A tale of a weekend of; Going Nice Places, Doing Good Things and raising money for a good cause!!
A close friend and cycling buddy- Pete, was looking to take on a challenge to fundraise for a neonatal intensive care unit that looked after his baby girl when she was born last year. With this perfect excuse for an adventure, he hatched a plan to undertake a home cooked triathlon, involving; a 1km swim in Llyn Dinas at the foot of Yr Wyddfa, a 30 mile cycle ride circumnavigating the base of the mountain, and a trail run up and down Yr Wyddfa 3 times equating to a marathon in distance.
The complete challenge was to be undertaken by Pete and Matt 1, whilst Matt 2 (second best Matt!) was to join them for the run and act as chief photographer. I, game for a weekend away in Yr Wyddfa (and not one to turn down the opportunity spend time in spectacular places) happily offered to act as support crew, rescue boat and wind break on the ride!
The weeks leading up to the challenge were filled with local MTB rides, swims and runs in and around the South Downs in an attempt to get us all match fit. Pete new to cold water swimming was literally in at the deep end with a few trial sessions in a local lake, to test gear and acclimatise himself to swimming in neoprene!
The challenge was to take place in April and the week prior, saw the mountain forecast and ground reports on Yr Wyddfa still reporting sub zero temperatures, ice and snow, so a bit more gear was packed just in case!
We were however pleasantly surprised when we finally got to Eryri to be greeted by calm and relatively mild conditions.
The day of the challenge began at 5:00am with a quick breakfast and then out on the water of Llyn Dinas for the swim. We were blessed with a mirror like surface and a heavenly sunrise behind us as we reached the end of the lake. The beaming smiles on everyone’s faces said it all.
A quick(ish) change and a flask of coffee and the three of us were off on the bikes for a circular ride around the foot of Yr Wyddfa. From the lakeside we had a steady ascent up to Peny Pass, followed by a sweeping descent into Llanberis, which was only slightly dulled by getting stuck behind the tourist shuttle bus!
A few more ups and downs as we rounded the western side of the mountain before we made our way along quite roads with fantastic views on the southern side of the mountain. It was then back to base camp for the lads to fuel and change into their trail gear.
First up was the Watkin Path, up to the summit and then back down Rhyd-Ddu where we rendezvoused at the Ranger carpark for water refills, food and a rejig of gear. The guys had made good time and at this point the sun was high in the sky and the suncream had to be applied. We then all climbed, once more, this time taking the Ranger path to the summit.
We were blessed with 360 degree views from the summit, but with little time to spare the views were quickly admired and the obligatory “look we made it photo” was taken before we headed back down.
I took the more leisurely route and retraced my steps back down to the van for the next stage in my support duties, whilst the other 3 guys headed down the Pyg Track making their descent to Pen-y- Pass. A quick about turn at the pass and they headed back up the Miners Track as their final ascent. By this stage it was getting late in the day and the sunshine had traded places for cloud and snow fall.
With very weary legs the trio had one last push to make down the Llanberis path to Llanberis town where I was waiting to scrape them up at the end of the track! As darkness descended they appeared at the foot of the trail, but in true challenge style they insisted on running into town to ensure they could record the complete 26.2miles making it a Marathon. The day was rounded off with a well-earned beer and (as it was the only place serving food at the late(ish) hour) a swift curry.
The weekend was a true testament to two things- 1 anything is possible if you put your mind to it and 2. how wonderful it is to spend time outdoors in great places with great friends.
Ps. Not to mention a healthy £8500 was raised for much needed kit for the Neonatal unit at QA in Portsmouth.