Bianchi vs Snowdon

One month into my cycling (and blogging) adventure and today I cycled up Pen y Pass. Pen y Pass is basically, I think, the highest bike climb in Snowdonia at an altitude of 359 metres (1,178 ft). I cycled up there today and the sense of achievement I feel is huge. Having not set myself any physical challenges for years, well besides giving birth to and raising two lovely kids, being proud is not a feeling I’ve experienced much recently and to be honest,  I love it and I am growing to love cycling too!

When I first took up cycling, just a few weeks ago, every hill was a pain, but without a training plan, other than just getting out on my bike as much as I can (literally in all weathers) I have managed to tackle an iconic ride and it feels good. All the experienced riders told me the best way to improve was to ride my bike as much as I could, and they were right.

I am really enjoying the freedom of cycling but getting out over the last few weeks  has also made me fall in love with the place where I live too. I so appreciate the beauty of Snowdonia, the mountains and the coast.

Its not all been a “love in” with cycling mind, I have some real “pet hates” see below,  but first take a look at these pictures which might help explain why I love Snowdonia –

 

My top three cycling “Pet Hates”are:

HELMET HAIR – Its so awkward when I meet someone and my hair is stuck to my forehead with sweat, not a good look.

LYCRA – Since my teenage years I have avoided like the plague anything clingy, now I’ve taken up a hobby that involves Lycra and accentuating all those lumps and bumps.

NAPPY BUM – The padding on cycling leggings is great when I am on my bike, but frankly looks completely stupid when I am just walking around in a Café.

Anyhow I must put vanity to one side and get on with riding my bike, I hear that there are much worse embarrassing cycling problems I could suffer from.

The best thing about cycling is the connection to the world around me and in particular to nature. Please bear with me I know how this sounds – but rushing from car to house, to car, to work, to car, to school etc. etc. I hadn’t really noticed what was going on “out there”.  On early morning bike rides I’ve seen foxes, mountain goats, robins, cows and of course, loads of sheep. Unlike in a car, the quietness of the bike is a lot less intrusive somehow.  I’ve also, for the first time in years, really noticed and enjoyed the changing of the seasons from Autumn to Winter. On the  shortest day of the year,  I am looking forward with optimism to Spring and continuing my cycling adventure.

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On a very different note, here’s a story from our local paper about my trip early in December to deliver aid and volunteer in Calais Refugee Camp.

 

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3 thoughts on “Bianchi vs Snowdon

  1. On a similar cycling journey, having just started in August and living close to the sea and mountains in Ireland (OK they’re just big hills compared to Snowdonia).

    I don’t think you should worry to much about ‘Helmet hair’, it’s impossible to look ‘cool’ after climbing a steep hill, your fellow cyclists will understand and empathise with you… who else matters?

    Lycra, what can I say, it’s totally unforgiving … I’m just living in the hope that some bumps will decrease and others become more defined (leg muscles).

    Nappy Bum, this could be the fault of the Aldi/Lidl gear, I’ve gone that route but I’ve found that ‘proper’ branded padded shorts/leggings fit better and prevent that ‘duck with a loose tail’ look.

    Looking forward to following your journey’s in the coming months.

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    1. Thank for lovely comments and the encouragement. Good to hear from someone else new to this mad world of cycling! Very good advise on the leggings, worth the investment I am sure. What have you found to be your biggest cycling annoyance so far? More importantly what’s the best thing you’ve enjoyed about cycling since August? Would love to hear! BW Nia

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  2. I’m still in the ‘falling in love’ stage in my relationship with cycling. The annoyances/niggles are currently overlooked, if I was pressed i would say ‘the weather’, particularly bad weather on a weekend preventing me from getting out for a spin or the driver of the white Mercedes who gave me about 1′ of clearance speeding past me when he had the road to himself !!!!!

    The best thing(s)…
    Being out on a warm autumn evenings enjoying the countryside, in the fresh air with time to clear your head and exploring new lanes and roads.
    Seeing improvements in my fitness, segment times (using the Strava cycling app) and the distance travelled before my derrière cries”‘No More”.
    Joining a local cycling club and meeting new group of people who share your love of cycling.

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