Everest ar y Cowlyd | Dod i 'nabod Kieran Wynne-Cattanach



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Mae Everesting wedi dod yn beth hynod boblogaidd dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf, ac yn ystod y cyfnod clo mae nifer o reidwyr wedi bod yn torri recordiau cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol.


Yn syml, Everesting yw'r gamp o reidio i fyny ac i lawr un allt nes eich bod yn cyrraedd uchder Mynydd Everest, sef 8,848m (29,029 troedfedd). Yn ol y wefan sy'n olrhain yr holl geisiadau, mae'n "gythreulig o syml ond yn giaidd o galed, dyma'r her ddringo anoddaf yn y byd".


Gogleddwr o'r enw Kieran Wynne-Cattanach ymgymrodd a'r her ar hirddydd haf eleni, a hynny ar un o ddringfeydd anoddaf yr Ynysoedd Prydeinig, sef y Cowlyd. A'i throed yn Nhrefriw, Sir Conwy, mae'n dringo ar gyfartaledd o 13.6% am 3.1km (2 filltir) gyda nifer o gydrannau sy'n agosach at yr uchafswm graddiant sef 24%.


Dyma sesiwn gwestiwn ac ateb gyda'r dyn ei hun, gyda diolch am ei amser.


Credyd lluniau: Kieran Wynne-Cattanach ac Aiden O'Leary

Gruffudd ab Owain (Y Ddwy Olwyn): Yn gyntaf oll cyflwyna dy hun i'r darllennwyr.

Kieran Wynne-Cattanach: Fy enw i yw Kieran, dwi'n 22 mlwydd oed ac yn dod o Ogledd Cymru. Mae nifer o resymau pam dwi'n reidio beics, ond yn y bon mae'n fy ngwneud i'n hapus. Mae 'na rywbeth am fod tu allan drwy'r dydd, yn teimlo'r aer a'r tywydd a chael rhyddid llawn sydd wir yn rhoi synnwyr o gyflawniad i mi.


Ers 2013, rydw i wedi rasio ledled Cymru, y DG a rhannau o Ewrop, yn gwthio fy hun a ffeindio cymhelliant yn y gylched o hyfforddiant a rasio. Ond llynnedd penderfynais i gymryd safbwynt wahanol i reidio beic a mynd i wneud yr hyn sy'n fy niddori, boed hynny'n reidio'n gyflym, araf, ar y ffordd, oddi ar y ffordd, am amser byr, am amser hir, neu ddim o gwbl.


GaO: Mae Everesting wedi bod o gwmpas ers rhai blynyddoedd bellach, beth oedd yr ysbrydoliaeth i'w wneud o rwan?

KWC: Dwi 'di bod yn ymwybodol o'r her ers ambell i flwyddyn, ac mae wastad wedi bod yn rywbeth dwi 'di bod eisiau'i wneud ond wedi ei roi i'r naill ochr. Fel y rhan fwyaf o bobl, dwi wedi diflasu'n llwyr yn ystod y cyfnod clo pan nad ydw i'n gallu mynd i'r gwaith. Mae hynny wedi golygu fod fy reids wedi mynd yn fwy heriol oherwydd ychydig arall sy'n bosib ar hyn o bryd sy'n dod yn agos o ran antur a rhyddid. Roedd hi'n hirddydd haf ar yr ugeinfed o Fehefin, ac ro'n i eisiau gwneud rhywbeth i nodi hynny felly pam ddim trio Everest.

GaO: Den ni gyd yn gwybod nad ydy dringfeydd yn bethau prin yma yng Ngogledd Cymru a bod y Cowlyd yn cael ei ystyried fel y ddringfa anoddaf ar yr Ynysoedd Prydeinig, felly pam ei ddewis?

KWC: Oherwydd mai dyma'r anoddaf. Pe bawn i wedi ei wneud ar ddringfa arall, byddwn i wedi cwestiynu os oeddwn i'n gallu ei wneud ar y Cowlyd. Dwi 'di clywed pobl yn siarad am osgoi gwneud Everest ar ddringfeydd sy'n rhy serth, neu gyda disgyniadau technegol (yn syml, mae Everest ar y Cowlyd yn syniad twp), felly roedd gan ymgeisio ar y Cowlyd ryw hud i mi. Byddai pob agwedd o'r ddringfa'n heriol, ac ro'n i eisiau gwybod sut byddwn i'n ymateb i'r heriau.


