I initially intended to ride Bryn Du last year. Unfortunately my trip to take on the climb, along with a few others, coincided with me coming down with a cold. By the time I managed to get to the climb I was running quite a high temperature and I decided, quite rightly, that I would have trouble making it down the climb safely, let alone be able to ride back up it.
As a result of all this it wasn't until the 27th June I got to ride it, on the same morning as tackling Constitution Hill. Thankfully I was in good shape when the time came to finally ride it.
Bryn Du is a climb of two halves. The first part is made up of a pretty much dead straight 14% section of road that climbs from the centre of Aberdare. This section of the climb is horrible. There are parked cars obstructing the road an lots of traffic to deal with. By the time I reached the right hand bend that marks the start of the quieter section of the road I was already feeling knackered from the constant weaving in and out of parked cars and changes in speed. It is a shame as the rest of the ride is actually pretty nice with some stunning views and impressive hairpin bends.
After leaving the traffic of Aberdare the gradient eases and you find yourself on a tree lined section of road. I was still trying to get myself back to a decent pace at this point and so took it a little slower than I would have preferred. After a while the trees thin out and then the climb gets really interesting; the hairpin bends are all quite close to one another and never too steep to make them difficult to negotiate. The views that open up on the upper section of the road are brilliant, especially on a clear day. I probably spent a bit too much time looking at the views when I should have been trying to speed up a bit but I did at least managed to start working up through the gears on the final drive to the top. I have to say that to give the Welsh credit where it is due they can really put together a great mountain road.
Seconds after this picture was taken at the top of Bryn Du the Uncle John took a tumble. Only it's paint and my pride were damaged.
Once at the top of the climb the usual faffing about and putting the bike away for the long journey home began. It was here that I managed to remove some paint from the Uncle John; a slight gust of wind caught it when it was propped up against a kerb and I was helpless to do anything but watch as it gracefully slid down the kerb scraping the paint of the non drive side seat stay. I took that as my cue to leave, chucked the bike in the car before anymore harm could come to it and headed back to North Devon.
Oh yes, there is a mistake in the video. It says 27th July at the start instead of 27th June. I haven't discovered time trial but I am a bad typist.