OVER THE TOP ON NEW YEARS DAY 2005

The New Year had arrived and it was time for the inevitable ride 'over the top', which only means one thing the climb up the Gospel pass, the highest public road in Wales 542 metres. We decided to set out from Crickhowell and take the lane over the valley that cuts through the mountains to the Llanthony valley. The weather did not look promising, it stayed dry for a while as we cycled to Llanthony abbey, and we stopped here for a bit of lunch before cycling up the lane to Capel-y-Ffin. Here as a few years before it started raining, the ride up the pass was good, the rain was heavy but we were sheltered from the wind. As we climbed over the pass we were hit by some very strong winds, as we descended the road toward Llanigon the howling wind and driving rain nearly blew us off our bikes. I struggled to get off the mountain; there was not much respite as we levelled out on the road to Three Cocks. We had to take on a full frontal assault from the gale that was blowing down the valley. It was hard pedalling but after a while we eventually reached Talgarth, which I have to admit on a freezing cold New Year’s day at 16:00 does not have a lot going for it! Nick had earlier reported of a soft tyre, in Talgarth he took off his front tyre and discovered he had no less than five separate punctures. I stood there shivering while he changed the inner tube. Onward we went up the lane that mirrors the main road that climbs out of Talgarth toward Crickhowell. Here our Lumicycle lamps burnt a brilliant hole in the dark. This lane is sheltered from the elements as it is in a cutting. The wind howled through the trees, I could only think of facing the wind full on the other side of the climb. However the ride down was more or less sheltered. We got stuck in to 'ruleur' mode, I headed out the sprint and we quickly arrived in Crickhowell, to get into the car out of the rain and wind....50 miles.

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