Runners and Riders

Written by Haydn Williams

It’s now six and a half weeks since Dragon’s Back finished, and I’ve been reasonably busy in that time. I was lucky enough not to be entirely broken by the race, and so got back into doing some basic level of exercise fairly quickly. First up was a weekend of biking and camping at/near LLandegla. My camera changed settings by itself fairly early during the events described here, so you’re in for some low-quality pictures I’m afraid.

Finally at the top of the 5km Llandegla climb. © Haydn Williams 2017
Finally at the top of the 5km Llandegla climb. © Haydn Williams 2017

Gareth decided it would be more exciting if we had to do some trail-side bike maintenance, so he snapped his chain at the furthest possible point from the car park.

Gareth plus broken chain. © Haydn Williams 2017
Gareth plus broken chain. © Haydn Williams 2017

Fortunately the two end joined back together perfectly, right up until the point where they split apart again a couple of kilometres further down the trail.

Gareth plus broken chain - pt ii. © Haydn Williams 2017
Gareth plus broken chain – pt ii. © Haydn Williams 2017

After finishing a fun but tiring loop we picked up James, completed a boys’ shopping trip (which went swimmingly), and met Jono at the camp site. At one point we did disguise Gareth’s phone as a small car to try and take over the Bluetooth speaker in the tent next to us, but alas it seems Bose did consider some basic security when designing their products.

£4.25 for BBQ tools, or £1.67 for a trowel. Easy choice. James on cooking duty. © Haydn Williams 2017
£4.25 for BBQ tools, or £1.67 for a trowel. Easy choice. James on cooking duty. © Haydn Williams 2017

I flew a power kite for the first time that evening, but unfortunately there aren’t any pictures because it turned into a four-man job to get the thing flying. James and Jono did sterling work hoisting it back into the air each time I sent it careering into the ground, and Gareth turned out to be excellent ballast (hanging onto the back of the harness to stop me flying away).

On the Sunday I did another lap of Llandegla, this time with James. It’s been a while since he or his bike have been out, and we had a lot of fun bombing around like it was 1997.

James and I have been riding together for 20 years now. But we're definitely not old. © Haydn Williams 2017
James and I have been riding together for 20 years now. But we’re definitely not old. © Haydn Williams 2017

A couple of weeks later I was back in North Wales, this time with Becs and her shiny new bike. On day one we had a quick blast around the blue loop at Coed y Brenin (lovely little trail), and followed that up with blue at Llandegla the following day since we were passing on the way home.

Specialized catalogue image. © Haydn Williams 2017
Specialized catalogue image. © Haydn Williams 2017
Becs getting better at the downhills. © Haydn Williams 2017
Becs getting better at the downhills. © Haydn Williams 2017

All went well (apart from Becs being better at climbing than I am), so that bodes well for future trips.

The next weekend wasn’t quite as fast-paced but was just as enjoyable – a mini DBR reunion for a wander over Moel Siabod. I mis-judged part of the bog of eternal stench on the approach to Daear Ddu ridge, and ended up calf-deep in disgustingness. Some skillful extraction of feet ensured I didn’t lose either shoe – result!

Ladies and gentlemen, your new long jump champion! © Lisa Sammons 2017
Ladies and gentlemen, your new long jump champion! © Lisa Sammons 2017

As always, Siabod delivered a fun day out and plenty of clag on the top.

Lisa high above Llyn y Foel. © Haydn Williams 2017
Lisa high above Llyn y Foel. © Haydn Williams 2017
Dave towards the top of the ridge. Also, my finger bottom-left. © Haydn Williams 2017
Dave towards the top of the ridge. Also, my finger bottom-left. © Haydn Williams 2017

I’ve still not found the optimum way off that hill in the cloud.

Wales: land of rocks and clouds. Lovely. © Haydn Williams 2017
Wales: land of rocks and clouds. Lovely. © Haydn Williams 2017

Finally, I snatched another quick (ish) run last weekend, with a variation of the Pedol Peris race route. First up through the LLanberis quarries – 800m ascent in the first hour, in what turned out to be the hottest part of the day.

Mega-Welsh: Snowdon and Welsh mountain goat. © Haydn Williams 2017
Mega-Welsh: Snowdon and Welsh mountain goat. © Haydn Williams 2017

Fortunately, I felt pretty good at Elidir Fawr and continued to do so all the way to Pen y Pass.

I made a friend on the way down to Pen y Pass. © Haydn Williams 2017
I made a friend on the way down to Pen y Pass. © Haydn Williams 2017
Another goat. Also, artistic blurry filter (i.e. dirty lens). © Haydn Williams 2017
Another goat. Also, artistic blurry filter (i.e. dirty lens). © Haydn Williams 2017

From there I fought the hordes up to Crib Goch (foolish route choice on my part!), where my prior preparation came in handy and I didn’t have to threaten to push anyone off due to low blood sugar.

Back at Crib Goch. © Haydn Williams 2017
Back at Crib Goch. © Haydn Williams 2017
With Coke this time! © Haydn Williams 2017
With Coke this time! © Haydn Williams 2017

I carried on over Crib y Ddysgyl, down the Snowdon Ranger and then over Moel Cynghorion. Three different people called me ‘brave’ over the course of the day, which struck me as a strange choice of words, but I’m not one to turn down compliments (particularly if they’re the kind that don’t normally get thrown at me!). Strava suggested I had PBs from Pen y Pass to the top of Crib Goch, and across the ridge itself too, so I can’t be suffering too much from my five-day excursion. My quads are pretty trashed today, but it was a lovely way to get back in to the swing of things – roll on some more summer fun!

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