Fynyddoedd ac Anialwch Niwlog | Over the Mountains and Misty Wildernesses

Prologue: It’s Thursday 26th May 2016. This Saturday I’ll be riding the Dros Fynyddoedd ac Anialwch Niwlog 401km audax. It’s starting from Bushley, Nr,Tewkesbury, heads over to the coast then loops back again. I’ve been thinking about this for the last week. It is the toughest ride I’ve taken on. The distance grabs the attention first. 253 miles is a long ride…

Niwlog400 route map

…but it’s the climbing involved that made me really sit up and take notice.

Niwlog400 elevation profile

That’s 19,180 feet or 5,846 metres of lumps on the way. Since I got the Crux in January I’ve been pushing around on 36/46 11/28 gears. I had been used to riding a triple on the Tricross. It’s taken a while to get used to the higher gearing and not sure I really have. With that in mind I was beginning to resign myself to walking up a few hills on Saturday. That was until I saw the biggest climb at around the 145 mile mark was just under seven miles long. Something needed to change.

A bit of thinking and a couple of phone calls convinced me that I could and should make things a bit easier for myself. Today I fitted a smaller inner ring at the front and a wider range of sprockets on the back. I’m now riding with 46/34 11/32 gearing. To get an idea what that means check out the comparison chart below.

gearing

It’s not a huge difference but enough perhaps across the middle gears and bottom end to make climbing the hills and finishing the ride a viable possibility. If your interested in analysing your own set up you can do so here. The weather reports are looking okay across mid Wales. 27 hours to get round within the time allowed. Alternating now between excitement and anxiety. We shall see...

The ride: I made it. Set off at around 5.15 am. Back to the start at 2.51 am. With stopping time deducted I reckon I was peddling for about 17-18 hours. The change in gearing worked. The combination of chain rings and sprockets I have now feels better than what was and is much more suited to the rides I do. I rode up all the hills.

It was a stunning route. I rode much of it solo at my own pace. When I was with others the company was great. I was also very pleased to have a wheel to hang onto especially for the last thirty miles back to HQ.  Check out some of the pictures I took along the way.

Misty Morning

Misty Morning
Picture 1 of 77

One of the other riders posted this video of the ride to YouTube. Shows of the landscape and conveys the experience well.

My Garmin let me down at the end. 380km in the bag and it goes into a melt down cycling on and off till the end. Everything logged is now lost. Very disappointed about this. No files any where. Like a factory reset. I shall try and use what I can to recover the file. Not holding out much hope right now. Still at least I have the pictures to record the route.