THE FREESOUL PROJECT

Surf - Photography - MTB - Run - Travel - Van Life - Art - Humanism



By now we had reached the "business end" of the cycle. We were nearing the end of this epic, beautiful course which had stretched far and wide across the Snowdonia National Park out to the beautiful coast and back through some of the famous towns and villages of North Wales.

At this point in the race we were all tired. But, there is tired and there is tired. Matt, Lemmy and I were tired, driving around all day being hyper vigilant is tiring. But in comparison to the type of tired Trig was feeling I'm pretty sure it didn't compare.

The course would soon again begin to serve up some serious, long, steep hills so Trig had a quick pasta break before moving onto the next stage.

Matt D had built up a reasonable lead over Trig going into the final part of the day and full credit has to be given to him. The guy is a machine on a bicycle. But, with a lead from the day before to consider as well as tomorrow's double marathon ahead of them there was everything to play for and anything could happen. For team Trig, things were certainly about to happen!

Matt, Lemmy and I had made our way back inland and had gotten ahead of both Matt D and Trig out on the road. We noticed that Dave, one of the events organisers and my new mates Pete and Dave perched up on a hill waiting for the athletes. We stopped and joined them for a chat and to take some photos while we waited for the lads to make it up this hill.

Pasta, pasta makes you go faster...
Matt D, cycling machine

When you're looking down at a hill from above and can see that it's taking cars a good five mintues to drive up you know that this hill is a bit of a killer. When we first caught sight of Matt D and Trig they were just tiny pin-head dots at the bottom. This hill out of them all so far looked like the longest and steepest so far. It was painful just watching them grinding it up this monster.

As Trig scratched his way to the top the first in series of problems were about to start. On the way up the hill pedalling like an absolute madman Trig had broken on of the clasp's on his shoe (a clasp locks you into the pedals for stability and safety).

As he made it up the hill we could hear him shouting for us. I ran down to see what the problem was and we quickly sprinted back to van to get a the clasp replaced so Trig could get back out on the road. we managed to do this quickly without any major issues and off he went again

Matt and I jumped into the van and decided we would get a good few miles lead of Trig now and stop quickly to grab some food to get us through the rest of the day. It was about 2pm at this point and we'd not eaten since before the race had started that morning. As we went on ahead we saw coach Whittle in his van who was also on the route as part of our support team, we gave him a hoot and carried onto the nearest petrol station. When we got to the petrol station, without a thought and seriously hungry we both headed in to grab some scooby snacks. We must of been in the petrol station less than 2 minutes and sat on the wall outside eating our snacks and waiting for Trig to reach us.

Five minutes passed by and we'd finished our food, no sign of Trig yet so we were just chatting away. Another few minutes passed and we said to each other this is weird he should be here by now, surely? We tried to phone coach Whittle and see if he'd passed him, no signal. Bollocks!

At this point we werent sure what to do, whether to drive backwards to check that everything was ok or forwards in the minuite chance that he'd passed us when we went into the petrol station. We decided to drive ahead, and were met with a fork in the road.

Now, we had the route and the map in the van with us so we knew the route but if Trig had passed us he wouldnt have a clue as it was our job to direct him. Pure panic set in at this point, we were frantic. We drove in the most obvious direction for about 5 miles to see if Trig had gone that way, no sight. Turned around and went the way he was meant to go on the correct route, no sight, FUUUUUCK!!. This was not good, at this stage in the race Trig needed us perhaps more than ever and we'd most definitely lost him.

Driving back and forth for a good 15 minutes we eventually got some signal and managed to get hold of coach Whittle who said "Yes, he passed you at the petrol station ages ago, he's on the right route but he's bonking and he needs you". Luckily for us Whittle had followed Trig and passed us at the petrol station and put Trig on the right course, all of this happened in the 2 mins that we were in the station and we didn't have a clue!


Hill of doom...
Brutal...

We raced on to catch up with Trig who at this point was extremely fatigued, hungry and in need of some fluids. We'd fucked up big time and understandably Trig was pissed off. We had to take it on the chin and apologise to him as we got him sorted and ready to get back on the road. This was the final stage of an absolutely brutal cycle and a momentary lapse in concentration had caused complete panic for us and made Trig's already gargantuan task just a little bit harder. Onwards!

After that we had a good run of it for a good twenty miles. Trig had taken on some food and drinks and was back on the road. Matt and I shot off ahead and stopped in a layby. In the field next to the layby were some cows, I was on my phone and Matt took Lemmy off for a little walk and over to see the cows.

Trig came down the road, still a bit flustered from us losing him. As he got to his brother, Matt just pointed at the cows a went: "Moo" as Trig rode past not loudly or impersonating a cow, just "Moo". In a mix of all of us being tired and slightly delirious we all just burst into fits of laughter. Trig carried on cycling, shaking his head and pissing himself laughing at this brother as he carried on down the road.

After a good laugh, Trig was soon flying again and taking it in his stride. Making a good dent in the final 40 miles of the course, things had settled down and we'd got back into a nice flow. The next thing, we recieved a phone call from Claire at HQ saying there had been a serious accident on one of the roads which the course was due to take us and we would need to take a detour.

Claire gave me a rough talk through the detour and on the map I tried to figure it all out as we kept moving. When I'd figured it out we let Trig catch up with us and update Trig on the plan.

A few miles down the road we pulled over to the side of the road and Trig caught us up. Trig sat at the side of the road while we went through the plan for the detour and the next thing a police car turns up.

A passer by had flagged a police woman down on the road thinking that we had run Trig over in the van and that he was at the side of the road injured! The lady started to radio for an ambulance and Matt and Trig started to joke that we had actually run him over, not realising that she was on the radio ordering an ambulance for the injured cyclist.

I explained to the officer that they were joking and nothing had indeed happened and that Trig was taking part in an endurance event and was taking a quick break at the side of the road.


The injured cyclist.
North Wales Police.

Unimpressed with our southern welsh humour, she called back on the radio to explain that there was no issue and off she went. We got back on the road and shortly after Claire from HQ called back to say the original route was now clear and we could continue on with the original plan. The final part of the course was not letting up on both beauty and brutality.

Matt and I were dreaming of cold beers whilst I'm pretty sure Trig was just dreaming of food and bed. It had been a long, crazy day with a mix of hilarious highs and panic inducing lows. Trig navigated the final 20 miles of the course with no dramas but was visibally cream - crackered as we made it back to Swallow Falls Hotel.

Trig had completed the second day's proceedings in true style. I keep referring to Wacky races because on this day at times it really did feel like the ultra - endurance version. Most things that could've gone wrong, did go wrong, but team Trig got the job done and we had a bloody good laugh doing it.

As Mark, Matt and I got stuck into a few beers Trig hit a bench for a well deserved rest. In second place after day 2, the following day's double marathon would determine who would win the UMUK Ultraman 2018.

Man up princess...
Support crew, sponsored by San Miguel.


The Freesoul Project 2019 - Made in Wales