Last Tuesday was the hottest day of the year so far, and I spent several hours of it heading westwards out of a sweltering London and into the even hotter heart of England. Even at 6 in the evening, the Oxfordshire roads were sweltering, and on arriving at theB&B I’d booked for an overnight, I sank a jug of water and a pint of ale in about thirty seconds.
Next morning, as I left to head out to meet Martine near Aberystwyth, the heat had decreased somewhat but it was a still a lovely sunny day, and although I had 80 miles to ride to meet her, I had a bit of time in hand, so I took the even-more-scenic route. I crossed over the stunning Elan Valley mountain road from Rhyader to Devil’s Bridge rather than simply follow the A44, lovely road though it is.
But the descent from Devil’s Bridge towards the coast was like crossing the Andes and dropping down in to the cloud forests – the fog swirled in and the temperature dropped around 10c in a matter of a mile or two.
As the forecast was for rain along the coast and much nicer weather a short distance inland, when I met Martine, there was no hesitation – straight onto Plan B, riding inland rather than up and down the coast. In the event we had a lovely sunny day, not nearly so hot as the day before and much pleasanter riding. And there’s not many roads quite as nice as the roads in mid-Wales!
I had a very specific brief from Martine, and the short assessment ride that starts the day confirmed her main issue – turning in too early on left-handers, particularly downhill corners. So much of the rest of the day was a raft of machine control techniques and planning skills to help eliminate the error. Here’s what Martine has to say about the day:
“Had a great day yesterday with Kevin on the challenging roads of Mid Wales. The confidence building course has done exactly that. Would recommend Kevin to other riders and would be happy to book another course with him in the future. A long and tiring day but well worth the effort.”
All in all, a great day covering 100 miles with Martine – and then I had to ride another 120+ back to Oxford!