The idea for a self-sufficient Trans-Cambrian way attempt was born of frustration; cancelled races and unfulfilled goals. That one of the most difficult things last year was the lack of certainty around cycling events shows just how privileged I am. Not exactly a hardship but regardless, I had a lot of pent up energy that I didn’t want to waste on races that might not happen. So I picked a few things that I could control, one of which was completing the Trans-Cambrian Way double, self sufficiently. A relatively local yet challenging goal to put my energy towards felt like a positive start to the year.
It’s a route of just over 100 miles which winds its way between Knighton on the Welsh border to Dovey Junction station near Machynlleth on the shores of the Irish Sea. To date, no women has done the double, 200, there and back. Predominantly off road it ranges from green undulating fields, along sunken valleys and around reservoirs, to wild open spaces. It’s not very technical but a hardtail was definitely my bike of choice, for the steep hills and rocky terrain.
Something I didn’t expect was that anyone would want to do this with me, but I am blessed that the South West seems to be a mecca for strong and capable riders. Beccy Waters and Philippa Battye were up for a challenge too. The thing we didn’t quite agree on was the self-sufficiency element.