top of page

Illi Gardner: Everesting ar Bwlch y Groes (bilingual)

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Scroll down for English (original)

Bydd unrhyw un sydd wedi darllen Y Ddwy Olwyn yn weddol selog dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf yn gwybod bod yr her Everesting yn un sydd wedi tyfu a thyfu mewn poblogrwydd ac mewn maint.


Er nad yw'n her newydd, ymddengys fod y clo mawr wedi ysgogi mwy i ymgymryd ag o, ac ysgogi ambell un i'w gymryd i'r lefel nesaf.


Darllen mwy:

Everest ar y Cowlyd, Kieran Wynne Cattanach

Triple Everest, Jac Lewis

Dringfeydd Eiconig Cymru

Dringfeydd Uchaf Cymru


Yn ddiweddar, mi ddois i ar draws erthyglau'n cyhoeddi fod y record i'r menywod o ran yr amser mae wedi'i gymryd i'w gwblhau wedi'i chwalu gan seiclwraig o Gaerdydd, Illi Gardner, a hynny ar lethrau Bwlch y Groes.


A minnau'n byw yn y Bala, mae'r Bwlch yn ffefryn pennaf - yn enwedig wrth ddringo o Lanuwchllyn - ac mi fydd nifer ohonoch chi'n ymwybodol o serthedd a drwgenwogrwydd y ddringfa o gyfeiriad Llanymawddwy. Mae un waith yn hen ddigon i mi!


Felly, efallai fymryn yn hwyrol, mi wnes i gysylltu ag Illi i ofyn iddi ateb cwestiynau ynghylch ei her; ac mi'r ydw i'n hynod falch a diolchgar ei bod hi wedi cytuno.


107.57km a 8,919m o ddringo yn ddiweddarach, dyma'i phrofiad hi:


Yn gyntaf oll, cyflwyna dy hun i'r darllennwyr.

Illi ydw i, dwi'n 21 oed ac mi'r ydw i'n byw yng Nghaerdydd ar hyn o bryd. Dwi'n rili mwynhau dringo bryniau yn ogystal a rasio ar yr heol i CAMS- Basso.


Nid dyma'r tro cyntaf i ti ymgymryd a her o'r fath; pam fod yr Everesting yn apelio?

Dwi wastad wedi caru dringfeydd, rasys a heriau sy'n dy orfodi i ddarganfod dy limit yn gorfforol a'n feddyliol - felly mae Everesting yn gyfuniad perffaith o'r ddau! Dwi 'di bod eisiau rhoi tro iddo fo ers blynyddoedd (rhyw fath o her bucket list) ac wedyn eleni nes i benderfynu os y byddwn i'n ei wneud o, waeth i mi drio'i wneud o mor gyflym a phosib.


Dwyt ti ddim yn estron i dorri recordiau chwaith, a thithau'n barod yn dal y QOM ar Strava ar gyfer Alpe d’Huez a Mont Ventoux. Beth sydd tu ol y brwdfrydedd tuag at ddringo (yn gyflym)?!

Dwi'n caru symlrwydd dringo - dim ond y fi a'r heol, nunlle i guddio! Ac mae'r teimlad o foddhad ar ol rhoi o'ch gorau heb ei ail, heb son am y golygfeydd gwych a geir yn aml. Pan ddechreuais i seiclo mi ro'n i'n ofnadwy am yr agweddau technegol ond roedd gen i ffitrwydd o gampau eraill felly nes i garu dringo yn syth bin, ac mae wedi tyfu o fanno.


Pa mor anodd oedd o i baratoi ar gyfer yr her, yn enwedig o ystyried i ti ddechrau swydd lawn-amser o'r newydd gyda BBC Cymru?

Roedd fy hyder yn eithaf isel yn mynd 'mewn i hwn gan fod yr hyfforddi wedi bod rywfaint yn random am y mis diwethaf ar ol dechrau'n y gwaith! Dwi hefyd wedi bod yn rasio ar y penwythnosau, a gan nad oedd gen i ddyddiad penodol ar gyfer yr ymgais doeddwn i ddim yn teilwra fy hyfforddiant o'i gwmpas. Dwi heb gael amser i wneud reids hir yn ddiweddar chwaith ond yn y diwedd mi wnaeth yr amrywiaeth yn fy seiclo gynnal fy lefel ffitrwydd ac mi weithiodd pethau.


Bydd unrhyw un sydd wedi dringo'r Bwlch yn ymwybodol o ba mor heriol ydy o, ac mi ddewisiaist ti'r gydran fwyaf serth rhwng y grid gwartheg a chyffordd yr Efyrnwy ar gyfer yr ymgais. Esbonia beth oedd tu ol i'r penderfyniad hwnnw.

