And finally, Bike Park Wales - From the low country to the highlands and beyond - CycleBlaze

September 12, 2018 to September 13, 2018

And finally, Bike Park Wales

Final days

In terms of thrills (but no spills!) we've possibly saved the best till last. Bike Park Wales was an early must-do itinerary item when we were planning this trip - and the reality certainly exceeds our expectations.

We have another long haul to relocate from the Peak District to Wales, four hours of motorway driving. It's a relief to turn onto the M40 and then into the Welsh countryside, heading for the town of Merthyr Tydfil and our accommodation for the night. It's a 'studio apartment' in a grand old private house, which means everything - bed, kitchenette, bathroom, laundry, seating - is crammed into one room. All for 69 pounds.

Bike Park Wales is the UK's largest dedicated mountain bike park and is run along eco-friendly lines.  It's also the only experience we've had on this trip of shuttle uplifts - the mountain biker's secret weapon. BPW is humming when we call in for a reconnaissance ride on Wednesday afternoon and again the following day. Does no one have to go to work in these parts?

We slog up to the 493 m summit and enjoy an awesome downhill experience. We're going to love this place . . .and we'd love it more if Robyn never again has to ride uphill.   A single uplift ticket solves this problem and tomorrow, we can buy a day pass.

These shuttle vans keep coming - very little waiting involved
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The following day is mountain bike heaven - the most exciting and satisfying of our UK experiences. We pay 35 pounds each for a day of uplifts, which allows us seven runs of about 5km each.

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My thumbs-up - a fitting way to end!
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There's no more riding on this trip. From here, we make our way to London, return the van, see people, do normal things, catch the plane home. I'll finish this journal with some words from the blog I wrote at the time:

Thoughts of  mortality - MY mortality - have been insinuating themselves into my wakeful night times lately. Nothing to do with turning 62, I'm sure, but it's hard to avoid the fact that the decades are running out. In a recent reflective moment, bouncing my way uphill in a van with Tour Leader and a bunch of hearty, young biking blokes, I answered a burning question. Why do I enjoy something I'm so unsuited for, physically at least, and which involves co-ordination, exertion and danger?

It's simply this. Careering downhill on challenging slopes I wouldn't have had the confidence to tackle a year ago, I feel intensely alive. Heartbeatingly. Immortally. Undeniably. That feeling is hard to beat.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 549 km (341 miles)

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