There is no escape from the hills when cycling in or out of Machynlleth. On one side there is a 400m climb in the shadow of Cader Idris. On the other, it is 500m cycling south.
My legs hurt when I reached the summit. This was a grandaddy of climbs. My top dripped with perspiration and at the same time the rest of me was soaked with light rain. I was much too hot to wear waterproofs. These came out for the big ride downhill on the other side.
The tiny mountain road meandered around in open moorland then dropped into a pine forest. I reached a clearing where the Forestry Commission announced that I was close to the sources of the Rivers Severn and Wye. Gradually, the road descended to the little village of Llangurig and the Wye appeared as a proper river.
Two tractors each with long trailers got stuck in a narrow lane and the drivers eye-balled one another who had to reverse. There was not enough room for even a cycle to get by. The farmer with the empty trailer won while the one with a full load of hay had to reverse.
Beside the River Wye, the cycling was much easier. At Rhayader, the bike shop doubles up as a pub in the evening. I pedalled on passing thousands of sheep to reach Builth Wells for the evening.