Yn syml, roedden ni'n meddwl y byddai'n fwy effeithlon i ddod o hyd i'r gydran serthaf posib fel na fyddwn i'n 'gwastraffu amser' yn pedlo ar hyd graddiannau llai serth. Mae'r hyd perffaith yn tua 5-10 munud hefyd felly mi weithiodd hynny... ond dwi'n credu fod y rhan dros 20% yn rhy serth!


Mae'r cysyniad o Everesting yn aml yn cael ei ddisgrifio'n ‘ddieflig o syml’ - reidio i fyny a lawr allt nes dringo cyfanswm o 8,848m, yn enwedig gan mai dim ond (!) 8 awr a hanner gymerodd o i ti. Pa mor anodd oedd o?

Ro'n i wrth fy modd ond roedd o hefyd yn eithaf ofnadwy! Roedd y cwpwl o oriau cyntaf yn anodd gan nad oedd o'n ddigon anodd ac ro'n i'n teimlo'n ymwybodol o geisio'u cael nhw wedi'u gwneud... wedyn tua hanner ffordd drwodd roedd o'n dechrau mynd yn boenus iawn ac mi'r oedd graddfa'r her yn dechrau taro. Ar ol tua pump awr nes i daro cyfnod garw; roedd 'na'n dal i fod ffordd bell iawn i fynd ac mi'r oedd y coesau'n dechrau cwyno, a'r tywydd yn gwaethygu. Unwaith roedd y diwedd o fewn golwg (y ddwy awr olaf) ro'n i'n teimlo bod y cymhelliant yn uchel a dois i o hyd i rythm. Ond roedd o'n dal yn her enfawr ac mi'r oedd 'na ddigon o adegau lle y gwnes i ystyried rhoi'r ffidil yn y to.


Pan dwi'n gwneud y math yma o beth, dw i wastad yn hoffi holi am y bwyta a'r yfed, gan ei fod o wastad yn amrywio o un person i'r llall. Beth oedd dy strategaeth?

Dwi fel arfer yn stryglo efo cadw digon o fwyd yn y tanc ac mae'n stumog i'n sensitif felly mi wnes i gadw i bethau syml iawn, bariau ceirch yn bennaf efo banana o bryd i'w gilydd - a chwpl o jels ar y diwedd pan nad o'n i'n gallu trulio solidau! Bwytais i rywbeth bychan iawn rhwng bob dringfa bron i drio peidio rhoi gormod yn y stumog ar unwaith. Mi wnes i yfed Lucozade (ar gyfer ychydig o geni ychwanegol) a dwr, wedyn dau gan o Coke pan o'n i'n despret!


Sut nes di ddathlu; ar ol gorffen ac ar ol clywed dy fod wedi torri'r record?

Roedd gorffen y ddringfa olaf a dod oddi ar y beic yn teimlo fel dathliad yn ei hun! Cyrrhaeddon ni adref yn eithaf hwyr ond mi gawson ni bryd bwyd neis a champagne ges i o ras flaenorol (aeth yn syth i'm mhen ar ol sip!), ac mi dderbyniais i gadarnhad y noson honno. Doeddwn i ddim yn disgwyl i bobl sylwi na phoeni felly roedd o'n neis iawn i gael negesuon ac ati.


Mae torri'r record, wedi'i osod ynghynt gan Emma Pooley - sy'n cael ei hadnabod fel un o'r dringwyr gorau erioed - o 20 munud yn dangos dy dalent dringo enfawr. Felly beth nesaf? Ydi'n freuddwyd i seiclo'n broffesiynol?

Dwi'n dal i drio gweithio allan be 'dwi eisiau ei wneud efo seiclo ond ar hyn o bryd dwi'n mwynhau'r gymysgedd o rasio a heriau personol. Dwi'n cynllunio i barhau i weithio, rasio a mwynhau. Ac mae 'na ddigonedd o fynyddoedd ar ol yn y byd i'w dringo!


Diolch o galon iddi am ei hamser. Mae hi wedi ysgrifennu mwy am y profiad yma: https://hillisrecommendations.wordpress.com/.

 

Anyone who has read Y Ddwy Olwyn over the past year or so will know that the Everesting challenge has grown and grown in popularity and scale.


Despite not being a new challenge, it appears that the pandemic has motivated some to give the challenge a go and others to take it to the next level.


