Day 9 (Thursday) and we woke up to the flat calm sea on the North Wales Coast at Llanddulas. The weather was looking good but our morning routine was sluggish. Neither of us really wanted the day to start, as we knew it would mean the end of our adventure by the afternoon. It was only 40 miles by bike from here to the county of Wrexham, passing through Flintshire and Denbighshire on our way. We decided to ride two legs each which gave me a chance to shoot off to a bike shop to fix my bike (again), while Amy rode towards Prestatyn.
It was a nice flat, quick 10 miles for Amy and she actually caught up with me at the bike shop in Rhyl. The staff were very helpful but not that talkative, although head bike doctor seemed to enjoy picking mechanical faults in my old chariot. I mentioned that I was part of a relay ride though aaaaaall 22 counties of Wales and that today was the last day….”Your front mech needs changing, this one’s no good”. I also threw in that this old bike had ridden to Chamonix last May…. “You need a new chain, this one’s too loose. Oh and your brakes are missing the adjustor screws”. Compared to my previous bike repairs on the trip, this felt like an autopsy. Plus it cost me 14 quid and he had the cheek to try and sell me a 600 quid bike. Pfft.
The Prestatyn pit-stop went without a hitch and I set off towards a small place not far from Flint. Route 5 went right through a golf course which was pretty novel, and luckily there were no low flying golf balls. There was however, a low flying mobile home on the exit from the golf club. It was on its way into a caravan park with an escort car who reliably informed me that it was waiting for traffic to pass through. But when I cracked on and turned the corner, the mobile home was on its way towards me at 40mph with inches to spare. A close shave thank god and I tried to see the funny side once my heart rate returned to normal….
The next pit stop sent Amy off into Flint, then heading south just past Northop as we motored towards Wrexham. The sun was in and out and Amys last leg was a tad hilly, but it was nothing compared to previous hill climbs. Dizzy and I waited patiently for her to arrive so I could get the last leg done. In my haste to set off for the final leg of the day, and the adventure, I rode off with the van keys. Luckily, I’d slowed down to adjust my left laces, otherwise I wouldn’t have heard my phone ring in my pocket. There’s me telling Amy the keys are in the ignition, before realising they were actually in my right pocket. Oops. I was only a short way down the road and grateful that I wasn’t 10 miles away wondering where she was!
We navigated our way through country lanes on our way to a place called Llay which we knew was in Wrexham. Just a few miles from the end I got my first puncture from a giant piece of glass that I’d inadvertently rolled over. The air left my tyre so quick I thought I’d slit it wide open. 5 minutes later I was on the road again after a quick inner tube swap. We were hoping that the ‘B’ road to Llay would be a nice quiet road where we could rest up and have a cuppa, but no such luck. It was full of HGVs who were avoiding a low bridge going into Wrexham. Amy had gone ahead in the van and parked near a county boundary sign and we quickly got together for a few photos. It was a bit of an underwhelming way to finish our journey, and we both had mixed emotions…”So that’s it then!”….”Shall we go and get some food? I’m starving”.
We strapped my bike to the van and drove off towards Wrexham, chatting about the funny moments we’d experienced along the way, the people we met and which campsite had the best loos. We also hatched a plan to go and visit my folks in the Midlands, so that’s where we trundled off to – getting stuck in M42 traffic along the way and cursing how we could have cycled there faster.
Who knows what’s next, but for now it’s a case of get home, empty the campervan, give it a little spruce up and put our feet up in time to watch the Ireland v Wales footy on telly tonight.