For those of you that didn't know and assumed the blog posts stopped after we gave up, WE MADE IT!!!
After a gruelling last day from near enough Builth Wells, adrenaline and the thought of waking up on Monday in your own bed and not having to cycle spurred us on.
The cycle bug hit South Wales in a big way with people encouraged to dust off their bikes and join us on our final leg. Fourteen quickly became seventeen as we were greeted by the Griffin father and son (Tim & Rhys) and friend Ed Pointer in Brecon on our pursuit up the Taff trail.
Whilst the ladies in particular were enjoying the uncharacteristic Welsh sun, they soon longed for some drizzle to cool us down after reaching the top of the particularly horrendous 20% Tal-y-bont hill (seemed more like a mountain).
Geoff was spotted wearing a smile as the peleton reached over 30 with the Andrews family and friends joining us before Merthyr. The smile was attributed to Geoff feeling that the new additions coupled with his sharpened toe caps was enough needed to tackle any horn honking motorists with force!
As we terrorised the taff trail we had an unfortunate injury within the group as Izzy Andrews managed to painfully catapult head first over her handlebars. Some nasty cuts to the face but thankfully for the helmet no broken bones or anything more serious.
As we slugged on to Merthyr we were greeted with an extremely warm welcome from our support team (Auntie Lisa, Julia & Rhian) who provided us with the much needed chocolate bars and encouragement. This was also our second rendezvous point and we picked up some more enthusiastic cyclists (the sensible ones who had obviously seen/heard of Tal-y-bont hill before!) in the shape of Peter & Freddie Dewey, John Boult, Sam Bayer, James Griffiths and James Rees & Auntie Jeffrey who had made the brave choice of riding a tandem (thankfully we were running rather late so they had a lot of practice time in the car park!).
Propelled on by our newcomers we carried along the taff trail en mass, finding time to enjoy some sociable drinks and soak up the sun on the way (Not John Boult who was rather anxious about the UV rays burning his scalp!).
The peaceful trail soon turned into some more substantial roads and Geoff was happy as cycling together we were now a force to be reckoned with. The police in particular felt so threatened that one member was pulled over, handed a contact card and urged to make a 'citizens arrest' on another member of the group (Harry H) for being on his phone while cycling.
Everyone's pace slowed down as we entered Culverhouse Cross, some hopeful for a cheeky pint, others for a deserved McFlurry and others for a rest before the infamous 'Tumble'. As legs began to strain, it was the thought that this was officially the last hill of the whole trip that gave us the proverbial kick up the backside.
Carrying along the A48 everyone was disappointed and what was an assumed easy 8 miles. What seems like a relaxing drive in the car was anything but on the bike as the wind, slight incline and poor surface sapped the already empty energy tanks.
Reaching the Mughal we found time to regroup, re-catch the breath and most importantly for the females, check the make up and hair. As we had just got into a fashioned sequence it was promptly ruined by an overtaking car who obviously mistook our white tops for bowling pins. Thankfully he scored a zero but Geoff seized the opportunity and set off on a last sprint down Primrose Hill. The sprinting practice had paid off as he managed to catch the man at the lights and once again exchange explicates.
Cycling into Cowbridge was an emotional experience as we were met with a truly amazing amount of supporters who cheered us in our achievement and welcomed us back to Cowbridge in style. As we enjoyed the fantastic bbq put on by Oscars, everyone enjoyed a lovely evening as drinks and stories were shared with family, friends and sponsors.
Photos to come, I am trying to collate them all together (If you have any please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org)
We would all like to thank everyone for a truly exceptional level of support that has allowed us to raise a significant sum of money, £27,000, that will be put to good use by Velindre Stepping Stones Appeal. We honestly could not have done this without the help of everyone!
P.S Following an excessive amount alcohol, Julian, Esther, Lydia and Freddie agreed to carry on to Lands End and finished last Thursday.