Browsing articles tagged with " cycling"
Jul 13, 2011

127 to Gretna

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The fact that we had to return to the spot where we were picked up yesterday was probably why we weren’t particularly inspired to get back on the bikes early this morning.

It took us an age to get ready. But despite the dithering, it was a great morning to be out on the road, and we finally left St. Helen’s around 0930.

All was well once the legs were moving in their restricted rhythm. Martin came up with a great analogy the other day: ‘the body is like a Sat Nav- as long as one keeps persevering, ignoring the easiest route, it will find a way though.’ I thought that was brilliant.

We had a near miss where MIJ’s front wheel was almost taken out by the ‘classic’ car turning right across a line in traffic. We both also dropped our beloved shades at in-opportune moments, but kit and body are, thankfully, still intact.

Gorgeous scenery and relatively quiet roads up here. We saw a few pelotons on a mid week jaunt. We also passed a few ‘End to End-ers’, on slightly more sedate missions.

After the ubiquitous photo at the Gretna sign, we raced the last few hundred metres to the Camp site. A good sign for the next few days (despite needing ice on the knees).

Weather not looking so good for the Highlands. Best get out the tartan long johns…

Jul 11, 2011

130 miles rollin’ through cheese country

We left late today, 0930 before we got breakfast in, maps in pockets and fuel for the day. I think we were quietly apprehensive about what was ahead.

This was the most the big ‘M’ and I had ridden in a day, and we wanted to know when the pain was going to start.

The first 30 miles where through car-less rolling Devon countryside. Dramatic views raced past our peripheral vision and tore our eyes away from the Tarmac.

Taunton was the first big conurbation today. We flaked out under the firs in the grounds of the Court Buildings.

There was a killer hill on the approach to Bristol Airport, but once crested, a 3 mile descent came as just reward.

Tony met us in a lay-by with hot soup around Bristol. By this stage we were half way, and hoping the next half would be flat.

Thankfully the run in to Gloucester was pretty horizontal. There was a dramatic event where a milk truck lost part of it’s tyre and wheel arch, leaving debris strewn across the carriageway. I jumped off and flagged down the fast approaching traffic while someone retrieved bits of truck from the outside lane.

Quirky encounter of the day: a man dragging a 12 foot cross southwards. We didn’t know where he was from or where he was going, but we wish him well. It looked just as tough as our escapade.

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Jul 10, 2011

The big off

A great start to the day. There were plenty of other riders at the Land’s End hotel, taking pictures in the sun for their own trips.

The wind was on our tails all day, and allowed us to get our heads down and cruise the first 50 miles.

After that the big lumps started appearing and the granny gear had an early look in.

Tony was a welcome site in a lay-by around mid day, and I happily off loaded the camera bag, and we tucked into squashed tuna roles, nicely warmed from a morning in the back pocket.

The last 30 miles were a killer. I was a broken man by the time we reached the ‘Barley Meadow’ camp site. Somehow I hit the wall with about 15 miles to go and couldn’t wait to drop the bike and crawl into a hot shower.

Tony cooked up a feast of chicken and bacon pasta which we fell on, despite the fact that we’d chugged back a pint of protein shake and a beer. Mmm.

Glad we’re on track. Tomorrow should be flatter at least.

Jun 5, 2011

Nearly the last Richmond training day

Myself and Dan Norwood are about 5 weeks away from setting out on our Land’s End to John O’Groats adventure. I’ve been squeezing in training wherever i can and if I’m not fit enough now I’ve left it too late. So we met up this morning to put in a few of laps of Richmond Park.

We haven’t had chance to ride together properly for a few weeks due to one thing and another. To be honest Norwood is a much better cyclist, due in no small part to more leverage in the leg region. So I was quite keen to see if any of my training had paid off and evened us up a little.

We started off fairly gingerly and built up the pace slowly. The nice thing with Richmond is that over a fairly short 7 mile circuit you cover a good variety of terrain. There are a couple of reasonable climbs where Dan always kicks my butt and good runs downhill where I can generally catch up.

The first lap went as normal with Dan having a much better run with me flagging behind. But as we clocked up the laps I got in my stride to the point that Dan tells me there was a section of the last lap where he couldn’t catch me and the normal hills didn’t slow me as much as normal.

Allin all a good day and a good sign for the real event.

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