I was off by 7.45am into a miserable, nagging, repetitive drizzle. It was like a failing marriage. A convoluted series of paths, roads; a few good runs on cinder railtrails; grimy backdrops of misted hills; more drab housing… a world of grey and drained green. Eventually I came out at Ponsticill,
the reservoir, ringed by hills shrouded in rain and mist. I felt rather down.
It was raining hard, and I was miserably plugging away at my tarmac chores. But the climb away from Pontsticill to Talybont took me to the top of a ridge with a lovely feeling of remoteness, my road swathed by hills, and the forest track down to Talybont past the reservoir was….
….Fantastic!! Five miles, 25 minutes of constant, almost pedal-free downhill, gently crunching the smooth mud and cinder road through the trees. Big sweeps down to my left, hills and the car-road down below, farmhouses, looking brighter, the reservoir shimmering opaquely over ahead.
Exhilarated now, I pedalled on to Brecon, including two miles along the last bit of the canal towpath. I took the direct suggested route to Builth Wells, over the hills. A slog at times, but wonderful views of the rolling hills, some sparsely thrilling big dips amid MOD range moors, and a final long downhill into Builth. I lunched by the Wye at a town centre picnic spot, the bridge and river valley’s shouldered hills before me. I felt good.
So, I was now nearly back on schedule, heading for Rhayader mostly along the Usk. More enjoyable, if up-and-down, single-lane lanes, usually with wide hill views. Even a bit of sun. A ludicrously overgated cycle path led into Rhaeadr [sp], with its four easily orientable main thoroughfares – North St, South St, East St and West St, centred on the clock that tinged 6pm continentally. Amid the sturdy brown-stoned cottages I found a B&B and holed up gratefully for the evening, having a delicious bath and watching more footy.
Miles today: 64
Miles since Cardiff: 97