Bleach washed stone face.
Dusty trig point vantage.
Cool forest descent.
City spreadeagled along the Channel’s lap.
It might read like a random selection of words, but these were the experiences of riding over the Garth. I make no secret of it; its my favourite place for a local blast, no more so than when I’ve not been up there for weeks and the sun bathes the summit in the warmest of glows.
Saturday was particularly enjoyable. After coaching at the kids session, I headed north of the city, slaloming between the families on the Taff Trail and past the horses at Glynnis Farm. The city melted into the distance. The crowds dropped. I had the hill to myself. There are few things more meditative than hearing nothing more than the rhythm of your own breathing and the ceaseless chatter of hedgerow birds. The ride was a blend of efforts in the saddle, followed by running with the bike on the shoulder – a full test of the knee – and swooping descents. It was a selfish pursuit. Little concern about time, no-one to worry about other than myself. Test the envelope, avoid falls, elevate the heart rate, recover, do it all again. Just what the doctor ordered.
On the last descent I stopped and gazed down the mountain, eyes drawn towards the masts of the Millennium stadium and the distant cliffs of Devon. To not ride on a day like Saturday would have been a crime. To not stop and soak up the view, even more so.
Incidentally, unlike the damp, grey lumps I’ve come to expect on Welsh mountain sides, the stone faces really were bleach washed. Like sun scorched whale bones, or Roman remains on the fringes of the Med, or…..