Starting off today's cycle with a 15km detour around Pembroke Dock Estuary is never the best way to start a day in the saddle. The other side is constantly in view, always there, just the other side of the water, letting you know that every pedal you do is in the 'wrong' direction. It also didn't help that the weather was awful- no matter what direction we were cycling it always seemed to be a headwind and this wasn't because we were cycling fast- we weren't, largely down to the fact that I had snapped a gear cable rendering it impossible to change gear unless I got off the bike, took out my leatherman multitool and turned an 8mm bolt 5 degrees.
This process took so long that it ended up being quicker to labourously churn up hills in a middle gear with a cadence (number of pedal revolutions per minute) of about 6! I had to pull on the handlebars with all my might, for standing with all my weight on one pedal would not be sufficient to get up some of these hills!
I reconcilled this annoyance as best as I could by thinking of it as 'good training' and that resolved that 'at least I can still cycle' albeit at about 3mph up hills and about 12mph downhill, far slower than normal, for once I had achieved a given speed on the descents, my pedalling would be pointless as I could not spin the pedals fast enough to provide any benefit.
Nick, as you would imagine, was fantiastic - offering to take weight from my bags (politely declined) and taking the brunt of the headwind most of the day (quickly accepted).
Anyway- what did we see today? From Angle (an indutrial style station perched on the headland of the north Gower coast) we cycled east, then west around the estuary and over to Little & Broadhaven, where upon arrival we saw the Sea King helicopter take a suspected 'bent diver' to hospital. All very exciting.
From there we headed north past St Davids and down to the coast where there was an incredibly picturesque station situationed just off the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. On our way back up through St. Davids we had a quick walk past the beautiful cathedral.
North from St. David's holds special memories for me, having got engaged there earlier this year. I popped the question on a cliff just south of Porthgain, so we ventured off the A-road and down to the village so I could show Nick the area. Where we had been the only car there in February, people were parking 600m up the road leading into Porthgain in June! Still, the combinations of little art galleries, great pubs and a stunning coastline makes this a wonderful place.
From there we climbed our way (slowly) north where we were scheduled to meet up with some Ferg (a school friend of both Nick and I) and Luke (a university friend of Nick's), the latter of which had a cottage on the outskirts of Fishguard.
Just before we reached them, I passed a marine chandlery and to my surprise (being a bank holiday) saw an 'open' sign on the door. I popped in andexplained that I was looking for a 5mm star shaped alan key. He kindly went away and returned with the appropriate tool as part of his own personal toolkit. After I bored him with who we were and what we were doing and asking if I could leave a deposit for the tool and post it back to him once I'd fixed the bike, he slowly lifted his t-shirt and revealed his RNLI pager- he was crew. He told me to post it back when I was finished and wished us luck!
10 minutes later we both had a beer in hand and explained the toils and tribulations of our day to Ferg, Luke and a few of their friends who had come to Pembrokeshire for the long weekend. Recounting our troubles acted as a form of therapy and after the chat (and the beer) things were looking up.
A fiercy competitive game of croquet followed (which Ferg and I won) and various parts of animals were being slowly cooked on the BBQ- now this is more of a holiday!