‘THAT was brutal but I wasn’t expecting it to be anything else,” said Darren Williams after completing a gruelling 106-mile handbike ride from Cardiff to Cardigan.

However, the effort was certainly worth it, as Darren’s efforts have so far raised £3,500 towards a new gym for youngsters at Ysgol Gynradd Aberteifi.

The 33-year-old, from from Maes-y-dderwen, was badly hurt in a road accident back in April 2014 and suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury.

But that did not stop him taking on his toughest challenge yet, as he set out from Cardiff’s Rookwood Hospital, where he began his rehabilitation those six years ago.

The statistics barely tell the whole story - nine hours cycling time spread over two days, 106 miles covered, 5,700ft of climbing and more than 5,000 calories burned.

“My body is in absolute bits to be honest but the support I have had makes it all worthwhile and it has been absolutely unbelievable – I am just so humbled,” said Darren.

“I cannot believe how much money we have raised and that’s what it is all about.”

The ride itself certainly took a huge physical toll on Darren, with the climb at Cynwyl Elfed the toughest part.

“That hill is massive – it seemed to take forever and I was barely at walking pace and I want to thank people for the support and motivational words I had on that section,” said Darren.

“But even the downhill sections were not without problems. I had to concentrate 100 per cent as there are so many potholes and hitting one of them sends a tremendous shock through your body.

“There was also so much traffic going through Swansea and that’s where the team were so important.

“But the whole community seemed to be behind me and I want to thank every single person who supported me en-route for the whole trip - constant car beeping; people outside their houses; all the nurses and friends seeing me off at Rookwood; the Llangennech boys and the Cardigan school teachers who joined on their bikes from Newcastle Emlyn.

“Every person I saw, it gave me a lift and then the reception at Cardigan rugby club - I just didn’t expect that.”

Friend and personal fitness coach Rhys Harries cycled alongside Darren the whole way and plotted the route, while brother-in-law Dafydd George, Hefin Harries, Ty Burton and Guto Lewis Crompton made up the rest of the support team.

Darren was also keen to thank his sponsors Quartz Coat and El Salsa, with further support from Cardigan Bay Brownies and Cardi Banners.

And Darren is already planning his next challenge.

“I am looking to get back into triathlons, while I am also planning a challenge from north to south Wales, which would be 170 miles,” he added.

Donations to the current fund-raiser can still be made at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/darren-williams-132