GaO: Pa mor gyfarwydd ydi'r Cowlyd i ti?

KWC: Dwi 'di 'ddringo fo dair neu bedair gwaith dros y blynyddoedd, a dyma'n sicr y ddringfa anoddaf dwi wedi'i wneud yn y DG. Ro'n i'n gwybod mai un o'r pethau 'tricky' oedd y dewis o gerau, mae nifer o gydrannau hirion ar 20%, felly dod o hyd i gaset mawr oedd un o'r pethau uchaf ar y rhestr baratoi.

GaO: Mae cwblhau Everest mewn llai na 135km yn dangos serthedd y ddringfa, a nifer o geisiadau yn cymryd o leiaf 100 milltir - ydy dringfeydd byr a serth yn dy siwtio di'n well na dringfeydd hirach? Oedd hynny'n rhan o'r penderfyniad?

KWC: Yn ystod fy amser yn rasio, ffeindies i fod dringfeydd byrrach, mwy siarp, yn fy siwtio i - byddwn i wastad yn gwneud yn well pan fo'r graddiant yn uwch. Yn y pendraw roedd fy Everest yn fyr oherwydd y serthedd, ond nid dringfa byr a serth ydi'r Cowlyd i mi, teimlodd pob ailadroddiad yn teimlo'n hir ac yn serth.

GaO: Mae dringo a dod i lawr graddiant fel yna yn heriol un waith - ond 22 o weithiau?! Oedd dod i lawr cyn waethed â mynd i fyny? Oedd hynny felly'n gwneud hi'n her hyd yn oed anoddach?

KWC: Doedd y disgyniad ddim hanner mor ddrwg, roedd 'y mreichiau i'n brifo ychydig ond mwynheais i'r bachdroeon a deuais i arfer gyda nhw erbyn y diwedd.


GaO: Mewn ymdrech fel hyn mae bwyta ac yfed digon a pheidio mynd yn rhy galed yn rhy fuan yn hollbwysig - sut lwyddaist ti i wneud hyn a faint o baratoi wnes di o flaen llaw?

KWC: Mae gen i afael dda ar faetheg chwaraeon (sports nutrition) o fy ngradd a gradd meistr mewn ffisioleg chwaraeon, felly daeth yn naturiol a doedd dim angen i mi feddwl rhyw lawer amdano. Gwyddwn i pe bawn i'n ei gyflawni mewn 12 i 15 awr byddwn i'n llosgi o gwmpas 8000 o galoriau, felly wnes i sicrhau fod gymaint a hynny o fwyd gen i. Dwi'n ceisio osgoi bwyd wedi'i brosesu oni bai'i fod yn gwbl angenrheidiol, felly wnes i goginio a phobi'r rhan fwyaf o'r bwyd fy hun, pethau sawrus gan fwyaf (snacs tatws, pasta, brechdanau, cacennau reis) gan fy mod i'n gallu laru ar ormod o bethau melys ar reids hir. Wedyn, wnes i ambell i smwddi gyda charbohydradau iachus a blasau da. O ran hydradiad, roedd o'n gymysgedd gartref o gynhwysion syml, mae'n andros o hawdd i'w yfed ac yn blasu filiwn gwaith gwell na unrhyw gymysgedd chwaraeon sbesiffig, felly wnes i golli cownt o sawl potel wnes i yfed.

Doedd gen i fawr o ddewis o ran pa mor galed oeddwn i'n reidio, mae'r ddringfa mor serth - pe bawn i'n reidio unrhywfaint yn haws, byddwn i'n pedlo ar gadens isel iawn a byddai hynny'n fwy anghyfforddus. Gafodd yr ysbeidiau i gymryd gwynt bob ambell awr fawr o effaith chwaith, wnaethon nhw ddim gwneud i mi deimlo'n well na'n waeth, felly wnes i benderfynu jyst cario mlaen. Roedd croniad y blinder yn ddioddefol tan y tri olaf, roedd y rheiny ar lefel hollol wahanol ac roedd rhaid i mi ganolbwyntio ar y ffaith fod y diwedd o fewn cyrraedd.


GaO: Beth wnes di ddysgu amdanat ti dy hun yn gorfforol a meddyliol yn ystod y deuddeg awr?

