Great ride report Drillski, smashing photo of the 2 of you on the beach
Bet those fish & chips tasted magnificent!!
One day, 110 miles and a lot of flapjack!
Great ride report Drillski, smashing photo of the 2 of you on the beach
Well done! We could do with a lady in our team for the next Bonty 24:12. Would a 12 hour solo in a sumo suit be enough of a challenge
muddydwarf- you can tell you gf that the black ones I started in are altura pro gels and the purple ones I finished in are crivit sports shorts from aldi
Thank you Ellie - it was the purple ones she likes and as they are Aldi my wallet thanks you!
Very well done on your achievement
Great stuff. Super long rides are the best. I've been doing a few myself this year - not done as well as you with my fundraising (though I'm having to repeat my challenge to complete it so we get to raise some more money). That's really a great achievement. What's next then?
110 Miles, One day and absolutely No Flapjack!
So we were up bright and early on Saturday morning. All our gear was packed and ready to go. After listening to my radio interview whilst having an odd breakfast of weetabix and toast whilst watching some Sherlock, we shammied up, took a few photos and set off at about 8. I was feeling positive but with a strong sense of foreboding. The first 20 or so miles were pretty uneventful so I’ll spare you the lengthy descriptions.
After we reached Wellington we went along the back roads to Shrewsbury which was very boring. The headwind was getting stronger and the road was an infuriating mix of up and down, but not up enough to make you work or down enough for you to really pick up some momentum. And after a while, you’re used to the pretty views and it all seems to blur into one.
Anyway, after a quick food and loo break on the banks of the beautiful Severn, we set off again through Shrewsbury. Our spirits were high despite the fact that we still had over 60 miles to go and the headwind was showing no signs of changing. So off we went again, crossing the Severn, again, and back on those quiet, mind numbingly dull country roads. That is until at 51 miles we stopped and put our iPods on. Let me tell you something, nothing livens up sleepy back roads like a bit of Muse!
We were nearly half way as we crossed the border into Wales. I was very excited as I realized that the hill to my left was one I had seen in the distance the first time we had climbed the Wrekin, the day when this mad idea was first suggested. I was even more pleased as I saw it shrinking into the distance. (It also made me smile because I thought it looked like a sleeping Labrador, but hey ho, you know what they say- simple things please simple minds)
This brings us to… The Puddle… Y’know when you’re riding along and you happen to go through a dirty great puddle and you think to yourself ‘Wow, I hope I don’t fall in, that’d be horrible.’ But you never actually do fall in because, well, people just don’t fall into puddles. It’s simply not done. Except in this case, I did fall in. It soaked my top, my shorts, my shoes- everything. And it wasn’t like I chose a small clear puddle to have a little dab in, I had to chose the deepest, smelliest, siltiest, greyest puddle in all of Wales. And Dad has it all on film. The only thing that could be construed as ‘lucky’ about the whole thing was that Mum was only two miles away with food (but no flapjack, hence the title), a change of shorts, water and a bowl. I was so close to tears I’m counting it as my first break down. But after some Pringles, a sponge down, a change of shorts and a sit down in the sun we were off again, 66 miles done, 44 to go.
In hindsight starting on cold legs straight up the first of the massive Welsh hills wasn’t the best idea. It was definitely the scenic route through Wales, the views were incredible! The sun was shining, the wind had died down a bit (although as Dad pointed out, that was because there was a big hill in the way) and my good mood returned! Nothing of note for next stretch really, apart from the great road descent into Mallwyd through some beautiful forest that made me think of home (which was about 90 miles away.) Another check in with Mum, couple more bars and then off for the final hill- the mountain pass , Dinas Mawddy, or as we called it ‘Dinas Mordor’. After a bit of a drag up the valley towards the very daunting hill, a quick photo and some emergency sports mixture, we began the climb.
It was steep. Imagine the steepest road you’ve ridden. Thought of it? Good. Now forget it, because it probably isn’t even comparable to how steep Dinas Mordor is, or at least feels after some what gruelling 100 miles. It’s a hill worthy of Froome or Wiggo. Not only is it oh-so-steep with little to no respite it’s very very long. Every time you think you see a flat(ter) bit, you get closer to it and realise it’s not flat after all, it’s still just as dammed steep! Oh, and I forgot to mention we were doing all this accompanied by our old friend, The Headwind. Let me say, Drillski had some choice words about this. Ironically, I couldn’t hear half of his rant over the wind! And after one final steep sting where the wind hit us with everything it had got we had made it to the top without stopping or walking, a pretty impressive feat if I say so myself. I was running on pure adrenaline on the way down the other side, I had never felt so good and true to myself, I’ll tell you that.
