Gary Rode WC2C

On 17/08/2012 by GaryLake

Gary rode WC2C!
Gary is still fundraising for the Cots for Tots appeal on Just Giving, any donations are appreciated!

I did it! On Saturday 4th of August I left Caernarfon Bay in North Wales and I cycled the 200 miles off road to Cardiff Bay. I did this non-stop and it took a little longer than expected. So far I’ve raised around £1300 (I’ve not counted all the offline donations and random pennies!) but I’m still collecting and there’s still time to donate.

Champagne in Cardiff!

Speaking of which, I’ve been informed that all the donations being currently received are going towards a NEST incubator which will allow St Michael’s Hospital to be able to transfer the sickest of premature babies. It’s also being used to fit out accommodation at the Cots for Tots house so that parents of premature babies actually have somewhere to stay nearby. There are so many awareness and research charities about, which all have their place and do fantastic work, but I think it’s really amazing to actually see the money being raised here go into something so tangible. Thank you so much if you’ve already donated!

“the donations being currently received are going towards a NEST incubator which will allow St Michael’s Hospital to be able to transfer the sickest of premature babies”

Back to the ride, afterall that’s the thing I’ve done to try and justify your donations! I mentioned it took a little longer than expected. I’d planned on leaving Caernarfon at 10am Saturday, to ride all day, through the night and hopefully arrive in Cardiff not too long after 10am Sunday. It didn’t pan out that way and I actually arrived in Cardiff at 10pm some 36 hours of riding later!

You’re probably wondering two things, how did I get my time estimate so wrong, and secondly, “what the hell?”

I’ve been asking myself the same things and I’m hoping to write everything up properly when I’ve had a chance to process what happened. What I can say is that:

  • It was even harder than I anticipated, and by some degree!
  • I now appreciate exactly how wet the summer has been so far, and stuff grows more as a result.
  • I also appreciated on the day, how wet the summer still is!
  • That even the most simple of navigation tasks suddenly becomes impossible once you’ve been up for 27 hours and riding for 24 of them.
  • That the people that have done this before me are so hard as nails!
  • I’ve got seriously bad ass friends, cheers for coming guys and not buggering off the second it looked like a Sunday night finish was on the cards.
  • Riding for 36 hours is not as bad as it sounds, you just need a lot of pro-plus, caffeinated energy gels and some epic amounts of moral support.
  • Being able to laugh at yourself is a blindly good life skill.
  • Wales is a very pretty but brutal mistress.

Once again, thanks to those of you who have already donated. And if you haven’t already, please do donate anything you can spare. I mean I still can’t feel a thing in the palms of my hands, I’m pretty sure I’ve got arthritis in my knees, and I’ve got a couple of knots in my neck the size of billiard balls. That’s got be worth a few quid! I’m not even going to go there with the saddle sore! Just Giving

As I said, there will be a proper write up soon, with amazing photos by Seb Rogers. I’ve seen some samples and boy has he captured the epicness of it all! In the mean time, here’s some photos that the crew and I took along the way!

Taking my turn at driving up to Caernarfon in our snazzy Mercedes Vito Sport Vans!

Pre-departure faffage.

And he’s off!

Trek were kind enough to loan me one of their Superfly 100 bikes. 36hrs of riding and not a single squeak, creak, click or crack. And no mechanicals, in those conditions, that’s unbelievable! 

That’s what biblical looks like when it’s coming up the valley, that was ‘the storm’. 

And then ‘the storm’ hit. 

Meeting up shortly after ‘the storm’. I might as well have taken shelter in a river. 

Being blinded by the sun while being simultaneously pissed on was a common theme.

It did this a lot though! 

I hadn’t seen a single person or road for 2 hours, I wouldn’t for another 2 hours!

Looking like death after 12 hours as night fell. If I’d known I had another 24 hours to go at this point, I’m not sure I could have carried on!

Sunrise was absolutely epic!

Never too tired to pose like a tourist! Rich Fox had ridden the whole night with me to keep me out of trouble and was on hand for this dorky snap of me grimacing :D

As night set over Cardiff Bay, everyone began to wonder where the hell I’d got to!

Even as I got to Cardiff Bay I managed to get lost trying to find my way around Nando’s! I got there in the end and the sweet taste of Champagne was mine.  

Dream team!

The aftermath. Some have said it doesn’t look that muddy. Well that just shows how much it bloody rained ok! After ‘the storm’, it actually looked as if I’d stopped to clean my bike.

My son was a bit annoyed we left him with Nanny and Grandad. A quick play in the Vito and all was forgiven. 

Recovery, in the form of Tapas! 

Thanks…

I always hate doing this for fear of forgetting someone, but here goes. Thanks to…

Those that donated, it’s the whole point of this and every donation was a little boost that helped get me to the start line, and then to the finish.

My wife Sarah for putting up with what essentially amounts to pretty good grounds for a divorce! Thanks for helping me put this together, for actually coming along and sharing the vans with 6 other men, for helping me keep going, and for always smiling despite the fact I know you didn’t “approve” of any of this. Thanks for always letting me steal your cup of tea and for not putting sugar in your tea knowing full well I’d probably steal it. And thanks finally for agreeing to dry my feet for me at 10:30pm at Nant-yr-arian so I could actually get some dry socks on!

