Our first TCW of 2018 rolled out of Knighton on the last weekend of April. It's always a gamble so early in the year, and just a couple of weeks earlier, we were under 2ft of snow! However the weather gods had decided to be kind, and it only rained on the Friday, leaving day two and three completely rain free and dry, well, from the sky that is!!
Andy, Phil, Chris and Vicky all ride together up in Macclesfield, and were joined by Stu (Stourport), Arwel, Gareth and Aron (Carmarthen boys) for the journey.
But coming to ride the TCW can be a worry for some, especially in open groups where you're not familiar with your fellow riders. What's important for me, and Polly, is to set the scene and expectations long before a foot is put to pedal. The TCW is a journey, a beautiful one, and whilst some riders can kill a climb on strava, or do a sub 1hr 30 miler, that's not what we do here.
We love where we live, and are so keen to share and promote the place we love, that speeding through the Cambrian Mountains defeats the whole purpose of enjoying this beautiful wilderness. Even from the start in Knighton I'm keen to show where Sir John Hunt wrote the 'Ascent of Everest' and where my doctor, who was on the expedition, once lived. You don't get that in a guide book!
So prior to departure, we had a few chats with Vicky about the route, pace, expectations, and it was clear that she wasn't 100% sure about the ride. But all that anxiety was put to bed on day one, with a solid ride, a strong ride, with Polly from Knighton to Rhayader. This pace and strength would continue all weekend, and she was often up with me riding at the front not far away from Stu who was a fit lad indeed. Such a capable woman, technically strong, and a high level of fitness, and hopefully the whole experience has had a positive effect for the rest of the summer, A can do attitude, rather than I can't do!
As for the rest of the gang, they just rocked along, enjoying the trail, scenery, the 'whole' mid Wales experience, with a hot and delicious meal to end each day. They also set the bar very high on finishing, 5.30 on day two, and 3.15 on day three, very tidy pace indeed and one that will be hard to beat all summer long.
Our next TCW will be an all women affair, so I'll be banished to the support van for the weekend. But at least I'll have company, Izzie will ride shotgun :-)