After one final check in with Mum with only 10 miles to go along the river estuary into Barmouth I was on such a high! I remember saying something like ‘I want to do something like this again! You’ve got me hooked!’ I thought it was going to be a nice easy last 10 miles, along a flat/downhill riverside trail, rolling into Barmouth on a high.
Well, they do say ignorance is bliss.
With 3 miles to go I hit the wall. I was exhausted, we had been out for coming up to 13 hours, we still had a really blustery head wind rolling in from the sea, it was taking a lot of effort to keep going on the horrible fine chippings that just slow you down. I just started crying and well, let’s just say, the phrase ‘I haven’t got any gels left’ is becoming a famous phrase in our house and I think it’ll become a running joke on the same level as ‘I can’t see, I can’t see!’ or ‘SLAM SLAM SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK’ :oops:(if you ask me nicely, I may tell you). Dad gave me lots of gels and after the nausea had worn off, we set off again, taking it nice and slow as we went over the railway bridge.
We rolled into Barmouth at quarter past nine and I can’t speak for Dad but I was utterly exhausted and verging on hysteria. It wasn’t the big finish I had envisioned, but then I don’t think I would’ve had it any other way. We sat done on a bench on the promenade, eating some delicious fish and chips (if anyone’s in Barmouth, I would definitely recommend the Harbour Fish Bar, they’re quality!) having a bit of a cry and babbling hysterically down the phone. I’d love to be able to tell you how I felt at the end but I have absolutely no idea! I’d say I was numb with exhaustion but it was more of an emotional overload to be honest, I was feeling everything at once; exhaustion; disbelief; excitement; hunger; happiness. It’s a bit of a shame really that I never really got to have the ‘Oh my god I rode 110 miles to Barmouth that’s amazing!’ moment but I’m sure it’ll creep up on me one day. Probably in the middle of an AS Biology lesson or something.
I would like to say a thank you to everyone at Swinnerton Cycles in Birches Valley for providing gear and words of encouragement whenever we dropped in, especially to Veronica and everyone on her Ladies Rides who are oh-so-supportive, lovely company, excellent riders and just a great little support network. Also thank you to everyone here on Singletrack for being supportive and hilarious at times and for donating so generously to this cause, you’ve honestly blown me away with your compassion and willingness to help! Thank you to everyone else who has donated and offered support, it really helped me through the day knowing that we had already been given so much. Thank you to my friends who have been very supportive and understanding when I’ve cancelled or missed things when I’ve been out training. Thank you to my brother Ben for doing the updates while we were doing the ride. Thank you for my mum for washing riding clothes at least three times a week, being there to pick us up if we needed it, make us flapjack, be emotional support, and follow us around on the day with food, a bowl to wash in and kind words. But most of all thank you to my dad, who is the best dad in the world in my eyes. I have so much to thank him for, mainly for making me start biking in the first place. It’s honestly changed my life and I can’t imagine what I would be without it. So thank you for believing in me, pushing me to do more and picking me up when I fell off- literally! You’ve were there all the way so thank you Dad, so much, more than I can ever say.
This was the best thing I’ve ever done, as well as the hardest. Everyone keeps saying how amazing what we’ve done is and it was “I s’pose” but at the end of the day, it was just a thing I did. It was hard and long and exhausting and absolutely brain tinglingly phenomenal, but it was just a thing. What is more extraordinary for me is that the world is still as kind and generous as you think it is as a kid, if you know were to look. I can’t explain how the ride has made me feel but however happy and amazed I am by what I've done, I’m infinitely more amazed by what you've done, what people are still doing, which is being compassionate and just taking the time to offer advice or a few words of encouragement, and especially give your hard earned money to a complete stranger it really does mean the world to me. So thank you for everything you've done.
Money sent, but I have to ask (been in the same position and had that same thought) are you thinking what will I do next?
Russel96 'what next?' Well since the weekend I've had TWO offers of places on 24 hour races including from the mighty sumos! Not sure how serious they are, but racing in a sumo suit does seem like the right side of ridiculous!
Fantastic Ellie, the best bit was that you kept going when it was all going wrong. Superb effort and brilliant write-up.
Thank you all for your positive feedback on the write up, nice to know someone's enjoyed it! Good to get feedback from fellow bikers too, as much as my friends have been supportive, they can't really understand what I've done
bravo - top effort.
Next time ,make your dad ride through the puddles first!
[proud dad mode/] not only does she knock off a 110 mile ride on her mtb through wales, not only does she raise over £1.5k ( with all your kind STWer help!)but last week she picked up 12 A*-A GCSE's! Top Daughter!!!! [proud dad mode/]
Brilliant - I think that video was worth the donation alone, will keep me giggling all day
Well done for A grades too
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