I awoke at 5:40 AM and decided that it was best to ride. Sure, it was early but I knew trying to get to sleep again would only make me feel more tired. My stove was packed onto the bike the night before, so I only had to take down my tent, roll my sleeping bag away and take few layers before I could push my bike back onto the road. It was not long after 6AM that I was back on the bike and riding along the country lanes. Once I had crested the hill, the sun was coming up and as like last night, I was once again treated to a lovely sky.
The sun slowly warmed my bones and I could tell it was going to be a nice day. The spring dew was clearing and no-one was about. It little things like this that make the ride. I must of cycled for an hour or so before I started feeling like breakfast, a church wall presented the ideal place to make a brew and warm my porridge up. I relaxed for about 15 minutes, taking in the sky, the views and the quietness. My breakfast was the perfect ‘pick me up’ and it put me in a good mood for the rest of the morning. My plan was to visit RAF Valley and I hoped to see some of the aircraft flying now that the weekend was over with.
As I neared the RAF base, three Hawks flew over in tight formation, one by one peeling off to the left and reforming again. It was an great sight to see and it was the perfect day for the pilots, barely a cloud in the sky. Their views of the Island must of been awesome! It’s a funny place Valley, you are very aware of the RAF base and it has large signs up warning you not to stray onto MOD land but at the same time, it very relaxed, it’s possible to watch the aircraft take off from the bottom of the runway! I took full advantage and spent ten minutes waiting for some activity and I did not miss out.
Behind the base lies a 6-7KM beach and I was hoping that I would be allowed access to it. I turned off the road and onto the beach. It was great riding along this stretch of sand, I passed several dog walkers and some of the RAF boys working on the beach, so I was soon lost in my own thoughts. The sun was out and I was able to ride in my base layer, not bad for the second week in March (this time last year, many places received several feet of snow!). I dropped to a low gear and spun the pedals to keep the momentum of the fat bike going. Riding on the beach is a great experience and you soon find out which sands are best for riding on and which will bog you down. I was disappointed when the beach section finished, as I would have another 20KM or so to cover before the highlight of the day, Newborough Forest.
I’ve heard many good things about Newborough Forest. It is a forest on the south west of the Island that lies in a sand dune, making it rather unusual! It also has some good singletrack running through the forest. I took the first track into the forest and it was great fun, rolling singletrack on sand is not to be missed. Despite the weight of the bike, it came into it owns and rolled through the rough stuff with ease. It was going well but not for the first time on this trip I was stopped in m tracks, trees were blocking the way. Having to carry my bike over the trees, I ventured back onto the fire roads and carried on riding. A rode along the final stretch of coast line before I would have to ride a 20KM slog along the road back to Bangr, which took two hours to complete!
Vital Statistics of the two days
- Day one-65KM with 800m of climbing (the Islands highest point is 178m as I didn’t venture onto Holy Island) done in a little over 6 hours
- Day two-85KM with 700m of climbing done in 7.5 hours
- 2 mars bars and one double decker consumed
- 2 pots of noodles and one pot of porridge cooked
- one cheese and onion sandwich consumed with a sausage roll
- 2 slices of ginger cake eaten
- one pub lunch purchased and greedily eaten
- god knows how many litres of water I drank, but its never enough!