Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Rhayfen vs CV By Pass

I have put my name forward for the Goodwood Roller Marathon again this year. Last August I skated it with little or no training and only did the midi, which is 12 miles. I found it difficult but enjoyable, my legs went dumb after about 4 miles and it took me a non-too-shabby 1 hour 58 minutes. This year I am doing the full 26 miles, and I have decent skates and outdoor wheels (last year I skated on 95a's and WOW did I feel every lump and bump) As such, I have been taking myself down to the newly build Church Village By Pass, and skating along the most amazing smooth tarmac, I can get from my house to Llantrisant (approx 4 miles) and back in about an hour, with the added benefit of not having to dodge traffic or Chav's! Last night I took myself on such a journey, and so the tale begins..........

April has been unseasonably warm, in fact this Easter I have managed to start working on my tan!! being Wales I am using this weather to my advantage, as all too soon God, or the MET Office will remember where I live and send in the clouds!! Hubby got home from work around 7pm, and there was still at least 2 hours day light, so I donned my skates and headed for the by-pass, with no agenda, distance or time limit planned, just skate until it gets dark or I run out of road. So the first drama of this is, I live in Wales, and not just Wales but the edge of the Welsh Valleys. It's a little hilly around these parts, beautiful to look at, interesting to skate. I approached Station Road, with trepidation, last time I skated down this particular hill it tried to kill me. Honestly I flew down the hill at a million miles an hour, it felt amazing, up until a tiny stone hit my wheel and BAM!! through the air I flew. So perfect time to test my plow's, legs wide, digging my wheels in. It works! I was almost crawling down so parts, straighten up a bit and WEEEEEEE! going to fast, dig in and slow down. First big smile on Rhayfen's face, as many of my fellow CRoC's will attest, plows have been the bane of my life for the last few weeks since I bought new wheels (I gotta break those beauties in). Now I hit the by-pass. Fresh, virgin tarmac, speed, distance, up hill, down hill, freedom! Its hard work, it makes my thighs ache like a bitch. But I do it smiling the whole time!

I got to the Beddau roundabout (approx 2 miles in) and stopped, question time, do I turn around and head for home? or continue on? the signs read, Church Village 2 miles >, Cross Inn 1 1/4 miles <, Llantrisant 1 3/4 miles <.  To hell with it! am heading for the Cross Inn, it should only take me another 20 mins and I can grab a glass of water before I head back home. So off I go, skate, skate, down hill!! WWWOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I get to the pub but I don't want to head home just yet, and I don't much fancy stopping for a pint (of water) so I carried on along the road. This is where the first of my dilemma's got me. The foot path ran out, I have a strange thing about going back the way I came, if I can do a circle I will. So should I double back or attempt to skate along a road with no foot path? Hang on, where does that road go?? interest sparked, a new addition to my skate paths? Whats the worst that can happen? So down into the unknown I go..........

A sign reads Rhiwsaeson and points ahead, Rhiwsaeson I go then! I am feeling on top of the world, its still light, there is a gentle breeze that blows up every so often cooling my skin, which is currently glimmering in sweat. This is when I hear a car, snap decision time, do I, a: stay on the single track lane and attempt to take on a car? or, b: stop, climb onto the verge and wait for the car to pass? its kinda a non-question really, I fancy my chances against a hedge. Slight problem though, the fine dust that sat on the road surface just before the verge was like skating on ice, I face planted into the hedgerow right in front of a car full of teenage chav blokes who found the whole thing highly amusing as they sped off wetting themselves. I am pleased to report only my pride was dented and my hand stung thanks to the massive patch of nettles that caught me. I dusted myself down and kept skating for Rhiwsaeson. Turns out, Rhiw is just a road with about 6 cottages. am at a T-Junction and another choice, do I, a: go up the nigh on vertical road that points towards home or, b: go down the nigh on vertical road and hop to pick up signs for Tonteg or the Village at a later point? It was getting dark and I thought, as difficult as its gonna be to climb the hill, I have to at least stay heading the the right direction. Am directionally challenged at the best of times. Up onto my toe-stops I go, step, step, step. Shit this is harder than it looks am about 7 strides in, I look up and the road goes on for at least 100 meters that I can see.

