After the intensity of day 1, and the sheer epicness of day 2, I thought day 3 might start getting easier. Wrong.
Even though I had a good 7.5 hours sleep, I woke up exhausted. My legs were stiff for the first time, and my butt was tender in all the wrong places. But a good breakfast in a truly remarkable house (one of those 4-storey Georgian types that just oozes charm) helped make me feel more normal. It still took about 40 miles before I felt up to the day, and that’s in spite of the first leg being a lot flatter than usual.
Each time I hit a hill, I just ran out of puff. Dragging the bike and 3.5kg of luggage up the 10,000 feet of elevation today was seriously hard work. By the time I’d got out of the Elan Valley, I was broken. But then, there was a long downhill into Aberystwyth, and a good 20 miles of reasonably flat stuff thereafter, and I was redeemed.
While cycling yesterday, I came up with the concept of ‘free miles’, which are those you don’t need to work for. They’re flat sections, or slight declines, and you can cruise at 18-20mph without too much effort. Wales doesn’t specialise in these. At all. There’s also the concept of ‘free climbing’ where the incline is small enough to be able to maintain a speed of 15mph without working too hard. You’re getting some of your days elevation in without paying for it in sweat and tears. Again, in Wales, this is not big.
Until today. The last 60 miles was probably around 75% free, and I don’t think I would have finished the day otherwise. It took the sting out of the tail (both literally and figuratively), and left me in a good place for tomorrow.
Which, however, brings it’s own problems. Because the weather up to now has been perfect. Hot and dry, apart from an hour or so of rain today. But tomorrow’s forecast looks like this:
I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on cycling in 43mph winds, with or without rain. So we’ll have to see what happens. I may well have to hole up somewhere for a while and let it pass.
Here’s the Relive video, and a few more photos below that (probably duplicated in the video anyway):