CYCLISTS turned out in droves to welcome home a Prestatyn pair of following their latests jaw dropping feat of endurance to buy essential equipment for Glan Clwyd Hospital respiratory ward.

Not to be deterred by the hottest day of 2019 - or a saddle that felt as though it was “made of barbed wire” - Aries ‘AJ’ Janssens and Phil Marsden have successfully completed the gruelling task of cycling more than 200 miles from Cardiff to Prestatyn - in one day.

Completing the mammoth task in just 15 hours for the ward, which provides support to Mr Marsden's wife Nicky Marsden, the triumphant pair inspired another 100 cyclists including respiratory nurses and staff to join them for the final 10 mile stretch, where they were greeted by a further 100 people at the finish line and medals from Prestatyn Mayor cllr Tony Flynn.

Rhyl Journal:

More than 100 cyclists, including staff of Glan Clwyd respiratory ward, joined the team for the final stretch. Picture: Craig Dilworth

Mr Janssens, a IT worker aged 41, said: “We made it back to Prestatyn for 8pm as planned, but we had a couple of unscheduled delays which we had to work to make up.

“The total route was 204.5 miles starting in the Cardiff Bay area, through Newport, Monmouth, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Chester, Flint, Prestatyn and then a final section from The Beaches Hotel along the promenade to Kinmel Bay and back.

“It was heart warming and inspiring to see what must have been close to 100 bikes safely cycling along the prom. A fantastic effort from all those involved.”

Mrs Marsden said; "What made it really special was that nurses, staff came down with their families and joined Phil and the team for the last 10 miles. I want to thank everyone who got involved."

While the pair were joined at the finish line by Paul Richardson - a cyclist from South of England, sadly teammates Russell Sands and Steve Bloor didn’t complete the gruelling journey

Waking up at 3am, the group still managed to make it right on time despite setting off 20 minutes later than planned at 4.20am due to an unexpected mechanical issue with one of the teams shoe cleats.

Mr Janssens added: “Most of us only managed between 3.5 and 4 hours sleep the night before, so the delay wasn’t much of a surprise.

“For me personally, my greatest challenge hit around Ellesmere between Shrewsbury and Wrexham. I was aching from head to toe and for about an hour I just went quiet and kept my head down.

“I was doing all I could to keep my legs spinning and stop my right leg from cramping. I was hungry, I hadn’t eaten at the last food stop, my stomach was in spasm, I just couldn’t stomach another gel and my saddle felt like it was made of barbed wire.”

This latest successful journey follows on from a similar incredible journey last year, which saw the pair successfully complete a 400 mile journey in four days from Paris to Geneva.

Rhyl Journal:

Aries Janssens, Phil Marsden, Steve Bloor, Russell Sands and Paul Richardson with cllr Tony Flyn, the mayor of Prestatyn. Picture: Craig Dilworth

However, despite the fact that the cyclists are still sore from their achievement, they are already looking to the next big challenge, with plans to turn it into a yearly event fro Glan Clwyd.

Mr Janssens said: “There’s definitely a little more in us and we’re keen to continue pushing ourselves.

“We were touched and genuinely humbled by the support in Prestatyn, including from the mayor cllr Tony Flynn for officially welcoming us back and even many of the nurses from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd respiratory ward were there to meet us at the finish line.”

Cllr Flynn said: “It was a honour to be there to welcome them back, and to see how proud everyone was at their tremendous achievement. I’m in awe of them.”