Well no alarm clock this morning was a bonus and not having to eat & drink everything in sight made life a little easier this morning, things were much steadier paced. The bikes don’t know what to do with themselves….
My cycling partner (Rich) for the last 10 days has departed on train leaving Newton Abbot for Leeds, I’m resting in Devon for the next few days.
Summary of Ride
- 10 Days
- 3 Countries
- 21 Counties
- 940 miles
- 53.06hrs of cycling
- 55,000 calories per person
- 41,473ft of climbing (more than Mount Everest)
- Average Speed 17mph
- Max speed 41mph
- 1 puncture
- 0 mechanicals
- 1 fall
- 1,000,000 potholes
” This ride exceeded all expectations in all areas. It has taken huge amounts of time planning this tour and the physical effort that is needed to get the training miles in to put me in a position of completing this distance without seriously damaging myself has been tough. Above all the mental strength to get through this ride has to be 100%, any doubt would be so easy to stop riding. Sacrafices had to be made away from the family on evenings and weekends to ensure I get the miles in. I knew I could do the 100 miles in a day, but after completing this mileage on the 4th day could be a different story. There are a huge number of factors that could go wrong with this challenge, so being in good shape & treating the bike with respect is all so important.
We were very fortunate with the accommodation throughout the UK in the way we have been looked after, this made our life’s much easier. I have to say we have eaten like Kings every evening & anything that was available through day
The Support Crew from John O’Groats to Lancaster (Chuckle Brothers in their Enterprise Van) were a laugh a minute, but they were fantastic to spend time with, I am sure that they have lots of video footage, as they were often seen at the rear and alongside hanging out of windows with cameras. Trying to organise the back of that van with half the Chuckle Brothers household goods in there was some task, but was all part of the fun. The Happy Campers met in Lancaster and supported to Land’s End, they were also a fantastic Crew meeting at stop points with fresh sandwiches and warm pies (could not ask for more) always had a weather report and have to say both support teams run like clockwork never missing a stop.
It was great to get support off so many people during the ride, not to mention the 4 cyclists we bumped into 4 times (last seen near Preston) who set off just before us at John O’Groats. I had the opportunity to ride with Si for 40 miles through Exeter, seeing the Wife, Roma and friends made an appearance at a bar in Launceston to cheer us on.
I best mention the person I was no more than a tyre width away for 10 days – Rich, he is a solid rider, and a top lad, I could not find any weaknesses in his cycling. It’s amazing to think that I had never ridden with him before, but I had a sense that he would be a close fit to my ability and that was the case, we were both very strong throughout almost racing at times averaging 25mph. He had a task of looking after the Garmin, although this was great at the start, it started to fail towards the end, so our map skills & sense of direction came to good use, the teamwork could not have worked any better. The social aspect worked a treat, apart from Rich can drink beers and I can’t… Superb riding partner Rich!
Highs – Setting off from John O’Groats in the sun. Cycling to Inchree, racing to catch ferry to Isle of Arran, visiting Greystokes, cycling through Cheshire & Shropshire Hills, sunset in the Mendips, having fun with support crews, those 3 course evening meals. Seeing the Family.
Lows – Waking up at 6am and seeing the wind & rain, realising we had 100 miles to do, the fall heading for Lochranza, 3 lanes of fast traffic heading for Kilmarnock, Garmin 810 towards back-end, trying to find the bridge over river Avon.
This was a challenge I have wanted to do for years, now I was determined to it due to family members battle with cancer, I am sure my Uncle Joe (well done Tankie) and Mum will be proud of me”.
“Writing this on the morning after the last day, I can honestly say that getting on my bike again today would not have been the end of the world,something I would have scoffed at saying this time last week.
Though I trained reasonably well for the ride my biggest regret was not doing any back-to-back rides. Most people with a reasonable fitness could ride a 100 miles but doing it day after day initially drained me (I guess riding the first few days as a 45km time trial didn’t help). Slowly my legs acclimatised to the challenge and felt less like concrete every morning. It became apparent that the mental challenge was the biggest one to overcome. You could be the fittest person in the world but if you haven’t got It upstairs it isn’t possible .
The first 5 stages I was riddled with self-doubt; “Are the legs feeling good, why didn’t I use a bigger cassette, will I be warm enough, will the bike hold up, what hills are on the route”. My biggest concern was how my backside was coping. After stage 2 i was worried my Race seat was probably not the best choice. Again though, like my legs, as the ride went I noticed it less. Interestingly, myself and Dan realised it took the legs AND bum a good 10 miles to warm up.
The ride was planned to perfection by Operations Chief and riding partner Dan Tate. We would categorically not have completed the ride without the help of two support crews. Clive and Neil on the first half and Graham and Sue in the 2nd half. They were our chefs, soigneurs, psychiatrists, drivers and general helpers. At my low points I would often forget these people sacrificed their own time, holidays and money to come and help us and here I was derided in self-pity just because I was a bit “knackered”. They never missed a stop, always on time, picked us up on the bad days and wrapped us up on the cold days. A big thank you to Neil, Clive, Sue and Graham, we couldn’t have done it without you.
Also a big thanks to Dan. I’ve known Dan through work for the last 3 years. However, I would be lying to say I wasn’t nervous before the holiday particularly as we have never ridden together.
Going away with someone for 10 days is a big deal, particularly when we’re riding bikes and spending every minute of every day together. Would he be too fast, would I be too annoying, were all legitimate questions. Thankfully we were like twins on the bikes (we basically did “through and off” for 950 miles) and got on like a house on fire off it. I would describe Dan as Calmness personified.
Highlights – Beautiful landscapes, eating crap all week, the bliss of finishing each stage, putting the hammer down into Inchree, the one day of glorious weather, Neil’s stories, cycling through Tintern, Isle of Arran, Sue’s cereal bars, seeing Anna and Roma, getting cheered on by strangers (dan’s friends) hot showers and the finish line.
Low points – Every morning, reaching my 3 pint a night limit and realising I couldn’t have any more, 3 lane dual carriageway outside Kilmarnock, Kirkstone pass (yes I know it’s a beautiful climb.. But it still hurt), Garmin (see below),
… And a special mention
Most cyclists these days are well acquainted with Garmin products.
I can only speak for the Garmin 500 and the Garmin 810, the latter I bought specifically for this ride. They are pretty much the only thing on the market so you can put aside the clunky,
out dated technology when they are working well.
However, as friends and 1000’s of forum users seem to agree, they do not work as they should all of the time…. And the 810 really surpassed itself this time. For the money people pay it’s just embarrassing how unreliable they are. This was definitely the most disappointing aspect of the entire trip”.
All that is left to say is, never under-estimate any type of challenge and treat with respect.
Time to relax and reflect on this achievement, until the next challenge, what ever that could be, you may see Dan & Rich take on another challenge, watch this space……….
Thank you for all the support with this ride and hope you have found the blog interesting to read.
Dan & Rich