What an event; four days of sheer torture and happiness. Three hard stages plus three nights camping out with a great bunch of lads.
Day 1 – leaving the Choir Hall early afternoon in the mini-bus, driven by Leon to the Gateway Holiday Park in Llanelli. Eventually tents put up and bedded-down for the night following a meal and a couple of beers in the camp clubhouse.
Day 2 – joined by ex-Welsh Rugby International, Ray Giles, it was on the mini-bus to Fishguard followed by the fantastic support crew. On arriving in Fishguard and making our way down to the Old Town, the only way out was via a one mile steep hill. Some miles later on leaving the food stop at Crymych, we took a wrong turning and ended up 10 miles out of the proposed route, eventually arriving at Carmarthen some two hours later than scheduled. The rest of the journey saw us climb (yet again) to Kidwelly before reaching Pembrey Forest and the Millenium Coastal Path, eventually arriving at the campsite some 80 miles later having climbed 5500 feet. Time for a shower, food, drink and a good nights sleep.
Stage 1 riders: Leon Jones, Tony Griffiths, Spike Hughes, Grahame Morton, Nathan Finney, Greg Tinker, Bob Stevenson, Steve Tobin, David Whittle and Ray Giles.
Stage 1 Support Team: Alyn Dawe, Peter Williams, David Currie Dave and Coral Kirton, and Roger Matthews.
Day 3 – The second ride saw nine riders (minus Ray Giles) leave the campsite having said goodbye and thank you to the holiday camp for their kind hospitality, heading for Swansea. A lovely ride down the Clyne Valley led us to Swansea sea-front, resplendent in the July sunshine with stunning views across the bay to the Mumbles. It was time for an attempt at the fearsome climb of Constitution Hill, a hill famously used in the Tour of Britain, only around 300 metres long but with a gradient of 20% on cobblestones. Three riders; Nathan Finney, Steve Tobin and Bob Stevenson took up the challenge and won, fair play to them, awesome effort. The ride then continued up the Tawe Valley with a stop at Asda in Ystalyfera for lunch, paying a visit to the Dan yr Ogof cave site before taking on the long 8% climb up Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons. A fast descent into Sennybridge and then into Brecon arriving at tea-time at Pencelli Castle campsite. Fish and chips and beer was ordered before laughing the night away around the campfire (well a chair). Distance 60 miles with 4500 feet of climbing.
Stage 2 riders: Leon Jones, Tony Griffiths, Spike Hughes, Grahame Morton, Nathan Finney, Greg Tinker, Bob Stevenson, Steve Tobin and David Whittle.
Stage 2 Support Team: Alyn Dawe, Peter Williams, David Currie, Dave and Coral Kirton, and Roger Matthews.
Day 4 – We were joined at Brecon Canal Basin by another twelve riders bussed up from Caldicot for the third stage. Following photos and good wishes it was a quick stop back at Pencelli Castle to say our thank you’s to site owner Gerwyn, who kindly made a donation of £50 to the charity, before taking on the seven mile climb up to the top of Talybont Reservoir. Met by comforting drinks and sugary sweets handed-out by the support team, to replenish ourselves after the climb, we made our way following the Taff Trail through Merthyr Tydfil to Quakers Yard for lunch. After a brief stop, we had our first drop of rain as we headed through Ystrad Mynach and Ynysddu before arriving at the Monmouthshire Canal at Cross Keys. On through Newport, home was in sight as we rode through Magor, Undy, Rogiet finally arriving at the Choir Hall around 6:30pm, met by rapturous applause by the waiting crowds of choristers, families, friends and the Mayor. Folllowing photographs, it was an evening of entertainment with a lovely Pork Supper, a presentation of flowers and wine to the support team, and apt music from chorister David John spelling out the dangers of Prostate Cancer and a communal sing-song led by Jason Dawe (guitar) with Mike Griffiths playing the cahon. Distance 70 miles with 5800 feet of climbing.
Stage 3 riders: Leon Jones, Tony Griffiths, Spike Hughes, Grahame Morton, Nathan Finney, Greg Tinker, Bob Stevenson, Steve Tobin, David Whittle, John Antell, Kenneth Dann, Chris Nolan, Carolyn Griffiths, Julie Donoghue, Mike Griffiths, Diane Potter, Sue Earnshaw, Alyn Dawe, Jason Dawe, Andy Thomas (Prostate Cymru) and David John.
Stage 2 Support Team: Peter Williams, David Currie, Roger Matthews, Theo Roberts, Kirsty Benjamin, Sue Murphy, Helen Dawe, Dave and Coral Kirton, and David Hennesy.
Pictures of the ride can be seen at http://www.caldicotmalevoicechoir.co.uk/?page_id=677/
About the ride
Following on from previous charity bike rides that members of Cor Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club, an offshoot of Caldicot Male Voice Choir have partaken in, this year we intend to ride from Fishguard to Caldicot, traversing the width of South Wales in order to raise funds for Prostate Cymru.
The ride will be over three stages, visiting many of the beautiful areas of southern Wales including the Presceli Mountains, the Towey Estuary, the Millenium Coastal Path, the Mumbles, Dan yr Ogof Caves, the Brecon Beacons, Talybont Reservoir, the Industrial Past of Merthyr Tydfil, the Taff Trail, The Monmouthshire Canal and the Caldicot Levels.
Stage One will be from Fishguard to Llanelli with an overnight stay at a campsite along the Millenium Coastal Path. Because of the logistics of transport and accommodation the number of riders on this and the second stage will be limited.
Stage Two will take us from Llanelli to Brecon again with an overnight stay. This stage will also have some special challenges including taking-on the famous Constitution Hell, yes Hell. One of the steepest climbs in Britain used many times in professional cycle races including the Tour of Britain.
Stage Three, the intrepid bikers will be joined by up to fifty other charity riders from the choir and friends to complete the last stage back to Caldicot to be met by many supporters and a welcoming party in the Choir Hall.