My son William for helping me pack, namely unpacking random items in order to help keep me focused and ensure I didn’t forget anything. Thanks also for coming to Cardiff and keeping everyone entertained. Sorry it took so long!

Steve Dolphin, you’ve crewed every solo race I’ve done, you went beyond the call of duty in helping produce Gary Rides WC2C and I reckon Dave Brailsford should watch his back! Thanks for always saying the right thing or the thing I need to hear when I was out there. Thanks for just being on ball and dealing with all my stupid requests and demands, and for putting up with my grumps/slowness/worries/childlike-indecision. Thanks finally for not getting upset at my attempts to scoff all the Chicken & Mushroom Pot Noodles, despite that flavour being exclusively reserved for you and knowing full well it’s your favorite.

Rich Fox, it was a last minute call and you still came. Thanks for riding with me through the night, for keeping me safe, for keeping me entertained, and at times literally keeping me awake! Thanks for repairing/bodging my ripped tubeless tyre in the middle of the night while I stood there and flapped my arms and scratched my head. Thanks for each and every one of the endless gates you opened and held for me while you were with me. Thanks for riding a massive 15 hours with me, despite me originally only asking you to do just 3 hours.

Remco Merbis for filming the whole thing from within the crew. For putting up with the whole 36 hours despite me never being able to acknowledge you or say anything until the whole thing was over. Everytime I left, I was praying you knew how much I appreciated what you were doing!

Seb Rogers for photographing the whole thing and for still coming despite the bought of insomnia that kicked in just days before! Thanks for driving round and waiting endlessly just to get that one shot. Thanks for getting those shots, the samples so far look awesome! And finally thanks for not asking me to “ride that one more time” like they do for the mags!

Dave Buchanan for convincing me to do this particular ride over the others I had in mind, it was the right call! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge in the build up and dealing with all my grossly long and insecure emails. Thanks for then agreeing to come along. Thanks in particular for the Nant-yr-arian pep talk at the Reservoir and for actually having that light with you. And finally thanks for constantly taking the piss all the way through in exactly the right amount!

Robin Smith for still coming despite the fact that you’d been away from your family the week before, and would be the week after. Thanks for the filming you did, I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting to have a tracking shot of me riding full bore across that top of the Brecons at 200 frames per second – that’s bad ass! And as with Seb, thanks for not asking me to ride stuff over and over again!

Lauren and Julie at the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal for your support and for really getting behind the challenge.

Trek Bikes UK for the bike and all the Bontrager clothing and Accessories. Namely to Helen and Chris for getting all the final stuff I needed out in plenty of time, but also to Griff who’s since moved on but was the guy who bought into the whole project and set this up. Guys, everything was superb!

Mercedes-Benz for the loan of the two Vito Sport Vans. They were the logistical backbone of the whole operation and performed flawlessly. They swallowed all the gear with ease and were a comfy and decent place for the crew to spend and unforeseen 36 hours! Thanks specifically to John and Lucy at Mercedes-Benz, to Lee at ISM, and Ian and the gang at Launch Events for getting them out to us.

Exposure lights for the brilliant Six Packs, Diablos and Flare lights. The night stage of the WC2C always felt a bit intimidating and the Exposure lights made it so much easier. Completely seamless and easy to change over and use, my crew fitted them, switched them on and I never had to touch them. I don’t even recall the halfway point where they switched them over. The fact there was enough juice left for a second evening stint was amazing. Thanks to John and Josh for sorting them out and helping me work out the best combo for the ride.

Osprey Packs for the amazing Raptor hydration packs and Transporter luggage. The Transporters helped keep all my kit organised and allowed the crew to find whatever I needed. The Raptors were so easy to wear and comfortable, no aches, pains or rubbing anywhere. Thanks to Dom for sorting those out!

Madison for providing Garmin’s fantastic Edge 800 GPS unit and actually getting me to Cardiff! And for providing GoPro’s Hero HD2 sports camera. Watch this space for the video of the ride! Cheers to Kellie and James for sorting these out!

Dene Percey of (iL) Soigneur for building me one of his custom Musettes. Loved having my own personal ‘feed bag’ and what a souvenir of the ride!?

Eat My Dirt for giving me some of their Ninja Bike cleaner so that I could a) get the Trek all shiny and new after all the training, and b) sort it out after the WC2C!

Scott Cornish for the emergency physio sessions in the final few weeks to straighten out my wrecked back after my bike crash.

Jon Riley of Truezone Training for coming out and filming me at Bike Fest to put up on my blog.

Sue and Patrick for looking after William all weekend and coming out to Cardiff to see me in. Dad and Kev for coming out to see me and to drive the Vitos back to Bristol. Colin and Sarah for popping out to see me also, was great to see you guys after what must be a couple of years now?

Everyone on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that messaged, retweeted and liked all of the updates we put out!

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