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Welsh Coast to Coast

Over the recent Easter Bank Holiday weekend, Andy, Nigel and I met up in Llandudno, North Wales, to ride from the north coast to the south, off-road, taking in some of the best trails Wales has to offer. The total route is about 330 miles, with 40,000 feet of elevation gain.

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Fear shifting

It’s too late, you said you would do it

That follows pretty much every doubtful thought I have about competing in this year’s Tour Divide race. It’s a big thing to take on, and no doubt I haven’t got a clue how big. Having never been further west than New Jersey and having hardly spent any time in mountains, or wildernesses, I’ll be out of my element. Yet I’ve always yearned to be in these places. I’m also an obsessive person, and when I decide to do something, it has to be big. So I couldn’t just go and spend a few days in the mountains, I had to go and race, unsupported across Canada and the USA.

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North Wales Tour

Way back in perhaps May or June, a few mates and I started talking about doing a Welsh Coast to Coast route that was being devised by Ian. It looked great, and we endlessly discussed the route, kit choices etc over the next few months. On the August bank holiday weekend I drove up to Neil’s place in Birmingham, met him and Nigel there, and the next morning we jumped aboard the train to Llandudno.

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Highland Trail 550

Really nice video by Ian of his attempt at the 2014 Highland Trail 550 race. Sadly for him, he didn’t finish. You can read his write up here. At least he put together a great video! I am considering this race for 2016.

South Downs Way Double

Andy wasn’t long back from racing the Tour Divide, which he finished in 24 days. A great ride for him, especially given the horrendous weather the first week, and the early monsoon rains in New Mexico. I was eager to meet up, ride with him, and get the lowdown on his experience, and learn what I could from him in preparation for my attempt in 2015.

We talked about the South Downs Way, known as a good training route for many UK based Tour Divide racers. Then I stupidly said “Let’s do the double, then we don’t have to mess about getting trains”.

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Bear Bones 200 – 2013

The more I read about bikepacking and ultra-endurance off-road cycling, the more I wanted to do. Sometime in early 2013 I stumbled upon the Bear Bones Bikepacking website and forum, and information about the upcoming third instalment of the Bear Bones 200 race. I signed up there and then, not really knowing what I was letting myself in for.

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The Alpujarras

My mate Eric always talked about how great the riding would be around the Alpujarras in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Southern Spain. We arranged to me him and Ana there while they were driving across europe, took bikes, and went out exploring. Wow, it really is stunning country, massive climbs in fireroads, and some really technical, loose descents.

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