This week’s blog is written by Lara.
“I am NOT going up that f****** mountain!”
That’s how it feels when you’ve been cycling for 5 hours into the rain and wind, with barely a stop, and you don’t know where you are but you know it’s miles from home, and the other thing you know is in order to get home, you have to climb Caerphilly mountain. I can’t remember whether it was myself or Andy who uttered that infamous phrase, but it captured how we were both feeling at that point. Mike on the other hand, is a machine and he had barely broken a sweat. So how did we get to that stage, and how was it that myself and Andy ended up in the back of beyond, waiting for a train from Ystrad Mynach train station?
The plan to ride 100km had been devised a while ago. I hadn’t been too keen (I was bricking it to be honest) until I bought myself a brand new B’Twin 700 Alur bike last weekend. What attracted me was how light the bike was, and the fact it had a Shimano 105 groupset (whatever that means, but I know it’s good). So I was well up for the cycle, and quite pleased that I’d negotiated to meet Andy and Mike in front of the office, which is 5 mins from my front door, so I could have more of a lie-in. So Mike and Andy had both done about 3 miles before we met, but I’d only done about 100m.
The start of the run was glorious – we were on the coast road to Newport with the wind behind us, and we were flying. There had been a treacherous run to get to this point mind. Andy was navigating in Gareth’s absence, and we’d taken a wrong turning and were heading straight for the A48(M), which leads onto the motorway. Now I’m not blaming Andy as my navigational skills are non-existent, but as the cars were getting quicker and quicker I did ask Andy, “are you sure we’re allowed to be cycling on this road?” We ended up running with our bikes across a dual carriageway, I got mud in my cleats (again, but at least it wasn’t dog poo), but eventually we were on the right road.
Things went pretty well from there on in, but when we hit Usk I began getting demoralized, because although my sense of direction is appalling, I have a rough idea of where Usk is, and I know it’s nowhere near Cardiff. The wind was still hitting us but we ploughed on. Massive shout out to Andy who took the brunt of the wind for 95% of the journey. You see, we’re a bit of a goldilocks team: Mike’s excuse for not leading is he’s too fast, mine is that I’m too slow, but Andy is just right.
Somewhere after Pontypool I got really disheartened and dropped off. When I caught up with the boys I had a mini-tantrum. There were a few more expletives but the gist of it was, “where are we, how far is it, I’m knackered I hate cycling I want to go home now, and I can’t cycle up a mountain”. This is where the “I’m not going up that f****** mountain” phrase was uttered. We decided that Andy and myself would catch the train from Caerphilly, and Mike would continue back to Cardiff, which buoyed me up until we hit more hills and I just had enough. I had another mini-tantrum and said I was going no further and I’d ring Liam to come and get me, at which point Andy and Mike said there was a station at Ystrad Mynach, which was about 5 miles away, and Andy and I would get a train from there. Mike left us at the station to power on over Caerphilly mountain and back to Cardiff. When we got to the station Andy had done over 100km. When I checked my Strava I’d done 99.4km!! That’ll teach me for being lazy. So when I got off the train I cycled round the block to make my total up to 100km, jumped promptly in the bath then went to bed!
Look out for more adventures in the next blog ………….