The copper that came a cropper.

Apologiesddy Wagon with MapMyRide+! Distance: 33.39km, time: 01:13:39, pace: 2:12min/km, speed: 27.20km/h.

Apologies for the title. I saw the oddest thing on the Formby Bypass. Two police bikes pushing south with blue lights. Another tore down the other side, also south but on the wrong side of the road. Then he did a sharp u-turn. A bit too sharp, his foot caught under the rear wheel and almost dragged him off. A moment of unprofessional conduct.

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Summer break ride

18°C grey sky S wind.

I rode Racelite with MapMyRide+! Distance: 37.83km, time: 01:35:49, pace: 2:32min/km, speed: 23.69km/h.

I have some fizz in my legs. This wonderful feeling has returned since leaving that workplace. It’s amazing how much stress can bring you down.

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Scrambling on Tryfan.

19°C, warm and muggy, then thunderstorms. Very heavy rain all afternoon.
I hiked and scrambled up Tryfan with MapMyRide+! Distance: 4.90km, time: 05:40:00, pace: 69:23min/km, speed: 0.86km/h.

Tryfan’s north ridge was the aim for the day. The route was scrambling all the way with one or two exposed sections (that could be side-stepped). The rocks were all secure for grip and very few moved or sounded insecure. What a fine route.

We also passed the cannon stone about 2/3 the way up. Here was our first photo opportunity. The rock itself has a very coarse grain but was somewhat polished by the numbers of people who’d gone before.

Finally got the standard shot on Adam & Eve, I was the last of three to make the jump, and possibly the most nervous.
We scurried off the peak when the deep booms got louder. Thunder was approaching. The odd flash struck ground miles to the south. A few hundred metres down and large drops of warm water fell around us. It would continue, in waves. Two groups led by Plas-y-Brenin leaders passed by heading down. This point we, decided to abandon Bristly Ridge and the Cantilever. The groups seemed to be mostly girls, none of whom looked cheerful. They were having Type Two fun. Type 2 is the kind of fun you feel after the event. Type 1 is obviously the fun you have at the time. They listened intently.

The day ended at about 5h 50 in heavy but warm rain. We were all soaked with gurgling noises coming from our boots. All the footpaths had turned into small rivers. at least the grip on rocks was still good.

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Mid Staffordshire ride

Dull grey and some drizzle. 17°C and later in sun, 21°C.

I rode Racelite with MapMyRide+! Distance: 103.01km, time: 04:12:00, pace: 2:27min/km, speed: 24.53km/h.

Woke early with plenty of fizz. Once I got going, the pace was great by recent standards. Three guys passed me at Barton so I joined them for a few miles. All winter, I got used to cyclists dropping me, not today. I took turns on the front and kept pace comfortably.
The Racelite still has speed to offer. Eventually, they turned off on their Sportive route. By the time I got to Sudbury, hunger had me in its grip.
Often these rides take in familiar lanes, but today, I went through villages not travelled for ten years, maybe more.
The stretch on cannock chase filled my head with thoughts of DofE in June. At Springslade, I chatted to two mountain bikers.
Home with 65 miles and some satisfaction.

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Gold’s last day.

20°C, light breeze and sunshine.

Two groups of Gold remained to complete. They had routes south towards the Rhondda Valley, limestone country. Time allowed us to consider cutting the day short. I elected to intercept the second group and bring them to the finish via a shortcut. Rolling grasslands were pockmarked by shake-holes. They look like large bomb craters that have long grown over. Oh, except one which was filled with junk. Flytippers had dumped rubbish there.​
Once again, I got a phone call to say the second golds had not even gained access land. They had to be picked up. The outcome didn’t look good for that group.

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Silver, day 3

Bright run 22°C, light wind
Carl and I took two groups of Silver for training onto a small plateaux at the eastern end of the Brecons. Our two groups were spot on with navigation through farmland and higher up on the open access land. One participant gap struggled to keep up with her group. She was badly overloaded so I elected to empty the most unnecessary kit from her backpack. She is only slightly built, but carried a very heavy bag. Even I was considerably slowed down with the handfuls I took.

The search for water: Carl took the two groups to the top and I headed off west a short way to collect water. We would get through a lot today and it’s unlikely there’s be more at the top. With my little filter, it took about 20 minutes to fill 3 litres.

