The Welsh Ride Thing or WRT known to those in the know is an annual 3 day and 2 night ride out in the middle of Wales.
It’s organised by Stuart and Dee of Bear Bones Bike Packing and has been going since 2009
Back in 2010 4 brave Woollybacks set out
But this year it started in Winter when the event was opened and I entered then forgot all about it.
On April the 1st an email dropped in to the 160 riders who had entered email in boxes. This email contained 20 different grid references and 8 one kilometre squares where a token had been hidden in an “obvious place”
Several route options were looked into and planned, but the week before gave a bad weather forecast for the whole of the weekend, because of this around 120 met up in a field owned by Bear bones just south of Llanbyrnmair, Powys out of the 160 who had entered.
There were many raffle prizes as the rain continued to fall from time to time
I didn’t win one 😦
At 1.30 we were told to head off when we were ready and so we did, each of us with our own plans either solo, pairs or groups of riders.
Plan A – I chose to get my head down and aim to head the 60 miles to Llanwrtyd Wells, aiming to visit 5 token 1km grid squares en route.
While everyone went looking for the tokens methodically I went straight to where I guessed one had been placed and there it was.
3 miles in and I had one token, another 4 miles I found my 2nd one
And about 10 miles later on an obvious road junction I found my 3rd of the day.
It was then that the drizzle turned into very wet rain but with it being warm and I was riding fast I was just as wet on the inside of my waterproofs as I was on the outside, so I chose to miss a high up token grid square and head to see if the weather was any better in Rhayader.
It wasn’t, so after checking the weather forecast on several websites (don’t you just love smart phones and 3G) for the next few hours and overnight, and it was only going to get worse and worse. Time for Plan B
I’ll draw a veil over my lodgings for the night but let’s just say that it wasn’t against the rules, I had a roof over my head and a good radiator to dry out my clothes, following a nice evening meal and bumping in to several other WRT riders as they passed through looking for bivi spots I retired for the night and had a good 8 hours of sleep ready for a longer day on Sunday.
I awoke fresh, put on very dry clothes, had a really good breakfast while the last of the really heavy overnight rain started to die out and headed out in the hope that my planned token hunt would continue. The air was heavy with rain but it did eventually stop completely when I got to the far end of the Elan Valley reservoir
My 4th planned token hunt didn’t find one, so it must have gone the evening before after I called it a day.
Oh well, onward and upwards to where I found my 4th token
Then it was a 4 mile push, pull, throw the bike and gear over waterfalls and tussocks
Then looking at the map and the route to the bottom of Devils Staircase a 1 in 4 road climb I chose to go for Plan C I guessed there was a good chance that my last chance of a hidden token was still in sight
And there it was number 5 of the hidden 8
Once at the top of Devils Staircase it was the time for Plan D, rather than head south for some fire road forest trails.
I had the urge for an ice cream and the nearest place to get one was the sea side at Aberystwyth which was 30 miles away, so I headed there via a pub stop for a dry out, beer and a burger
Mission accomplished, time for Plan E
Inland via Nant Yr Arian trail centre
An evening meal and a couple of beers
And a “wild” bivi overnight in the pub garden, followed by a fully cooked breakfast in the pub to see me the 30+ miles back to the start.
Passed stunning scenery
And finally after 48 hours on the trail the sun eventually came out to say hello
And here was my haul of Alpkit goodies.
And all of my pictures in a 2 minute video
My kit performed perfectly and if I was to do it again I wouldn’t change a thing.
Travers Angus (Rudy Fat) 29er+
Rohloff geared hub
Brooks Cambium C17 saddle
Wildcat Ocelot and Tiger frame bags
Aplkit, 2 x stem cells, tapered dry bag and Airlok Dual dry bag on my bars
My tri bars, look silly but great for using different muscle groups leaving me very fresh
Beer Babes rubber inner tube top tube bag
Giro Alpineduro cycling boots kept my feet dry through the whole trip
Garmin Dakota 20 GPS with iOffer’s GARMIN UK GB DISCOVERER mapping 1:50K
Even my new Mount Skidmore Bottle Cage Adapter worked perfectly at lowering my water bottle out of the way of the Ocelot frame bag