The best bike rides, for me, are the ones that you aren’t quite certain of finishing. Your fate is unknown. Getting to the end, if it ever comes, will require a liberal quota of physical and psychological distress. You will sweat, you will toil, you will swear, you might even scream. Finally, after rage, rage raging against the dying of the (day)light, the finishing line miraculously hoves into view. Cue an unrivalled sense of accomplishment, the satisfaction of a job tremendously well done. Well, that’s the best-case scenario anyway – and it’s what I was hoping for when, in mid-April, I set the controls for North Wales.

Cycling UK’s latest off-road challenge, the Traws Eryri (pronounced trouse eh-ruh- ree) – or Trans- Snowdonia, in English – was my first ‘I might not actually complete this’ ride of the year. Firstly, it takes place on unforgiving Snowdonian terrain; secondly, it’s 125 miles long with 4,000 metres of vertical gain; and thirdly (and perhaps most crucially) I’d be tackling what is essentially billed as a mountain bike ride on a gravel bike. Why? Well, quite.



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