This posting should be subtitled "Cym again-maybe!" now read on.
Keith, George and Roy were already at the Gallery as I arrived around 10:00. It had rained on the way out and the NW wind was strong. Soon the "Prophet of Doom" arrived; Jim was in civvies since he predicted a wet, windy and hilly ride and he didn't fancy three wet rides in a row. Well Jim was right, as we departed it started to rain again as we left bound for the Blue Lion at Cwm. I had chosen this as a lunch venue after the positive November 2012 blog. Up towards the Brantwood pub, we turn around Mount Pleasant Lane headed for Buckley. The plan was to circle around Mold towards Loggerheads and take the main Ruthin Road passed the Clwyd Gate. Just as we reach outskirts of Padeswood there a shout from behind and Keith is laid out in the road. Thankfully nothing broken or a major hurt, except perhaps his pride. Having recently taken a phone call, Keith decides to return to his car to attend to matters at home. So the "Four Riders of the Apocalypse" are reduced to three. We maintain a steady pace with the rain and wind hard in our faces. Out past Nercwys and Loggerheads, we head for the Clwyd Gate and the fast run down to Llanbedr and the turn to Bodfari. Picking up speed down the pass, the rain stings our faces and we concentrate on staying upright. We make the turn without incident and take the B5429 to Llandyrnog.
After a slight deviation through Gellifor, we bash on through heavily rain lashed lanes. We have to stop though when the hailstones arrive - just too painful. A blue horizon appears at the back to the clouds and we push on to Bodfari. From here to Rhuallt, the lane rises and falls and thankfully the rain stops and we get fine views of it dropping all across the Vale of Clwyd. Cym arrives at 30 miles and we arrive at the Blue Lion to find it firmly shut! The website suggests its open every day- so why phone them! After apologies to Roy and George, I suggest we head for the Rock at Lloc. This means a very stiff climb to exit Cwm and onto the top - just what wasn't needed at this point. So at 35 miles before lunch and around 14:00, we arrive at the Rock to find the food is on and there a fire to dry out our gloves etc. The food is served promptly and was very welcome and tasty.
With the wind now thankfully at our backs and the sun shining, we take the conventional way back to Northop over the top, and here George learns of the prohibited entry Buxton Lane shortcut which bypasses Pentre Halkyn and avoids the drag up Halkyn Hill to the Bluebell pub. At 900ft at the Windmill, we just stay upright with the wind at our backs ready for the fast descent into Northop. George turns for home in Northop, and Roy and I have a fast run back into Hawarden. With 50 miles completed the "Prophet of Doom" was only half right in that from 13:30 onwards, the rain stopped and the sun came out. As ever, each CER ride is memorable, and as I turn for Chester struggling to stay upright crossing the Blue Swing Bridge, I feel thankful that I bothered to get all my winter and wet weather clothing on and made the effort, as did Roy and George, to get on my bike for these enjoyable 66 windy miles.