As I had been to the waterfalls a few times, I offered Ray and Tom an alternative in a re-hashed June 2013 ride to the Bradford Arms Hotel on the English side of the border in Llanymynech. We set off round the back of Chirk heading for the castle at a “briskish” pace which slowed considerably as the heat and the hills took its toll. We maxed out at 1000 ft, all within the first three miles. Back now on the main road up the valley, we were able to motor along to Tregeiriog and just catch the tail end of the moderate group who had taken the main road from Chirk. We then took an innocent left turn that concealed a vicious climb up from 850 to 1200 ft. I was struggling after 2 weeks off the bike, but Ray and Tom managed to get up in one go. From the top, we swoop up and down the lanes on our way to Llansilin, and out the other side before skirting the next big hill. At Pen-y-Bont we take a planned route diversion on our way to the pub.
The last time we were here was last June when it really rained hard. The landlord allowed us to shelter the bikes in a storeroom, and as then, he was happy to see us and to promptly rustle up some very nice food. Strangely the lads both had a rather hot chilli dish!
Photograph by Clive Albany
With 26 hilly miles done, the remaining 16 miles were flat as we made our way back parallel to the A483, which we then crossed to quickly run through Oswestry exiting towards the Iron Age hill fort (3500 years old - started on a Monday about 0800). The run back through Weston Rhyn allowed us to access the canal aqueduct route back into Chirk. After 42 miles, we were enjoying an ice cream at 15:15, in readiness for Ray and I to catch the busy 15:48 train. Ray was on his new self-built TDi bike today (titanium frame with Shimano Di2 group set) - i.e. electric powered transmission. I had expected Tom and Ray to be well tired out after their Tuesday's 90 mile ride to Mop Cop (which included cycling the final ascent twice - ask Ivan why!), but they didn’t show it. Incidentally, the moderate ride today was slightly longer and a lot hillier than the brisk version!