A Monmouth Tri Club cycle team has raised more than £600 for charity with a challenging gravel bike ride.

Phil Tilley, Victoria Baker, Andrew Howells, Luigi Frige and Anthony Deacy conquered 103 miles with 6,000 feet of climbing and some demanding terrain, spending 10 hours in the saddle. The team were inspired to raise the money for PoTS UK by Phil’s daughter who suffers from the debilitating condition.

Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) is an abnormality of the functioning of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. 

The challenge took them from the lowlands of Chepstow, into England, back over the Wye then up and over Beacon Hill before heading to and along the Brecon canal, onto the Brecon Beacons peaks and south to Cardiff. 

Phil Tilley organised the event to raise funds for charity PoTS UK, which supports people with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. 

Llandenny-based Phil was inspired by his daughter’s struggle which means even standing up can be a challenge for affected people as their body cannot adjust to gravity.

“A week before my 60th I wanted a challenge to help raise awareness and money for PoTs UK, a syndrome our eldest suffers from and for which there is not enough awareness,” said Phil, who trains regularly with Monmouth Tri Club.

The team were supported by Gwent-based cycling event organisers All Mountain Adventures, which planned and led the route - and generously donated to the fundraising. See www.allmountainadventures.wales for more details. “Nathan and his team were great,” said Phil. “The new event team were great, they set a challenge which delivered something very different. He even sponsored me, which was totally unexpected. I’d recommend any of his events.”

The autonomic nervous system is in charge of all bodily functions that humans don’t have to think about, such as heart rate and blood pressure regulation, digestion, bladder control, sweating and stress response

The sympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system and produces the ‘fight or flight’ or ‘stress’ response. When activated, a chemical called norepinephrine is released.

More information on PoTS can be found at www.pots.org.uk.