Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 3 -- Porthmadog to Dollegleu

So, this is the day from which most stories will arise. I don't think I can even remember them all.

There are apparently two ways to get between these two towns that are still "Bike Route 8"... we took the hard one.

It started off with a nice mountain, then we entered Snowdonia National Park, home of the biggest mountains in Wales. In here we hit a massive 20% grade hill, that must have been something like 5-9 miles long. It was brutal, and I have to admit that some of the hill was walked, rather than biked... but I am proud that I did perhaps 3/4ths of the hill.

Soon, we were treking through what must have been Tolkien's inspiration for the Old Forest (the border of the Shire for those who have only seen the movie). I saw a tree that I SWEAR was an Ent, really!

Then we ended up going through some intense growth (ferns and nettles) as well as sheep pastures. At one point, I scared a sheep which in turn scared to squirrels... at that point (less than 1/3 of the way into the day!) Alice and I were so tired that we couldn't stop laughing.

After the pasture, we ended up in Coed y Brennin, a just absolutely indescribeable pine tree forest. In there we encountered more sheep, including one that kept trying to out run us, would sprint for about 1/3 a mile and then look back at us. Finally we stopped (because there is little that is more pathetic than a panicked sheep), and let it wander back into the woods. After the sheep we went through an active logging site. (Mind you this was all in the rain, at times with the rain pelting us horizontally.)

We finally arrived in Dollegleu around 6, and started following the directions to the hotel. It was then that we discovered that we'd followed the wrong '8' and we were actually starting the next day's ride (today's). So consulting the maps, we realized that instead of the crazy intense ride (I left out some of the mountains... there were 3 or 4 total.), we should have had a calm ride along the coast!

So, we had to back track from Dollegleu to the actual town we were staying in, cold, tired and pedalling almost like robots. We went through an estuary, but can't really remember it. Finally arrived around 7:30.

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