The plan was to finish work at 4pm on Thursday afternoon and try and get some sleep before an 11pm start from Caernarfon castle. In the end I didn’t manage to sleep at all as I was thinking about the route and the 220 miles of mostly off road riding that was in front of me.
10.30pm came so I rode the 7 miles to the start line. At 11pm I headed off from Caernarfon along the ‘Lon Eifion’ cycle path to Bryncir. The route then followed the cycle route 8 through Porthmadog before the first major climb from Rhyd to Maentwrog. I was then on the first real off-road part going round the Trawsfynydd Power Station and lake. I managed to get lost for a while as some construction work had made the path hard to follow. I got back on route after carrying my bike over some fences and through some muddy fields.
I crossed the road from Trawsfynydd and up towards Coed y Brenin via Sarn Helen. I did a few of the Coed y Brenin trails before my planned water stop. The first major issue was that the tap I was relying on for a top up had boiling hot coming out. Really didn’t fancy drinking it so decided to pedal along the ‘Big Doug’ trail out towards Dolgellau hoping I could find some water there. I knew this was going to be a big challenge as it had already taken 4.5 hours to arrive in Coed y Brenin on this route, not the usual 2.5 miles it normally takes me to ride to races there. In the end my only option for water in Dolgellau was the police station at 4am!!
Out of Dolgellau I was back on Route 8 for some really nasty climbs that I found really hard and on to Dyfi Forest for another nasty climb which was unrideable and needed me to hike a bike for 500 metres. The downhill section of the Climax Trail soon passed and daylight was setting in which was a massive relief.
I arrived in Machynlleth at around 6am and by now i was knackered after being awake for the last 24hours, so I decided to stop and sleep under a bench outside the rugby club for an hour.
I felt much better after a power nap and was soon back climbing again out of Mach towards the Nant y Moch Reservoir. This off-road part seamed to last forever and was really remote and I was fed up of seeing sheep after sheep. After another hike a bike section lasting around 2 miles and some pretty deep river crossings I arrived on the trails of Nant yr Arian.
This section proved very difficult as my Garmin died and I lost all maps. So my only option was to follow Route 8 towards Brecon and then head along the Taff Trail all the way to Cardiff. It would have proved impossible to follow the route through Tywi Forest and then over Epynt without the maps on my Garmin as all the route was all new to me!
I finally arrived at Cardiff Castle at 22.09 on the Friday night. Getting a few funny looks riding through Cardiff covered in mud on my MTB!
My total milage was 324km in 23 hours 9 min and the total money raised for Chwilog Primary School and the Air Ambulance was £1250. Thanks to all that donated.