KWC: Un o'r pethau mawr oedd yr hyn roedd gan fy nghorff i'r gallu i'w wneud. Gall y corff gymryd llawer mwy o boen nag ydych chi'n meddwl sy'n bosibl a'r disgwyliad meddyliol ei fod o'n andros o anodd a heriol sy'n eich atal rhag gwneud y peth anodd a heriol hwnnw. Os allwch chi wthio drwy'r rhwystr meddyliol hwnnw, dydy'r agwedd gorfforol ddim mor ddrwg - bydd y corff yn gwybod beth i'w wneud. Peth arall pwysig oedd ffocws ac ymyriad (distraction) - ffeindiais i mai'r ffordd orau oedd ffocysu ar ba mor anodd oedd o. Er pan ydych chi'n cael eich tarfu (gan eiriau caneuon neu sgwrs etc.) mae'n teimlo'n haws, pan mae'r ymyriad hwnnw'n mynd, mae'r croniad o anghyfforddusrwydd yn eich taro chi ar unwaith, sy'n gallu bod yn ormod i ddygymod ag o. Pan ydych chi'n ffocysu, 'dech chi'n teimlo pob ymdeimlad o gynydd graddol mewn blinder, felly mae'n haws eu rheoli a 'dech chi'n teimlo mewn rheolaeth. Wedi dweud hynny, fe allai'r straen feddyliol o ffocysu drwy'r amser wedi bod yn ormod, felly roedd yr ymyriad yn beth da ar adegau hefyd..


GaO: Wyt ti wedi gwneud reid mor epic â hyn o'r blaen?

Nid felly, y peth agosaf fyddai bythefnos cyn hynny pan wnes i a fy ffrind reid oedden ni wedi ei dyfeisio oedd yn 125 milltir a 18,000 troedfedd o ddringo. Wnes i wir fwynhau teimlad y reid honno felly ro'n i'n teimlo wedi hynny fod Everest o fewn cyrraedd.

GaO: Ydy'r math yma o beth yn apelio atat ti ar gyfer y dyfodol neu wyt ti'n teimlo nad wyt ti eisiau profi her debyg byth eto?!

KWC: Efallai ddim ar yr un ddringfa gan 'mod i'n gwybod y gallwn i'i wneud o. Dwi'n dal eisiau cyrraedd y pwynt hwnnw lle dydy fy nghorff neu fy mhen (neu'r ddau) ddim yn gallu mynd ddim pellach. Felly, byddaf. Mi wnai gario 'mlaen i herio fy hun.

Everesting has become an extremely popular feat in recent years, and during the lockdown riders across the globe have been breaking regional and world records.


Put simply, Everesting is the feat of climbing and descending the same climb over and over in order to accumulate the elevation of Mount Everest, which is 8,848m (29,029 feet). According to the 'official' website, it's "fiendishly simple but brutally hard, this is the most difficult climbing challenge in the world".


Kieran Wynne-Cattanach took the challenge on the summer solstice this year, on one of the toughest climbs on the British Isles, Cowlyd. Its foot in Trefriw, Conwy, it climbs at an average gradient of 13.6% for 3.1km (2 miles) with multiple segments closer to its maximum gradient of 24%.


Here's a question and answer session with the man himself, with thanks for his time.


Image gallery (credit: Kieran Wynne-Cattanach and Aiden O'Leary)


Gruffudd ab Owain (Y Ddwy Olwyn): First of all, introduce yourself to the readers.

Kieran Wynne-Cattanach: My name is Kieran, I’m 22 and I’m from North Wales. There’s many reasons why I ride bikes, but fundamentally it’s because it makes me happy. There’s something about being outdoors all day, feeling the elements, the weather and having total freedom that really gives me a sense of fulfilment.


Since 2013 I’ve raced all over Wales, the UK and parts of Europe, really pushing myself and finding motivation in the cycle of training and racing. But last year I decided to take on a different approach to riding a bike and set out to just do what intrigued me, whether that be riding fast, slow, on the road, off road, for a short time, for a long time, or just not at all.


GaO: Everesting has been a 'thing' for a while, what was the inspiration to do it now?

KWC: I’ve known of the challenge for some years now, and it’s always been something I wanted to do but put on the shelf for another time. Like most people, lockdown has me bored as hell when I haven’t been at work. This has meant my rides have got increasingly challenging because there’s little else possible at the moment that comes close in terms of adventure and freedom. It was the Summer Solstice on 20th June, and I wanted to do something to mark the occasion so thought why not try an Everesting.


