Well I made it!
It was lovely to see the welcoming party outside the church in Ferndale, including some surprise visitors from far away places. Our daughter Nicola and grandson Dylan all the way from Bangalore, and the Holden-Smiths from deepest Surbiton joined the local Welsh contingent and our daughters Natalie and Mallory.
Very emotional and a great tribute to Karen.
The ride itself was more knackering than the previous 3 days and I’m so glad I had those 14 miles in the bank from Friday. There was a bit of a false start at Tredegar Park where it took me 15 minutes to find the right route to Machen. When I did finally get going it didn’t take long before I encountered the first of those famous welsh hills. It took me 25 minutes of low gear climbing to get to the top only to find I had gone the wrong way. A call to my support team, which had been supplemented by local boy Viv, got me on to an alternate route to get me back on track and rt4.
There then followed many more uphill climbs despite assurances from the support team that ‘it’s all downhill from here’. It wasn’t.
Finally I got to Caerphilly and on to the Taff Trail which was thankfully quite flat and very scenic. A cuppa in a greasy spoon in Ponty was the midday break and then it was off up the Rhondda Valley following as much of rt881 as possible. All uphill but not too bad.
Seeing the welcome comittee and banner outside the church was wonderful. A 10 minute break and pictures and then I was back on the bike uphill to Maerdy where Karen was born. The welcome committee beat me there easily and there was time for more photos and hugs.
A wonderful day. Karen would have loved it.