Get Inspired: Beating the odds

Ready for the off!
Ready for the off!

Stunning scenery, 15,000 bikes and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Last weekend saw the first Velothon Wales event on our roads from Cardiff to Abergavenny and back again, some cyclists competing for fun, others to defy the odds.

Here are some of their stories.

Sophie Wetherall

Sophie Wetherall (50km)

Despite being injured in a horse riding accident in 2010 which rendered her left arm unusable and in constant pain, forty-two-year old Sophie Wetherall from Worcestershire has overcome the odds to compete in this year's event.

"I taught myself to run by starting off with small distances, but by the end of 2013 I had run my first marathon"

Next on Sophie's list of skills was to master cycling and swimming with one hand, which led to her completing two sprint triathlons in early 2014. Her strong will and determination has rubbed off on her family too.

"As a family, cycling is something we can do together. My son, Callis, who is eight has even started competing as well! Cycling has taught him that its all in his power. He's the only one that can make him go faster, he has to have that mental strength and I hope I've been able to teach him that.

My mentality has completely changed, I definitely feel more competitive now, especially with triathlons. At the beginning, as long as I didn't crash, drown or fall over I was happy, but now it's how fast I can go!

Everyone can do it, its just a case of deciding when!"

Adam Gardner (140km) & Daniel Bailey

Daniel Bailey and Adam Gardner

"16 years ago I donated my Bone Marrow to Daniel who was suffering from Leukaemia at the time, and we've met for the first time today." says Adam Gardner from Gelli, Rhondda.

"I got over the line, went to collect my medal and Daniel was walking towards me to present me with my medal. I'd seen photos of him on Facebook and thought "Oh my god, that's Daniel" so that was it, I was gone! It was really dusty, but yeah, it was quite an emotional moment."

And fate had a lot to do with it, as Daniel explains: "My mum's aunt who actually lived in Wales at the time and I believe lived on the same street, saw the article in the local gazette, brought it up to London and it turned out that Adam was in fact a suitable donor."

And would Daniel recommend registering to others? "Definitely, do it. it's not as bad as everyone thinks. But when you get that phone call saying you're a possible match for someone suffering with Leukaemia, you do it.

I'm not special, I just happen to have been a good match, and I'm thankful and lucky to have had the opportunity."

Samantha Povey

Samantha Povey (140km)

Samantha, 18 from Gloucestershire has battled depression, social anxiety and eating disorder traits for the past two years after struggling to cope with the pressure of her GCSEs.

The combined efforts of medications and counsellors were to no avail, and subsequently left college due to her inability to cope. It was at this point that Samantha's sister, Rachael, who is an avid cyclist, introduced her to the world of cycling, which became a turning point for Samantha.

"I have now discovered cycling as a way of coping with any anxieties that I might face on a day to day basis. Everything just seems so much better when I am out on my bike. I always return from a ride with a massive smile on my face. Its the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Samantha is now focusing on re-building her confidence and looking to follow her interests at Open University, and 10 day courses to help her get the qualifications she needs to pursue a career as a cycling mechanic.

"For the first time in a long time, I feel really positive and exciting about the future, and it's all thanks to cycling".

The inaugaral Velothon Wales

If you would like to get into cycling, take a look at our dedicated guide to get you started.

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