The highlight of this weekend (amongst other things) has been a trip to the black mountains for cycling purposes. as part of preparation for ventoux, me and two others decided to head out and tackle the gospel pass, a lovely and fairly long climb that stretches between abergavenny and hay on wye. the weather seemed spring-like, with temperatures rising and a first outing for my 3/4 lengths; a significant moment after the winter we have had. the first ten miles or so were beautiful, clear and no wind; but as we began to climb the cloud descended and the wind picked up – with a clear micro-climate enshrouding the mountains.
there was still the remnants of snowfall on the edges and in the sheltered spots; glacial and frozen snowdrifts that linger on despite the slight warmth in the air; it seemed vaguely surreal. the Gospel Pass kicks up on a few occasions and is a very narrow single track road; barely any cars seem to be there, or any humans at all, instead it’s populated by hardy hill-sheep and depressed looking livestock.
in the far distance is graham, just coming up to the crest. once over the top it’s a precipitous and fairly windy descent down to hay, which can be taken at high speed. for the rest of the ride we tended to skirt the edge of the hills; occasionally venturing back into the national park; every turn inwards meant a hill of 1 in 4, or with ramps going up to 1 in 3, and the height gain was very rapid and pretty astounding. it’s amazing how easy it is to get there, and how utterly awe-inspiring the cycling is. my legs ache, a good sign.
next weekend signals more racing.