A few weeks ago I decided that I needed a challenge and I sat down to consider some possibilities. Fairly quickly I came up with the idea of cycling somewhere, the question was where?
I also had the idea of climbing a mountain and began to look at the possibility of combining both a cycling and climbing trip.
Shortly afterwards Snowdon seemed like a great choice! I would cycle there, climb the mountain and cycle home, all I needed was some camping equipment.
I've since bought a tent, sleeping bag, a new bike and some other new camping gear to prepare for the trip which should take five days to complete. The great thing is the stuff will be used for future trips and challenges so although it was expensive, I know it will be worthwhile in the long run.
The total distance to cycle is around 300 miles (or 483km) and considering I have not cycled in a few years this seems like quite a worthy challenge.
Yesterday I cycled to a large public park in North Leicestershire known as Bradgate Park, both to test my new bike and its speedometer and to do some training for the Snowdon trip. My aim was to cycle there, hike up to the highest point in the park, where a folly called 'Old John' can be found, then cycle home. It was a nice ride and really hilly, which made some sections very difficult and tiring, especially on the way home but I was determined not to give up or walk even a metre of the uphill segments. I kept thinking "If you think this is hard, the Snowdon trip is going to be much harder!"
I left Hinckley at around 11:30 and I felt great to be flying along in the sun with the wind in my face. Using my map and a compass I negotiated my way through a range of small towns and villages and along some nice country roads along the way. The uphill sections were tough and the downhill sections were a lot of fun and often a welcome relief.
The total distance cycled was 36.88 miles (59.35km) and combined with the steep hike in the middle, I was really tired and hungry when I got back in to Hinckley around 17:00. Despite taking 5.5 hours I was quite pleased with this when I took in to account the amount of uphill sections that I came across and the hour or so spent at Bradgate Park.
My total cycling time was 3:36.09 hours and apparently I did an average of 10.24 miles per hour with a top speed of 29.4mph, which is useful to know for my Snowdon trip. The road that takes me 90% of the way to Snowdon never exceeds a 5% gradient so hopefully I can push that average up to around 12-14mph.
^Part of the approach up the hill towards Old John in Bradgate Park, which can be seen in the distance.
^Old John up close. From here you can see most of Leicestershire
I expected to feel sore and weak today but my legs feel just a little sensitive, other than that I feel fine.
When I begin the trip to Snowdon I will have to cover 75 miles (about 120km) per day on my bike, two days in a row, climb Snowdon (1085m above sea level) then cycle 75 miles per day home to make the whole trip in five days. My aim is to leave on the 9th February and return on the 13th.
Here are some of the views I will hopefully see on the 11th of February...
^The summit of Snowdon.
^Another view of the summit.