It’s trendy these days to have an algorithm - mine is Hills vs Distance vs Speed: = I can do two out three, but not all of them so I try to perm just two out of the three.
So today’s route was going to be hills and speed (for the Brisk Group) but not distance. I think the last time I was at Hawarden was about year ago, so my ride over the Halkyn’s today would allow me to revisit some of the old lanes.
Ken, John W and Matt agreed to look after me today as we set off out of Hawarden up the curiously named Level Road towards Burntwood Hill. We rush through Buckley, then down the hillside to Llong and along the hillsides to Nercwys Road. The short sharp double chevron on Fford Pentre Bach catches the two younger members of the group out though. At Gwernymynydd, a left and right takes onwards and upwards towards Cilcain.
We then enjoyed the very sharp downhill run to cross the Alun river, but the chevroned climb out catches my chain out as it comes off otherwise I would have burnt up this hill in seconds. In reality it was a struggle when I set off again after the trio now resting at the top. Exiting Cilcain northwards, there is a largely downhill run to the A541 (Mold to Bodfari) road.
We motor along it until turning into Nannerch, then finding more chevroned lanes to climb down and out of before rejoining the A541 just before the Caerwys turn. There is a 1 km drag up into Caerwys which is the lunchtime venue. We decide on "On the Corner" cafe which John tells me is very much a cyclists' cafe. We sit outside with our filled babs and coffee allowing our legs to recover from all of the hills.
After lunch, I had decided that I had enough of tiny gravel-strewn lanes so re-route on the fly to Gorsedd to rejoin the planned route at Pantasaph. It’s too early to stop for a coffee at the friary alas, so we motor on ever upwards to ride through Holywell Golf Course. I also decide against turning down to the Pet Cemetery cafe at Brynford as it is still too early to stop, so onwards and upwards to Halkyn Mountain topping out at 900ft.
The usual way back from here is down the deep lanes from The Bluebell to Northop. John and Matt need to motor on, so Ken and I take the more relaxed route back via Brookside. The route round is a modest 38 miles but with 2900 ft of climbs featuring several chevronned hills. Ken heads for home as I do which I reach at 1500.
A satisfying day all round having re-visited those Welsh hillsides after a Covid-forced exile. The trio of support riders did a great job in dragging me round though.