I could see rain clouds in every direction from the house, except for overhead and the direction I wanted to go riding, where the sky was clear and sunny. I thought:
It’ll only be a short ride, I’ll leave the rain jacket at home.
Jumping onto the Pegasus, I headed for Mynydd Illtyd, an area of common about 4 miles from Brecon with some great open singletrack and few sharp climbs to really test the legs. As I got to the common, sun still shining overhead, the view west over to Fforest Fawr was black: a wall of cloud and driving rain about two miles into the distance.
The trouble with parts of the Brecon Beacons is they have their own climate. Parts can be sunny, while others are drenched in rain, with little inbetween. Keeping the right side of the weather boundary is a mix of good judgement and sheer luck.
You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?
I pressed on towards the rain with increased urgency. Just as I approached my return point, the wind on my face was laced with fine rain. I peeled off the main track and kicked the pedals hard along a gradually climbing grassy singletrack path. Even after I turned my back to the wind and could no longer see the black ominous clouds behind me, the race is on to finish the ride and not get wet.
Finding a level of strength and determination that has evaded me lately, I hammered round the rest of the loop at a blistering pace. The steep climbs were all dispatched with maximum commitment, and just as I rounded the top of the last climb, I decided on a small detour to a trig-point. It was a bit further and steeper than I expected. With legs burning, lungs bursting, heart pounding and with the sun still shining I got to the top of the trig point to stand victorious and dry in front of black clouds and distant rain. In nearly every direction I could see rain falling, yet overhead the sun still shone.
I don’t think the ride would have been half as exciting if I’d actually taken my rain jacket.