GaO: We all know that climbs are not rare here in North Wales and that Cowlyd is regarded as the toughest on the British Isles, so why choose this particular climb?

KWC: Because it is the toughest. If I did it on any other climb I would only have wondered if I could have done it on Cowlyd. I’ve heard people talking about avoiding doing Everest rides on climbs that are too steep, or with descents that are really technical (basically, Cowlyd is a dumb idea), so the whole concept of attempting it on Cowlyd had this lure for me. All aspects of this climb would be challenging, so I wanted to find out how I’d react to these challenges being a real barrier to overcome when put in front of me.


GaO: How well did you know the climb beforehand?

KWC: I’ve ridden it 3 or 4 times over the years and it’s definitely the hardest of all the climbs I’ve done in the UK. I knew one of tricky bits would be gearing, the hill has several long stretches over 20 % gradient, so sourcing a big cassette was top of my preparation to-do list.


GaO: Completing an Everest in less than 135km clearly demonstrates its steepness, as most attempts take 160 km and more at the very least - do short and steep climbs suit you better than longer ones? Did that influence your decision?

KWC: Through my time racing, I found that short, steep climbs do suit me better, I always did better when the gradient was bigger. My Everest did end up being a short one due to the steepness, but I wouldn’t class Cowlyd as a short and steep hill, each rep felt very long and steep.


GaO: Climbing and descending such a gradient is challenging - but 22 times?! Was descending as bad as climbing? Did that make it an even more difficult?

Descending was no where near as bad, it did hurt my arms a bit but I actually enjoyed the hairpins and had got a real good feel for them by the end.


GaO: Adequate fueling, hydration and pacing is crucial in an effort like this - how did you manage to do this and how much preparation did you do beforehand?

KWC: I’ve got a decent grasp of sports nutrition from my Degree and Masters in Sports Physiology, so it came naturally and I didn’t have to think too much about this side of things. I knew that if I did it in somewhere between 12 and 15 hours I’d burn around 8000 calories, so I made sure I took that much food along with me. I try to avoid heavily processed foods unless they’re really necessary, so I cooked and baked most the food myself, mainly savoury stuff (potato snacks, pasta, sandwiches, sticky rice cakes) because I get pretty fed up of sweet things on longer rides. I then made a handful of smoothies, each loaded with healthy carbs and good flavours. In terms of hydration, it was pretty much just a homemade mix from basic ingredients, it’s really easy to drink and tastes a million times better than any sport specific mixes, I lost count of how many bottles I drank.


I didn’t really have much choice how hard I was riding, the hill was so steep that if I rode any easier, I’d be pedalling at a really low cadence which would’ve just been more uncomfortable. The little breaks I was having every couple of hours didn’t affect me too much either, they didn’t make me feel better or worse, so I thought I might as well just keep riding. The accumulation of fatigue was bearable until the final three reps, those three were on another level and I just had to concentrate on the end point being in sight.


GaO: What did you learn about yourself mentally and physically during those twelve hours?

KWC: One of the big things has been what my body is capable of. The body can take way more stress than you want to think is possible and it’s just the mental expectation of something really hard and challenging that stops you from doing that really hard thing. If you can push past the mental block, the physical aspect isn’t as bad as you think and your body will know what to do. Another big takeaway was about focus and distraction - I found that the best way to get through it was to focus on how uncomfortable it was. Although while you’re distracted (by lyrics in music, chat etc.) it feels easier, when that distraction goes away, the accumulated discomfort of the whole time you’ve been distracted hits you at once, which can be too much to handle. While you’re focusing, you feel each little sensation in the gradual build of fatigue, so they’re more manageable and it gives you a sense of control. Saying that, the mental strain to focus the whole time could have been too much, so the distraction was probably a good thing at times too.

GaO: Have you done anything similar before?

KWC: Not really, the closest thing would be two weeks beforehand when me and a friend did a route we’d come up with, that was 125 miles and 18,000 ft of climbing. I really enjoyed the sensations on that ride so after that the idea of an Everest seemed almost feasible.


GaO: Does this sort of thing appeal to you for the future or has this challenge put you off doing anything this difficult ever again?!

Perhaps not on the same hill now I know I can do it. I still want to get to that point where either my body or head (or both) can’t do it anymore. So yes, I’ll keep trying difficult things.

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