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Pontneddfechan - Cardiff

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Pontnedfechan – Cardiff – MTB: 51.637624, -3.327484

Pontnedfechan – Cardiff – MTB

I don’t recall much of the Transition at Pontnedfechan, I have a vague notion of it being outside but other than that not much else. We were of course thinking, we’re on out way home, this is the last stage, we’ll soon be in Cardiff. But then we remembered that this was the Itera and nothing was going to be easy and so it proved.

The route through the forest, bloody forests again!, was confusing and steep and many paths and tracks were blocked off. There were some expected forest workings and detours to follow which we had been briefed about but many teams complained of barriers being locked and obstructions in places where they were not meant to be.

The lack of sleep was not helping at all. At one point I climbed onto a huge boulder, which was blocking the track, curled up and promptly fell asleep. The others in the team just had to try to huddle round and pull the bothy bag over all of us as best they could. It was not a productive sleep.

Then we were up again following the trail essentially down the Rhonda Valley then picking up the Taff Trail at Pontypridd. Even with the waymarked trail the navigation was difficult and time consuming. The final sections, finding the Castle Coch just before Cardiff was especially challenging. Much of the problem was a lack of confidence and of course lack of sleep, the tensions between us all were really marked at this point and so it continued to the final miles before the finish.

The last few miles as we entered the outskirts of Cardiff we still a challenge and even though it was now daylight we were taking much longer than expected.

Finally we started to recognise sections of the Cardiff Bay Trail from our prologue run at the beginning of this journey, now over a week ago. The last mile or two around the bay was a huge mix of emotions for me and its only now weeks after the event I’m making sense of them.

The Finish

Finish Team Fans
Finish Team Fans

And then we’re there, almost forcibly relieved of our bikes by Andy, we link arms and run and stagger towards the finish and the cameras together. Hugs all round, medals from James T and what a sense of relief and pleasure and pain and ….

medalsWe’d done it, survived, finished, properly before the cut-off, not caring about what position we’d come, just about the fact we’d FINISHED! And then more emotions and wondering about friends and their status, about food and sleep and showers ……

These people made this possible .. I love you all.

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