A 25% climb up a “short cut” to Dinas. Did the girls power up like mountain goats? More like huffing and puffing nanny goats pushing their bikes. A fast sweep down the main road to Newport lifted spirits and the plucky vixens were soon enjoying well deserved refreshments at Morawellan as the rain set in. A good training day..."
Sunday, 5th April. Jayney K and Alison provide a brief glimpse into the world of cake and doggedness:
"...This week, the Vixens made their Grand Depart from Central Cafe, Newcastle Emlyn to take on The Tour of Llandyssul. Forever seeking the Holy Grail of supreme fitness, the intrepid foxes battled heroically up the bypass towards Ffostrassol. Frequent stops enabled them to take on vital fixes of jelly babies, however perseverance and doggedness en route back to Emlyn ensured a happy, warm glow all round, safe in the knowledge that they'd done a good job today. Coffee and cake at Harrisons were well deserved..."
Sunday, 22nd March.
“If it wasn’t for nutters and oddballs, this club would be empty,” was quote of the day from Oddball-in-Chief, AndrooL. But he may have a point... Today’s jaunt tackled the first half of the Preseli Angel, starting and finishing on the Parrog. Blessed with spring sunshine, a cheery group gathered in the fresh Pembrokeshire air; a group that included the lesser-spotted Fandango, now in a blind panic about his lack of bike-time versus the rapidly approaching Tour of Flanders. And with Flanders in mind, our hapless hero had brought his bike “prepared” for the cobblefest; preparedness that seems to comprise some tyres and a spring clean. But in the spirit of Flanders, the group agreed (sort of) to adopt Flemish pseudonyms for the purposes of the ride report and thus keep Fandango inspired enough to crawl his way around the course. To this end, today’s peloton saw supporting roles from Androol-Josef Flemmingsh, Graheem VanDunnegenbroek, Bruyn De VroomenCleattwist, Matthijs De Beanpolesh, Fandangoosh de Slootmaekers, Jonny van WestonGoosens, Rijckaert van MerckxSkoolinnit and, last but not least, or last in any sense of the term given his preference for clearing off the front of the group in Puncheston, never to be seen again, it was agreed rider number 8 was Yannick de Cocke. A name clearly borne out of ire and envy of Yannick’s ability to ride off at will; such legs, so early in the season! After marvelling at Androol-Josef Flemmingsh’s chosen transport to the meet point – some form of Transformer machine that was, all at once, a car, then a bike transporter, then a car again – the group wended its way from Parrog hopeful of meeting Rijckaert van MerckxSkoolinnit who was competing in some form of sadomasochist event, having ridden to Newport with the intent of riding home, post-club ride. Graheem VanDunnegenbroek was also showing sadomasochist tendencies, but he went on to make a wise, leg-saving decision later. The lofty figure of Matthijs De Beanpolesh was welcomed to the ride, having ventured out with Yannick de Cocke, although Yannick’s attempt at blagging a sadomasochistic bent also was exposed, they having been spotted earlier in a car park outside Newport. Heading to the locale of Mayor Kenny Twat, the group cut a fine figure of 2x4, looking every bit the pro Flandrians their names hinted at. The climb from Lower Town was evil, as was the cruel slog away from the purported nuclear weapon storage facility. The roads from Letterson to Puncheston were fast and flowing, but not as fast and flowing as our Yannick who was, by now, making his assault of the big climb of the day. Or so we guessed. Did I mention those legs? Awesome. We hated him more. The descent from Bwlch y Gwynt was a joy, notwithstanding the myopic, lurching driver testing both Matthijs De Beanpolesh and Bruyn De VroomenCleattwist’s stupid-car-driver avoiding skills and we arrived safely back in Newport for lattes and lemon drizzle. But no sign of Yannick. Clearly he had headed off for another lap; animal, that man. Back down to Parrog and whilst Bruyn De VroomenCleattwist fiddled with his newly-fettled shoes, we once again marvelled at the Transformer/Robot in Disguise; Graheem VanDunnegenbroek gratefully accepted some boot space from Jonny van WestonGoosens and thus would be back in time for Milan-San Remo. Hurrah! Leffe Blonde anyone?
