Monday 23 October 2023

Presidents Ride 2023

The annual Chester and North Wales Presidents ride was planned for October this year, I think we are still a little out of kilter following the pandemic, as it always used to be in September.  It is also a Welsh hosted event, following the tradition of taking it in turns between Wales and England.

The plan was to meet in St Asaph, and to make our way to Llanfair DC along the lanes in the Clwyd Valley.  However, the weather had other ideas and following extreme weather and red weather warnings
(mostly in Scotland), storm Babet as it was named led to extensive flooding on the Friday preceding the ride. 

This led to a flurry of re-routing and a late email which I unfortunately did not see before I left home on the now very sunny and promising Sunday morning.  But I made it to the cafe (with my husbands new 'Go Pro' firmly fixed to my handlebars) to meet everyone before we made our way to a sunny spot by the bridge for further instructions and the obligatory photo.

This unfortunately put me at the back of the group, with no route (or the old routes loaded which may not be passable due to aforementioned floods), but Lowri very kindly waited for me and I eventually caught up with the electric bike duo of Glenys and Brian.  However, we had a lovely gentle ride, with stops for photos and I was able to do a little videoing.

We finally arrived at the lunch venue, Neuadd Elanor, and were greeted with tables laden with sandwiches and teas and coffees.  Soup was served, followed by apple crumble and custard.  

Dave Matthews, our President, gave a short speech, and awarded the Presidents Trophy to John Violet, for being a generally outstanding fellow and all round nice guy, after which we all departed.  

But I still had to get back to St Asaph.  I had been surprisingly tired on my way out and after arriving at Llanfair PG, which I put down to my double vaccination on Friday (Covid and Flu).  The crumble finally gave me the energy to return, but I plotted what I thought was a shorter route than the 19 miles we did out.  So, I turned out right, and everyone else went left.

All was well for a few miles, but it appeared that Komoot had plotted main roads, so after Ruthin, having followed the A525 for a few miles, I took myself off left, into some lovely quiet lanes. I merrily directed myself and came across a small church which caught my eye, with a wood carving outside.  

St Saeran's at Llanynys

I had a little explore, and to my delight the door was not locked.  The large wooden door, which had etched grafitti dated 1598 to 1602, was fantastic in its own right, but as I went in a huge medieval wall painting could be seen opposite the door.  This is the largest in North Wales, but in such a small hamlet.  Such an interesting little church, and well worth a visit next time you are passing.  

Grafitti from C16 and C17

St Christopher medieval wall painting

A very cute old Organ

I continued on my way, but - alas - I was faced with an extended flood just before Llandrnog sewage treatment works, where tributaries to the River Clwyd had burst across the fields, and could be seen flowing across the road.  There was no alternative but to turn back and return to my last junction, and so the A525 again. 

I managed to meet back up with Glennys and Brian, who caught up with me just before Trefnant, and we rode together briefly before we split as I was parked at the top of the hill, and they were at the bottom.  By the time I got back to my car parked near the cathedral, I have covered another 20 miles!  At least it is free parking on a Sunday!

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