Day 11: Le Jog (Chester to Llandegely 96 miles)

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After 700 miles, you might possibly argue that a mistake was due and you might be right. In fact you were and it came right at the outset of an important stage of our cycling tour as we began Day 11 and our dance towards the Brecon. Having left Chester and entered Wales, we were overcome by an important desire to verify our route by the side of the A55. Possibly not the best decision we made on the tour but important nonetheless. We had travelled a good 5 miles in an erroneous direction. Quite how this felt at the start of a 90 mile day, is too difficult to articulate appropriately but rest assured; we were exasperated. Swiftly followed by a series of similar mistakes, we finally began a more appropriate southwards and to our destination.

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To make up time, some Cavendishing of the highest calibre was required and delivered. By the time we had reached the sleepy town of Welshpool, we had put away a tidy 51 miles, in an eye watering amount of time. Suffice to say, we were broken men. As we lay slumped under the comforting shade of the town’s chapel trees we exchanged stories from the different sections of The Guardian whilst eating lunch. Aldercy Manning eats a “power mix” of nuts. It doesn’t make him feel very powerful. When we finally climb onto our bikes, we agree to continue at a more reasonable pace, perhaps 15mph? Ten minutes later we are both gasping, climbing uphill at 18mph against the better suggestions of the Welsh winds.

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We eventually crawl into Llandegely, 96 long painful miles later, but we are jubilant. The evening sun does not recognise such achievements and whilst we wander the most faceless village in the history of organised human social groups, looking for our B&B; this joy is shortlived. We call the hostess. “Go back the other way, to the cattle grid and wait by the green bin. My husband will meet you,” she happily informs. Five minutes later we call her back, sat by cattle grid, alone. We have gone the wrong way.

Aldercy Manning

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