Meanwhile, in Ladeezville:
Today saw five ladies gather in the glorious sunshine at Poppit Sands including debut rider, Karen. Welcome! Julie, Hilary, Meinir, Karen and Jayney K made their way out through the Wildlife Centre and onto Cilgerran before ascending the first hill towards Carreg Wen. Fitness told, with Meinir and Julie taking the lead up the hills while Karen took everything in her stride. We descended to Abercych, past Manor Teifi church, riding in relaxed mode along the pretty lane to Coedmor and Croes y Llan. The return journey was via Llangoedmor and the B road to Cardigan and then to Poppit. Delicious refreshments were enjoyed by all the Vixens outside the cafe. Will all days be like this, this year, we wondered. [With thanks to Jayney K for keeping us informed of the more civilised goings on of the club]
Sunday, 15th March.
Once again we find Dunno with quill in hand...
"...I’m not sure if 1970’s TV icon Larry Grayson was a keen cyclist - I don’t recall many pictures of him in the peloton - but if he were and he ventured out on such a day as this, perhaps clad in the latest Rapha one piece, he might well have called out one of his famous catch phrases ‘Oh what a grey day’ for such it was when just four of the VT faithful gathered in Cenarth by the raging torrents of our very own river. The sky may have been grey but not our mood as we set off for our Sunday jaunt. ‘Allett off at the front, having for once made his usual pit stop before the ride rather than five minutes into it, followed by ‘Ever Ready’ Ian, Jon Jonny ‘look at my Wilier’ and former war correspondent (embedded with UN peacekeeping troops at the Bettws Ifan Village Hall jumble sale) Dunno. Our route had been decided for us by the sight of unseemly bulge. No, not ‘Allett caught mid pitstop but the front tyre of my trusty Cannondale. Having ‘Roubaix’ on the side of the tyre is clearly not good enough for the roads of West Wales and this one looked particularly sick. A replacement tyre would be needed before any more long downhills and so a ride via Chez Dunno was agreed on by all. None of us seemed keen for any eye bulging or lung bursting so a steady pace was set the whole way. Tyre was replaced speedily by the team mechanic and on we went towards the most suitably sited caff which happened to be down by the sea at Llangrannog. There was a brief split in the group on the way when Ian and Jon were drawn more by coffee than yet another hill and went directly to refreshments rather than join ‘Allett and Dunno up a side valley. Later questioning of ‘Ever Ready’ revealed that his legs were feeling the effects of a 60 mile Saturday special with a group of Ironman nutters, so top marks were due for even coming out with us. If it was me I think I would have been laid up in sick bay with a hot masseuse. The usual tuck was hoovered up before an easy plod back up the hill to Brynhoffnant and on to respective homes. Larry would have had a great time..."
Sunday, 8th March.
Hardcore Jayney K braved the elements today. The weather may have affected her however, as like most superstars bordering on insanity, she would seem to have started referring to herself in the third person. Get well soon, Jayney K.
“...In pouring rain, Jayney K turned up at the venue for today's ride. She waited, and waited. Not a Velo Vixen or even an old dog fox turned up. Not a sausage! Undeterred she headed off towards Blaenffos and thence Newport. It got wetter and wetter; the lanes pot-holed enough to make a Strade Bianche rider wince. Such was the misery and suffering, Jayney very nearly vowed to give up bicycles and take up knitting! Exploring lanes near Eglwyswrw never before explored by a Vixen, she found a new enthusiasm and mentally added these routes to her repertoire. However, today’s test provided confidence; Jayney smiled knowing that her chest infection that had plagued her for so long had finally disappeared and she was not going to have to take up knitting!...”