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The Gecko Challenge - Day 1

Well the week was upon us, were we ready? Kind of...

We were to cycle from Cardiff to Builth Wells on Tuesday; Builth Wells to Dolgellau Wednesday; and Dolgellau to Colwyn Bay on Thursday.
First up, Mother Nature was NOT playing ball. Flash floods across Britain were not what we were hoping for. Monday morning we embarked on our journey, the 1.5 mile cycle to the train station and we were drenched! Our first train was cancelled and the all subsequent trains for the line were also cancelled. BALLS!
A Gecko Angel in the shape of Ryan’s Dad stepped in and ran us down to Cardiff. Unfortunately this meant dismantling our bikes…

Day 1: Cardiff to Builth Wells - The weather stuck with ‘torrential rain’.
Before we got out of Cardiff, Ryan was experiencing gear problems, some roadside servicing and we were off! (This is the only picture of Day 1 as this is the only opportunity due to the down pouring).

Road side maintenance

By the time we got to Caerphilly it was evident I had a problem with my knee, but it was manageable. Due to the problems we had getting out of Cardiff we were quite behind and decided It would be best to get a hot lunch somewhere where we could also dry off and warm up before continuing our journey, once we had got some distance in from Cardiff.
Unfortunately by the time we started looking out for such a venue they was none to be found! We learnt quickly from that mistake. So, it was a very, very, VERY wet and cold and extremely empty duo that rocked up into Merthyr Tydfil at 5pm!! We refuelled and considered our options… They were few and grim. My knee, by this point, was excruciating.
We had a hotel booked in Builth Wells, but couldn’t go any further on bike as it would mean going through Brecon Beacons via the Taff trail in the dark.
Not sure it would set a great example, especially if one of the North Wales Mountain Rescue teams had to come and retrieve us (The guys we are fundraising for!). We could get a train to hotel and come back down to Merthyr in the morning to carry on… That was a no go, not only were the trains still up the spout, the last scheduled one left at 3.30pm.
There was nothing for it, we found the nearest hotel and followed the directions for it. 45 minutes later (after setting out on a 10 minute walk) we found ourselves in the middle of a housing estate with Google map telling us said hotel was in front of us… After going back to where we started and ignoring Google maps we found the hotel and warmed our very bones.

- Ema Davidson

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