It was about a year ago to the day that I posted my first comment on the VC Melyd webpage announcing myself as a new member and that I would be joining the clubs Sunday ride…excited. Then a ping came back and a lady called Sally Cunliffe announced that she too would be doing the Sunday club ride unless she was going to be cycling around the entire perimeter of Anglesey!
Now, this intrigued me, firstly I lived on Anglesey for six and half years and built many wonderful memories there, so, it is a place close to my heart. Secondly, I didn’t own a road bike back then, only a rusty old hybrid, (purple with flower stickers on in case you are interested, a relic from my commuter days in London) and, later, a mountain bike…not to cycle around Anglesey on as you can imagine. Later, when I got into road biking, I often thought how nice it would have been to cycle around Anglesey had I been keen then, so, off I went to meet Sally.
That was last year and now, a year on with many some excellent VC Melyd Club rides under my belt, I went back again this year with a view to beat lasts year time, this time without Sally, not hilly enough for her ;-).
I had entered the Mawr which is 103 miles, same as last year. It started in Holyhead, the weather was great…except for a pretty strong head wind which one was to meet later in the day. The first 60km to the pitstop at Beaumaris was a bit of a doddle, pretty flat and I think the wind was behind us so I got there in about 2hrs. We also had the flying mile which is a timed sprint at RAF Valley, its good fun, I gave it my best shot but a mile is actually quite a long way to be going at it like a bat out of hell, well it seemed a long way to me! They also sent us over the lovely Menai Bridge and back again which seemed strange but it’s fun waving to the folks on the other side. Everyone seemed in good spirits and enjoying it. The feed stations were well stocked, except they didn’t have those yogurt coated banana chips this time which sustained me through the second half last year, and are rather yummy.
Although Anglesey is relatively flat, the second half did feel quite hilly, the steepest of which is a hill above the village of Llangoed, after that it’s pretty rolling and, then, we started to meet the headwind. Fortunately I got chatting to a guy called Geoff from Rhos on Sea Cycling Club so we shared some times at the front to escape the wind, and it really helps, even if there are only two of you. After another pitstop we parted ways at about the last 20km. I was getting quite tired by then but was keen to get above my average speed of last year so pressed on. The last 10km were horrible, I was getting pretty pissed off with the wind by now, legs tired, too tired to change gear and eager to get finished.
The welcome back was nice though, always makes me feel quite emotional, a good event, well sign posted, good feed stations.
I did manage to beat my time, did quite well, I wonder if I will do better next year.
Words from Donna Warren
Many thanks to Darren for pointing out the modesty here – Donna was the fastest lady on the day. Well done 😀