Jul 13, 2011

Fighting to get back on track

So to start with we were both gutted we didn’t make our goal last night if getting to the campsite in Ormskirk. We got so close, but a mixture of a couple of wrong turns and tired legs meant we had to throw in the towel for the greater good of the entire trip with a mere 15 miles to go. we resolved over night to do our best today to catch up that difference.

Any other day and it would have seemed fine to find an extra few miles in our daily schedule. Day 4 however was the day that we faced the Lake District, specifically a massive climb out of Kendal that was going to take us up to 430ft.

We redesigned the route slightly but started from the exact point that we were rescued from last night. Even though we hadn’t finished the day in the correct place we had covered a full on 147 miles, the furthest either of has ever cycled in a single day by some margin. This in mind our legs were creaking to day the least, but on we went with the knowledge that we had an equally big day. It started off fairly steady but on nice roads, eventually getting to our route du jour the A6. All was looking lovely until we got to Carnforth where we stopped for lunch, from here you can see the majesty of the Lake Districts peaks spreading out in front of you and we knew our road had to find a way through.

After a plate of carbonara we headed out and the scenery just became more and more stunning and with that it also started to get a little more hilly but we new the worst was to come. Once in Kendal we took the opportunity to take some mint cake to get us through the imminent climb. Off we went again.

We quite quickly once clear of Kendal could see where the A6 was taking us and it didn’t look pleasant. The climb started in earnest and kept going, and going, and going. The climb was only broken up by passing another group of fully laden End to Enders and my second puncture of the trip. There is also a false peak to make the pain last that bit longer. Dan and myself tried to push a race up the final stretch if the hill but in true amateur style I put too much effort in early on only to see my lead slowly but surely ebbed away by Norwood, I had nothing left to give do had to just watch him go past. Once at the top the views all around were amazing and dad was there with some light refreshments.

The reward was a long and enjoyable downhill sprint followed by more rolling climbs. Our next stopping point was Penrith and to be honest we hadn’t worked out where we were in the day yet, once we met up with dad again about 6:30 he told us we had a pithy 25 miles to get our campsite for the might. That was just the target we needed and made the decision there and then that we had to do it.

Probably the toughest 25 miles I’ve ever ridden but the goal was set and the climbs and descents kept coming one after the other. We finally got to Carlisle which is so close to where we need to be you could almost smell it and after meeting a friendly local for directional advice we attempted the final 7 miles. Nice they were too, both of us found a second wind and even found some time to snap a shot on the edge if Gretna (below).

So we made it, we caught up the whole lost amount. And more importantly we made it to Scotland at the end of the fourth day and are back on schedule!

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  • M & D xx

    Excellent effort today, boys ! I belive Team Sky may be thinking of starting a veterans class for next year’s Tour. Allez les cyclistes,,,,,, M & D

Links and information

  • Just Giving charity page We have set up a page to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Society, please donate if you can
  • Map of our route We initially used Google maps to plan the route, here it is in it’s entirety.
  • Mule bars for energy These yummy natural bars will be keeping us going all the way up to John O’Groats
  • Strada Wheels These guys hand built a new set of hoops for Martin to ride for the trip

Our photos

The first puncture, CornwallOne down...to goCelebratory breakfastBristol docksRiver WyeThe evening ritualRehydratingAn ice bath substitute in Loch LomondCalories'In or oot'Tartan rug hiding stuff, on the drive homeCooling off in Loch LomondYachts off InvernessThe morning afterFeet upFlaked out in GloucestershireFeet up 2Beer, protein shakes and Mule BarsPuncture!Silhouette on the Erskine Bridge