Simon Fuller, our Chairman’s brother, has been tirelessly training ahead of the Wales Velothon which he completed last Sunday, 9th July. The Velothon is no mean feat! Simon cycled over 100km on behalf of us. Here is his inspiring story…
I got the idea from my daughter Eleri who ran the Cardiff half marathon last October to raise money for Epilepsy aware. My eldest daughter Lowri is epileptic. I was impressed with her efforts because she is not a runner. So I thought I should do something as well. I can’t run because my knees are shot but I have ridden a bike for years. So I thought I could enter the Velothon. I was talking to my brother Paul about finding a charity to ride for and quick as a flash he suggested the Children’s Burns Trust, which made perfect sense.
A few of my younger work mates had ridden in the Velothon in the past and said it was tough but proper training shouldn’t be a problem. I trained in the Gym five days a week on the bikes and went out on my bike a couple of times a week gradually building up distance. I live on Caerphilly mountain which is on the route and knew it was an unforgiving climb. So I decided to train on the hills. I climbed hills all over. There are five roads that climb Caerphilly mountain all are challenging but the one on the route is by far the worst. Starts off at over 20% then levels to about 10 then up to 14 and levels off at 8. It is about a mile which I can do in 11 minutes which sounds really slow but it is a ruthless Hill and I am nearly 60. I deliberately kept away from the Tumble which is 2.4 miles rising over 1500 feet. I knew if I tried, it would put me off.
I had enlisted a workmate David Jones and we planned to ride together to support each other, although he is quicker than me. The day dawned and we were joined by another workmate Amanda (Charlie) Trevett who had originally entered the 110kms race (which by passes the Tumble) she swapped her entry and joined us for the 140km. The event is truly international and there were riders from France, Germany Italy and Switzerland, all over the place. There were over 10,000 starters. We were off at 0751 crossing the start line at 0753. The day was bright and sunny and getting hot. The first half of the race was great, the three of us stuck together and got to Usk, the halfway point in 2 hours and 23 minutes. We had to restock with water and the feeding station was rammed, it was by now about 24 degrees.
We set off for the second half and soon started to climb which inevitably slowed us down. I knew I would be slow on the Tumble so I had agreed that Dave and Charlie should go at their pace and I would meet them at the top. Off they went and were soon out of sight. I was making progress and was quite proud of myself I was passing people half my age who were walking up and pushing their bikes. Up it went on and on, like Jacobs ladder. I finally reached the summit in 40 minutes the heat was unbearable and I could hardly breathe, but I did it and met Charlie and Dave at the top. I was exhausted, and still had about 25 miles to the finish. Not to be deterred we set off down the hill which is steep and winding got up to about 36 mph which was a bit quick and hurtled through the Welsh villages of Blaenavon and Abersychan. An hour and a half later we arrived in Caerphilly, Charlie had gone on and left Dave and I behind. We started to slog up the mountain, it was boiling hot and I had no more water, we ground our way up, every turn of the pedals was an agony, we reached the feeding station at the top and a volunteer put half a litre of water in my hand saying well done buddy you did it, I couldn’t speak I just gulped it down and sent another half bottle straight after it. All downhill from there we got back into Cardiff in less than half an hour and crossed the finish line together after 6 hours and 42 gruelling minutes, Charlie was 43 minutes before us crossing in 5 hours and 59 minutes which was amazing. I got off my bike and said to Dave if I suggest doing this again please shoot me. We had a beer and went home. We raised over 1200 quid for this wonderful cause and have had loads of encouragement and support. Would I do it again next year…course I will.