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Tour de Cymru; girl rider on tour

Paria Girl Rider and all around top female cyclist Jess Fawcett tours the land of the red dragon

You know you did a good thing when your thoughts return to it whenever your brain gets the chance.

Currently, my thoughts keep returning to two weekends ago, when 6 of us set out from Chester, with nothing but the lycra on our backs, saddle bags on our bikes and laminated route cards in our pockets, headed for Cardiff via the scenic route.

It’s taken me this long to write a post because I’ve written about four different versions and none do it justice. To make matters worse, my lovely pal, Rich (also founder of 10,000km.cc churned out a beautiful account of our adventure, with which I can’t compete and which I urge you to go and read (link at the end of this post…).

The trip had been planned by fellow girl rider Ele, who sent the route files to the rest of us, pre-trip, to check out. First rule of enduring according to Jess: Partial ignorance is total bliss. Get a vague idea of what you’re in for, but don’t look so hard you freak yourself out.

From a quick glance, I gleaned that each day involved ~100 miles and the elevation profiles looked pretty… excitable.

This was an understatement. Wales was brutal. It rose and fell, pushed, but never pulled, and it couldn’t seem to make its mind up about the weather. When you felt that you were possibly getting into some sort of rhythm on a flat, the road would sweep around and, in an instant, you were faced with a looming, grey acclivity and the sound of desperate gear changing.

But with every climb, came a descent; some of which were life affirming… whilst others had me questioning whether I was cut out for this cycle biking lark. My emotions rolled and swerved with the landscape, with moments of ecstatic joy, followed by sheer fear, quiet contemplation, excited chatter, desperate hunger…

On the afternoon of Day 2, as I rode solo along a particularly exposed, windy and rainy stretch of moorland (Llanllwm), I realised one of my favourite things about cycling. It is the way it allows you to exist in the comfort of a group, whilst also in serene solitude. You leave together and arrive together, but what happens in between is entirely different for each person. One rider’s struggle is another’s entertainment, but then the road evens out and the group merges into one.

I loved this trip. I loved the people I spent hours in the saddle alongside, the challenge, the scenery, and the fact that I was overwhelmed by a sense that, actually, if I wanted, I could just go anywhere.

I had everything I needed.

Girl Rider

Bike packer

J x

Read Rich’s account of our trip here…

Some interesting stats:

Distance covered: ~460km

Elevation: ~7,800m

Calories consumed: ~298,734,837,482,730 (mind you, that’s just a guesstimation)

Punctures: One – ONE! Wouldyabelieve?!

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