A few weeks back and on rare dry day I succumb to desire, abandon the newly oiled mtb, and go the way of the 'cross for a few hours. No real route plan other than to keep the terrain lumpy, and armed with the local landranger map.
The first few miles are quickly soaked up by the 700c wheels as the bike and I blast along old rail routes that are now cycle trails. First stop is Eglwysilan Common gained by a quality long grind up a minor road before hitting the local off road trails. The local farmers must be getting a bit pee'd off by fly tippers and dirt bikes as the gateway onto the common had been deliberately blocked. So its lug the bike over shoulders and jump the fence.
The dirt road is loose and gravelly in places, and tyres bounce around the loose rock surface. No suspension to soak up the hits and narrow wheels skiting across the surface help keep the ride alive. Gradually body and bike get quietly battered.
The first trig is reached and its a sad sight, lying forlonly on its side. This is not a fitting end to a trig point. They represent a pinnacle of surveying achievement, and they have long formed that point to reach, marking the summit of many a hill. Any outdoor person will know what these triangular concrete lumps really mean.....
I ride on, but where next? Mynydd Machen maybe? A fast descent brings back urbanisation, but I miss a turn. The plan istantly changes and its full throttle through the streets of Caerphilly and then up a quality road grind to Caerphilly Mountain. A quick dance on the single track around the summit and its trig point two. But this one is upright and still doing what trigs should do - marking somewhere prominant!
In the distance the Garth Mountain now beckons and a'cross we go. A quick swoop off the hill, into the next bit of common land and then eventually into the Castell Coch woods. Here some more dancing along singletrack is had before blasting quickly through parts of Taffs Well.
|The writing is on the footbridge wall.....|
Once across the River Taff its time for another quality up hill grind , but this time mainly off road. Eventually its too steep to ride so its time to don the cross bike in its other natural state - across a shoulder - and to stomp the final steep bit.
Trig three is Garth Mountain. Its difficult to know how many times I've stood here, but it's always good......
The phone goes. 'Where are you?'. Almost home, almost..........