BINGO!! a footpath runs along the mountain's contour. One thing I do remember from map reading classes during my time as a Soldier is its a damn sight easier to contour an mountain that climb it. So that dear readers is what I did. I was still heading in the right direction for home, just maybe going in a less direct route. This is where I discovered it is possible to skate on grass/dirt tracks as long as they are dry enough and firm enough. Who needs a 4x4 when you can have a pair of Riedell Vixens and a sense of adventure?!

The path starts to become one with the field and I am once again left facing some exciting questions, do I, a: go back and climb the mountain road? b: climb up and over the mountain via the field I am now in? c: head along what appears to be the path, leading into the woods ahead of me or d: try and work out how to get over the barbwire fence and river directly in front of me and head for the steps I can see merging out of the hedgerow? I spent a few moments weighing up my options, FOLLOW THE PATH, into the woods I go. Am starting to wonder if this is a real path or a cattle route, its covered in cow footprints but no trainer or dog prints. I get to a fence with no obvious route over it so I headed back the way I came cursing the damn cows. I now could see a direct route to the mystical steps. There is only one reason for a random set of steps to appear in a hedgerow, and that's cause its a way out! off I go, I'll tel you this for free, its difficult to climb over a style in skates. For information the steps lead to a bridge that crossed the river and ravine. The fence post showed there was a footpath that ran the edge of the field going both left and right. I knew I needed to head left, but I also wanted to get back onto tarmac as soon as possible. Throwing caution to the wind. I climbed over the top of the small hill, to get a better look of my surroundings. ALARM!! COWS IN FIELD!! am not sure how much you know about cows, they are thick, nosy and will follow each other blindly. I nipped back down the crest of the hill, and headed right. I know that's the wrong direction but in the quick recon over the top that sighted the cows, also sighted the road off to the so I moved as quickly and quietly as I could towards the gate at the end of the field. The breeze picked up and I thought thank fuck of that its blowing face on so they won't smell me. closer and closer I got to the gate then, MOO! Shit, Busted!! Its now I decover they are not just cows, but baby cows. No Mum's about, small mercy that they are weened, at least I don't have to fight angry Mummy Cows, just about 40 curious baby cows, who are now running towards me!! cows can run bloody fast, but a Rhayfen in Riedell's heading for a gate is about 3 seconds faster. My wristguarded hands hit the top of that steal gate and pushed my up and over like an Olympic Gymnast, in wheels. I looked back, gate has stopped baby cows. I looked forward with my heart beating out of my chest, whats in this field??? If its Daddy am sooooo, leaping back in with the babies. It was empty, off we go towards the road. I had to climb another gate, its easier at speed with cattle on your heels. Straight into a field containing 3 Alpaca's, who keeps Alpaca's?! these guys just looked at me as if to say 'WTF?' and carried on eating. Small mercies, all that was between me and the road now as a small copse, easy. NO.

The copse hid a stream, which just happened to be behind a barbwire fence a down a 4 foot deep ditch. Not so easy to climb a wire fence in skates with your gumballs twisting themselves around the wire. eventually got over the fence once I had paid the blood toll. Down the ditch, across the stream, up the other side of the ditch, through the trees. BONG!! I explode into the Beer Garden of a place called Caesar Arms! they had fish on the menu last night, it smelt good, sorry to the lady who was having her dinner and almost chocked as a wild, blood covered, twig entangled Roller Girl appeared from the undergrowth.

Back onto smooth tarmac, and a road home. This was uneventful, except for finding a pair of Ted Baker prescription sunglasses in their case.

That Ladies and Gentlemen is what happened to me when I thought, I wonder where that road goes....

Stay Skating, Derby Love


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