Bristol or Bust - March 2008

Sometimes the mind of Wolvesy can have some stupid ideas. Sometimes I laugh at them, sometimes I just shake my head in dismay at the fact that they actually came out of his mouth, rarely do I say, “Yeah I’m up for that”. Well the phone call I got as he and the ‘Nut of Wingedness’ returned from the Swans v Leeds game must have caught me unaware. Within two minutes I agreed to ride a bike to Mangotsfield in six weeks time to raise money for the club. I didn’t even have a bike for god’s sake!!!!
Within ten days I’m on the Taff trail from Aberfan about half way through a 10 mile training ride trying to quantify how stupid an idea it was. As we approached Rhydycar the chain jumped off the cog and I hit the handle bars with a thump, I knew the bike was an alien concept to me and that this idea was by far the most stupid one he’d ever come up with. Wolvesy left me and Wingnut to head off to Helogerrg, little did either of us know that as he went around the corner he fell off the bike and collapsed in the grass with exhaustion. That’ll learn him and his beer fueled brain.
You get the idea to this point, we were far from ready, but as the five weeks progressed the training got easier and a week before the big day we even left the borough of Merthyr for a brief few minutes. I felt like an explorer from the 15th century, with people telling me how daft an idea it was. I simply held the belief that Bristol was ‘downhill all the way’, in the same way Ferdinand Magellen told the Portugese that the world was in fact round. Magellen was right and I was kidding myself with bravado, as I was soon to find out. I’d also been given a ton of advice from experienced cyclists and the school of thought was that Bananas and Tracker bars were the best source of energy and should be consumed at every possible chance.
The day came for the big ride and I met Sparky, Kyle, Ricky, Wolvesy and Wingnut at the gates of PP. Dai ‘The Exile’ Webb was there in the support vehicle. I did worry when he reported that he had no tools, oil or life support equipment. He had no bananas and there wasn’t a tracker bar to be seen. Who organised him? He did have about 60 litres of Mango Powerade on board, a taste I would learn to hate with a passion in the next 27 hours. In fact Mango juice now equals pain in my mind and will do so until the day I die. The tracker bars I’d packed also tasted like cardboard as you’d expect.
I realised as I left PP that I only had two of the twenty one gears on my bike working – 12th and 14th, this was the same amount as Kyle. What Kyle had over me was the snapped cruciate he’d suffered 18 months earlier – by god he’s a tough boy and would suffer over the next 65 miles. Ricky was going to lead the way from the off as he made light work of the whole day, not once did he get out of the saddle to push. The rest of us were the wrong side of thirty and we slowly put Quakers Yard, Nelson, Ystrad and Measycymmer on the list of been there. I’d eaten 4 tracker bars to date.
The first hairy moment happened at Cross Keys where a wrong turn saw us heading down the dual carriageway. A road full of huge lorries soon had Papa Wolf shaking like a shitting dog. We soon got into Risca in one piece and needed to find the canal. Sparky asked an old lady at a bus stop to point us the way and in doing so she missed her bus. Not one of us cared to apologies – we were on a mission after all. Within minutes of finding the canal we hit an area called ‘Fourteen Locks’. This part of the run is a similar to Regent Street in Dowlais, but is around 4 miles long. We hit the bottom in about five minutes and we ranged from shades of light white to a dark white – it was scary but as our motto of the day read, “Downhill is the future”. As we entered Newport I ate a tracker bar to calm my nerves.
In minutes we made it to County’s Spytty Park. The welcome was piss poor, they let us use the bogs, but other than that it was just like usual – short on entertainment and smiles.
The next part of the ride I will skirt over as the road from Newport to Chepstow would send the most ardent insomniac off to the land of nod. Needless to say the coastal wind tested our resolve and I consumed another 4 tracker bars. PlasMeyrick saw the Ginger Giant net an unwelcome puncture, but within minutes we were on the old Severn Bridge. Scary? Big time! Hail, gale force winds and a twenty mile an hour speed limit were on offer. I did have to slow down so the speed traps didn’t catch me out – Sorry I could have walked across quicker I was that tired. I was to the point of giving up and so were the rest of the MTFC newly formed Bike Club. The Travelodge in Aust was a welcome site and after eight hours in the saddle the 90 minutes I spent in the hot bath was bliss.
A bit of dinner and eight pints of Stella later, I can’t remember returning to the Lodge. The following day was a piece of cake, with the 15 miles completed in two hours. We arrived at 11am in Mangotsfield and the Mango bar staff looked after us with beer, chips and a free entry. Wolvesy fell asleep in the pub before becoming Mrs Wolves, with a transvestite act of perverse levels. I was that tired and getting drunk that he started to look slightly attractive by half time.
Dai Twigg somehow caught us up by doing the trip in five hours, sadly he was disqualified from the day as he looked like an extra from Ali Baba and the 40 thieves when he turned up. Surely cyclists do not need to look so pseudo-erotic to hit the road at such speeds.
The reception we received entering the ground was by all accounts awe inspiring with mams, dads and kids cheering us in. It was appreciated, but wasted on me as we’d been in the pub for nearly three hours and I was just about capable of pedalling the 200 yards to the ground. Thanks anyway if you did stand there and cheer us home.
Merthyr won thanks to goals from Marcus Griffiths and Mike Jones and by Nine O’Clock I had to make a bee-line for my bed as exhaustion had set in. We made around £1,800 for the club and were repaid with a ban from the directors – how much of an own goal was that. Whatever they do, they will not break our spirit and our ability to carry out the stupid ideas of the fool from Heolgerrig. Next year he has promised us a rowing boat to Weston Super Mare or riding a horse to Gloucester – Anyone up for either?
Eddie Mercs


Chairman Mao said…
You are a little diamond, there are more ideas where that came from. Historic walks dressed in tudor costume is the latest, is it relevant to MTFC? Who cares!
Suntan Sammy said…
I still think we should look into hiring the 'Waverly' for the away trip to Clevedon, gotta be done one year!


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