Recently, I came across articles that announced that the women's record for the time to complete an Everesting had been broken by a cyclist from Cardiff, Illi Gardner, on the slopes of Bwlch y Groes in the Eryri national park.


Living in Bala myself, the Bwlch is a firm favourite - especially climbing from Llanuwchllyn - and many of you will be aware of the infamous southern side and its relentless steepness. Once is plenty for me!


Thus, perhaps slightly belatedly, I contacted Illi to ask if she'd do a Q&A about her record-breaking challenge; and I'm very glad and grateful that she agreed.


She shares her experience with us of 107.57km and 8,919m of climbing:


First of all, introduce yourself to the readers.

Hi! I’m Illi, I’m 21 and currently based in Cardiff. I really enjoy cycling up hills alongside racing on the road with CAMS- Basso.


It’s not the first time you’ve dared such challenges; why did/does Everesting appeal to you particularly?

I’ve always absolutely loved climbing and races/challenges that force you to find your limit both physically and mentally -- so Everesting is the perfect combination of the two! I’ve wanted to give it a go for years (kind of a bucket-list challenge) then this year I decided that if I was going to do it, I might as well try to get it done as quickly as possible.


And you’re no stranger to breaking records either, having already set the QOM on Strava for both Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux. What is behind your love for climbing... fast?!

I love the simplicity of climbing -- just you and the road, nowhere to hide! -- and the feeling of satisfaction after giving your best effort is unmatchable, not to mention the amazing views you often get. When I first started cycling I was terrible at all the technical aspects but had some fitness from other sports so I immediately loved just cycling up hills, and it’s grown from there.


How hard was it for you to prepare for this challenge, especially considering you’d just started a new full-time job at BBC Wales?

My confidence was pretty low going into this as my training has been somewhat random for the last month or so after starting work! I’ve often been racing on the weekends as well, and as I didn’t have a set date for the attempt I wasn’t tailoring my training around it. I haven’t had time to do many long rides recently either but ultimately the variety of riding leading into it kept my fitness up and worked out well.


Anyone who’s ridden the Bwlch previously will know just how hard it is, and you specifically chose the very steepest section between the cattle grid and Vyrnwy junction for the attempt. Explain the thought process behind that.

We basically thought it’d be most efficient to find the steepest segment possible so I wouldn’t be ‘wasting time’ pedaling along lesser gradients. The ideal segment length seems to be about 5-10 minutes as well so it fit nicely into that...I think the part where it gets over 20% was a bit too steep though!


The concept of Everesting is often described as ‘fiendishly simple’ - riding up and down a mountain until you accumulate 8,848m of elevation, especially given it only (!) took you around 8 and a half hours. How hard was it? Did you have any rough patches?

I loved it but it was also pretty terrible! The first couple hours were difficult as it wasn’t yet too hard and I felt anxious to just get them over with...then about halfway through it started to get really painful and the magnitude of the challenge started to sink in. After about five hours I hit a rough patch; there was still a long, long way to go and the legs were starting to complain, coupled with bad weather. Once the end was in sight (the last two hours or so) I felt a lot more motivated and found a good rhythm but it was still a real challenge and there were plenty of moments where I considered climbing off.


When I do this sort of Q&A thing with other people who’ve completed challenges, I always like to ask about fuelling and nutrition, as it always differs from one to the next. What was your strategy?

I usually struggle with fuelling and stomach sensitivity so I stuck to really basic things, mainly oat-based bars with the occasional bit of banana - and a couple gels at the end when solids became difficult to get down! I ate very small quantities almost every repeat in order to prevent bombarding the stomach with too much at once. I drank Lucozade (for a bit of extra energy) and water, then two cans of coke when I was desperate!


How did you celebrate; both after finishing the challenge and receiving confirmation that you’d broken the record?

Finishing the last repeat and getting off the bike felt like a celebration in itself! We got home quite late but still had a nice meal and some champagne from a previous race (which went straight to my head after a sip!), and I received confirmation that evening. I didn’t expect people to really notice or care so it was so nice to get messages and things.


To break the record, previously set by Emma Pooley - widely regarded as one of the best climbers ever - by 20 minutes clearly shows your immense climbing talent. So what next? Is it a dream of yours to ride professionally?

Thank you! I’m still figuring out what I want to do with cycling but I’m currently enjoying the mixture of racing on the road along with personal challenges. I’m planning on just continuing working, racing and keeping the enjoyment there. And there are still lots of mountains in the world to be climbed!


Many thanks for her time. For more, read her own piece on the challenge here: https://hillisrecommendations.wordpress.com/.


Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page