"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Peace Statue Challenge - BIKE - 2019

With 21 miles of running behind me I had the unfamiliar experience of getting on to my bike with tired runner's legs. Running off the bike is standard for a triathlete but biking off the run is not! Usually the first leg of a run-bike-run duathlon is not enough to really stiffen you up or leave your legs depleated, but I'd been out for over 3 and a half hours, my longest run for several months, and the ride to Llanberis was going to be a challenge! I meditated at the Treborth Peace Statue and remembered why that spot is so special - it's the perfect place for a moment of peace. I waited for a handful of walkers to pass before taking my time holding the Peace Torch and allowing myself to become absorbed into the serenity of the place. I felt energised as well as serene and climbed on the bike ready to follow Google Maps on the quickest/simplest bike route to the other statue.

The first thing that struck me was that the path down from the road to the statue was pretty good - I had no problems riding it on a road bike with 25C tyres. Despite the coating of wet leaves, it's solid and smooth. Up at the road I followed the app and found it taking me on pretty much the same route I'd run a few hours before. In my fatigued state I thought it wise to stick to the shared-use path rather than the main road and this took me all the way to the turning for the Greenwood Centre where I strugled a bit on the first climb. I started to load up on the kombucha which was my only fuel and it helped straight away. Fortunately I had enough to get me there and back. Also my phone looked like it had just enough juice - I was running two recording GPS apps (Map My Run / Ride with GPS) plus Google Maps to show me the way - quite a load! Luckily it's a new phone and I also had enough power in it to take a few photos.

One section that had worried me was the recently hedge-trimmed lane near Llandeiniolen but I was able to pick my way between the twigs and cuttings and avoid a puncture. The route was lovely and familar (I'd run the same way in August and earlier that same morning) and the views inspired me as always. This was fortunate as I was pretty tired and finding the hills a bit of a trial! Once in Brynrefail I was surprised to see that the app had no idea about the lakeside cycleway, but having decided to take the quick and simple route I stuck with Plan A and found my way to the Peace Statue in Parc Padarn for a brief meditation to finish. I'd averaged around 10mph which shows how tired I was! Still, the legs were turning OK and I decided to head straight back via the hills on a route of around 15 miles and then worry about food once I'd finished the day's exertions. It would all be good practice for my forthcoming 200k...

I had completed 3 of my 4 "Peace Statue Challenges" for the day and all that remained was the hilly 15 mile bike route back to Treborth. I had a vague idea of the way and just enough energy in my legs and kombucha in my bidon to make it a realistic target. With a peace meditation to mark the start I was soon pedalling into Llanberis itself and looking for the turn on to the mountain road. But which turn? My OS map was not giving me many clues and there were no signposts that offered any help. I soon found myself at the end of the village and had to double back to find Goodman Street which a quick google has told me should be the right choice. I went for it and soon found myself climbing up on to the mountainside, the flanks of Cefn Ddu, on a lane called Lon Cledig. This was the one! The single track road passed through numerous zones; first slate workings then dense forests of twisted and mossy mountain oaks, then silver birches and finally pinewood. I stopped to take a few photos but none of these do it justice.

The giants of central Snowdonia dominated the horizon to the north with Llyn Padarn below me and a chain of mountains beyond the lake leading into the misty distance and finally falling to the sea.

After this dramatic start the route offered up more gorgeous views over small lakes and reservoirs, then I found myself passing through the dramatic archway of Bryn Bras Castle. Memories of my ride through the arches of Angkor Thom came back to me as I stopped to photograph it, then I was back in the saddle and heading down towards the bridge over the Seiont.

I used Windy Maps to find a route here and it led me down to the Lon Las Cymru via a succession of quiet lanes and not-so-quiet B roads. Once on the cycleway I enjoyed the silent sections through forest before the final challenge of the day, the drag up to Penrhos Garnedd. This should not have been a challenge really but I was running on empty by now and it did take most of the energy left in my legs, plus a very low gear, to get up and over. I finished the day with a final meditation at the Treborth Peace Statue. Having visited both statues several times now I can't help loving this one more - the one at Llanberis will attract more visitors but Treborth is a really special place, less frequented, only reached by runners and walkers on the coast path. It's a truly sacred place.

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