The descent and a casualty: we all reached the bottom with few problems. Our gold group were there sitting cooling off. One girl looked wrong. Pallid, cold and clammy, she had clear signs of heat exhaustion. the group had not got enough water on the  ridge. This would be the end of her expedition but she has enough to complete her practice.

Finding the bunkhouse: I hate Satnavs. they don’t do anything to inspire confidence. This one tried repeatedly to direct me over bridges over the River Usk that were too small for the minibus.

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Brecon Beacons (day 2).

14°C, rain all day. Some heavy.

late start with much to do in the morning.  It turned into a QMD. I stopped the clock at 6h 50m.when I got back to the minibus.

late finish but not as bad as last night.
Carl and I dropped the Silver trainers off and I set off to Pen-y-Fan summit to intercept the two Gold groups. Incidentally, I had a fright on the way up when my map blew away. Fortunately, I had the bag off at the time and could set off in rapid pursuit. It hadn’t gone very far, much to my relief.
The summit was easy enough with a sandstone staircase for the last bit. There is a substantial cairn at the top with a plaque.

Other schools were using the ridge for their Gold Practice runs too. Group after group headed east from an independent Girls’ school near London. They seemed so confident and upbeat in the harsh weather. One of their guys on the checkpoint thought he’d seen a group of four go by so after sandwiches, I headed east. I was quite anxious that I’d miss them and it would be a wasted journey when Carl might have appreciated help with the training group.

Behind Cribyn, I found them. They were happy but cold. Only 2 had gloves, 1 a hat and 3 no waterproof trousers. Abi was especially cold in her cotton tee-shirt. Lend out 2 pairs of gloves and a merino base layer to them. I was so pleased to see them and be able to help out.

This gold group thought that the other Gold group can’t be far behind. Two of those had packs weighing in at 20kg  which made their likely position beyond the first summit. So, off I went.
The phone rang to say that Gold group 2 weren’t even on access land. They had problems. It was better for me to intercept one of the Silver groups approaching Fan-y-Big. About turn and go east again!


Silver Practice group’s first ever mountain summit.

This silver group were on the Bwlch before Fan-y-big and in good condition. Not far in front, Gold were on the summit so I could catch them. From a distance, they were visible in the hill fog making the correct descent near cliffs in the mist. A very capable group, apart from their kit.

Both groups made good descents once I’d finished the photo shoot.

Once again, I marched west, this time to catch the 2 Silver training groups on Pen-y-Fan. However, they’d returned forcing me to find a route down on the next ridge. there is a fabulous path across the north face of Cribyn.

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Silver, day 1

19°C run and clouds, little rain.
Some chaotic organisation and a very late finish today. My Silver training group began the climb to Fan Fawr in the Brecons. The incline came as a shock to them, they carried full packs which were sometimes, overloaded. They really need to be ruthless when packing.
We never made it to the summit but did do some good navigation tuition- contour, aspect, zig-zags, hand-rails, attack-point and walking on a compass. They need a different range of skills to those used in farmland.
All of them did enjoy the view on this ring-contour. After, we set off north aiming for a path junction. They made the classic mistake of steering right because of the slope.

The day, however, turned into a late one. Rain drew in and the Silver Practice group arrived at their camp near dark. Carl and I drove back and forth with stuff for various groups. Then it became obvious that their campcraft was inadequate. They were tired and miserable putting up a tent in the dark with lights were poor. The rain started about this time. I couldn’t put my own one up because it was locked in the van.

Finally, I got my own food on the stove about 12:30. For me, it worked out better to eat before pitching my tent. In bed by 1am and lights out be half-past.

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75 miles in comfort.

22°C, light breeze and some sun. Dry.

I rode Racelite with MapMyRide+! Distance: 118.89km, time: 05:10:08, pace: 2:37min/km, speed: 23.00km/h.

Adjusted the saddle before setting off, so glad I did. The ride remained comfortable right to the end. Still, the seat-post needs replacing. The seat goes out of adjustment too easily leading to backache.​

I spun alley today and I’m sure that’s why the long miles were comfortable. Oh, by the way, that’s 75 miles in old money.

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Kingfisher on the canal loop.

19°C, sunny and still.
I rode The Mustang with MapMyRide+! Distance: 25.50km, time: 01:27:27, pace: 3:26min/km, speed: 17.50km/h.

Somebody had time to spare. This pile of stones was not there last time I came by.
Better than that, I look a phone call while out and had to interrupt when a Kingfisher flashed by. It was so fast but the ultraviolet glow was unmistakable. Excellent!

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