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My biggest fear is having to give up through injury or just total lack of fitness. I have been back from skiing for 5 weeks now and have been training as much as I can. (apart from a week spent lazing around a pool and by the beach in the greek islands) Still struggling even though I have done over 700 miles . I have 2 more weeks to go and have some lenghty rides planned plus some shorter uphill testers.
Chris has been practicing hard driving the camper. She is not that keen on driving at all so add to that the complication of 6 gears and a long wheelbase panel van...you can imagine she would prefer her little automatic merc !!! She will deserve a medal if she makes it all the way without having a nervous breakdown. She is however excited about how much we can help the "Animals"...so donate for her achievement if not mine...
31st May...just done 2 consecutive days on the bike....187 miles and saddle sore. Might have to reconsider route cos from Burnham to home is 101 miles and Burnham to Bristol is a killer!!..can't think straight yet..will consider tomorrow and send thanks to all those who have donated so far....Chris drove to Burnham and back without incident...but hated it !!!
!st JUNE.....revised my schedule.extra day added. Finish in J O'G on Friday 22nd June. First 300 miles in 4 days instead of original 3 days!
10th JUNE Training done...did some wet weather riding Thursday and "Ankerdine" (local killer hill) yesterday. Off to LE now in the camper..more practice driving for Chris.! Thanks to all for the donations so far..fantastic.......arrived LE 7pm. "photo shoot" went well..rain had stopped !..All ready for tomorrow...Chris will try and upload some pictures and do some emails.
11th JUNE.LE-CAMELFORD 70miles..Dry and sunny start..no wind ..perfect! 7-30am start... but half a mile up the road at the top of the hill realised I had left my map behind....oh well free wheel down hill and start again. On way down the hill hit a pothole and punctured !!! great start. Began again at 8pm...weather fantastic ..cycled around St Michael's Mount and across country. Met up with Chris as planned and completed 70 miles incident free by 2-30pm. Went to firiends house and had lovely meal ..a few glasses of wine and watched the football. ..ready for tomorrow now. Unfortunately we cannot upload photos from our laptop at moment but hope to sort ..by end of the week.
12th JUNE.CAMELFORD-TIVERTON 72 miles(142)..very tough day today. Weather bright and sunny but legs heavy. Devon was just all long up and downs after first 20 miles. Completed my planned 70 miles again and Chris was all set up at the campsite when I arrived. She must be enjoying it really????!!!!! Raining now but hopefully dry again tomorrow.
13thJUNE TIVERTON-PORTBURY(BRISTOL)..64miles(206)what an easy day !!! only 2150ft ascent compared to over 5000 on each of first 2 days.No rain again so luck is still with me.Stopover at Chris's mums'...and head back home past Bristol tomorrow.
14thJUNE PORTBURY-STOURPORT 81 miles(287)..crossed the Avonbridge M5 on cyclepath..not before falling off the bike cutting knee and elbow ! Usual trick..too late clipping out of pedals (amateur!)..where is this wind from the South west ??? hard from the east ..against me most of the way. Skirted round Bristol and met Chris in Tewksbury having taken the wrong turn in Gloucester adding a couple of miles to my ride. Chris had made me a welcome hot coffee which I duly knocked over myself trying to swat a fly !!!...it was very hot but luckily with a bit of attention from Chris my screams slowly faded.......onward to finish the leg back home. Rain....at Worcester..but just a shower so a snack break under the trees by the river. Got home before the heavy rain started but it is still coming down !! Hope it stops for tomorrow.
15th JUNE..STOURPORT- ACTON BRIDGE 81 miles(368) .well just south of Warrington. Rained all last night so switched to my wet weather bike .The Orbea with 2crud" mudguards...fantastic...wet roads but I kept dry as I dodged the showers..stopping in Telford at my mothers and strategically on route. At last a tail wind from the south !!!! What a difference..averaged 16mph..taking only 5 hours cycling.Chris was at campsite already positioned overlooking the river.She is a natural !!!!
16th JUNE ACTON BRIDGE- CROOKLANDS(KENDAL) 72 miles(440) ...whoah we're half way there ....whoah.living on a prayer!! as Jon Bon Jovi would say ....it was pouring with rain most of today. Preston to Kendal mostly..but got to the campsite before the really heavy stuff. Wind changed again so slower today but so far so good. Looking forward to crossing the border tomorrow...going back "hame".Chris won't get any motorways after Glasgow though.
17th JUNE CROOKLANDS-GRETNA GREEN 70MILES(510) set off this morning with some trepidation knowing ahead of me was "Shap"..a 1400ft climb just outside Kendal. It was a dry cloudy start but I could see the rain coming in fast from the west.Just managed to summit and going as fast as possible got down the other side before rain began. Now onto Penrith ..rain now stopped.. met Chris who was actually in the wrong place for the first time...but it proved to be the right place...as Ali one of her skiing friends just happened to be in Penrith and spotted the camper. ..very pleasant impromptu reunion. Northwards to Bonnie Scotland and again timed it right..just making campsite before the rain started again....Strathaven tomorrow and looking forward to seeing family and friends.
18th JUNE GRETNA-STRATHAVEN 69 miles(579) ..who says the sun never shines in Scotland !! blue skies and sunshine all the way. Down side was headwind and diabolical road surface for over 30 miles. Bone shaking murder...don't ever cyle the B road along the side of M74 from Beatock to Junction 10. Arrived safely in S'ven to find Chris already parked up at Sainsburys..shopping done. We stayed with Neil and Carolyn who kindly put us up.A really enjoyable evening..a few drinks and "take away" meal...perfect.
19th JUNE STRATHAVEN-TYNDRUM 81 miles(660).. Chris had to negotiate the mayhem of M74/M8/M73 and hated every moment but made it to Loch Lomond....then the narrow winding roads around the Loch to Tyndrum. She was de-stressing when I arrived. Weather fantastic again...down side was I found my rear tyre was almost worn through (did not check it out the night before..I was too busy enjoying myself)...fortunately I brought a couple of spare tyres with me..so put one in my pocket. Arrived in Glasgow and met up with a couple of good friends....so good in fact that they helped me replace tyre and tube as I got a puncture just as I arrived outside their office.....carried on along the cycle path for a break at Loch Lomond. No sign of the weather breaking and arrived safely at destination with Chris in prime position again hooked up and ready for steak meal in evening sunshine....oh plus wine of course !!!
20th JUNE TYNDRUM-FORT AUGUSTUS 80miles(740) ..sunshine blue skies again and what can I say...the first stage over Rannoch Moor to Glencoe was absolutely fantastic. The early hill climb was completely forgotten as the magnificent scenery convinced me that this stretch of 30 miles is the best I have ever ridden. The descents were superb and hopefully the photos taken will do the landscape justice.All the effort was worth it for this bit of the ride.The good weather continued and the scenery continued to impress. Sadly the tv and internet did not work at the campsite...but hey I could look at my photos.
21st JUNE FORT AUGUSTUS-DORNOCH 79 miles(819)..the weather of course was never going to hold but grey skies are okay if it is dry. So first stage to meet Chris in Inverness was fine. However from there the wind picked and the rain came. Head wind now all the way and with driving rain slow progress. I had to actually change down gears when going down the hill to cross the Cromarty Firth near Dingwall. From there up hill all the way to the Dornoch Firth.(check your maps !!) Chris on site TV and internet working perfectly even this far north. Forecast for tomorrow...rain all day and 20mph NE winds...this is the Scotland I remember. .think it is going to be a long hard day..but at least it is the last day!!!
22nd JUNE DORNOCH-JOHN O'GROATS 80 miles(899) weather absolutely foul...delayed start until 10am in hope of some improvement. No chance...hard North East wind and driving rain. The route also was demanding ,having a lot of climbs for the last day. When the rain stopped at lunch I had a complete change of clothes. Mist rolled in and visibilty atrocious. Wind continued and I could only average 11 miles an hour. The gruelling end meant this was the worse stage of all. Shame there was no "finish line" at the end but I finally made it after over 7 hours on the bike. Chris had also managed to defy the elements and tortuous road conditions. We celebrated with a curry and some bubbly .
If anyone still wishes to donate the webpage is open for another month. It would be great to reach our target of £500. Many thanks to those who have already donated. We really appreciate it.