A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Sunday, 29 April 2012

York - London: Should have taken a pedalo

I've got 5 weeks left till the big challenge starts. So whats the sensible thing to do? Why get a train to York of course and then cycle all the way back! So on Saturday I got up at Oh-My-God O'clock and pedaled up to St Pancras in torrential rain...a theme that was to permeate the weekend. The trip north was really pleasant, zooming out of town on a high speed train...at least  until it dawned on my every couple of minutes of "zoom" was going to be a slog back on the bike home. Anyway this was the plan:

York is a beautiful railway station to arrive at...which is saying something. Blossomed tree line lanes and castle walls tucked in to the middle of the city. Had no time to look around but took the tourist shot thats no doubt been done a few times before:

And then got a move on. I'd done a rough calculation before going away on the excellent route planning website http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/ and knew that to make it to my target for the day, Peterborough, I'd have to ride a PB for distance - but that was the whole point of heading so far away. The weather was not great either, cold, and the odd heavy shower - but the riding was brilliant - fast, flat and with a wind mostly on my back quarter with the odd headwind section.

I made great time south, having a lunch break after 100km at possibly the worst pub in Lincolnshire, for a rather unpleasant, but very filling Lasagne...which I regretted later (don't ask). Then moved on to Lincoln itself, very briefly passing though the city center for a peak at the Cathedral:

After Lincoln the miles were really stacking up and the constant buffeting in the wind was taking it out of me. I squeezed down a gel and tried to find some more energy...finally Peterborough signs started appearing and I negotiated busy arterial roads to the south side of the city where I'd booked a room.

Wow...this turned out to be a cyclist dream. When the staff asked why the heck I'd ridden from York and I said it was training for a charity ride, they went well out of their way: bike locked safely in a meeting room, my room upgraded, beautiful meal, smiling faces. Shame I'd passed out asleep by 9pm and couldn't enjoy the place more but thanks guys at the The Premier Inn - exceptional service!

The weather worsened overnight and I was out the door as early as possible...still a long way from London. Not much to say about this...except I was soaked, cold, and still very sore from an epic day one. This was a pure mental battle to keep going, and small things like navigating were more difficult than normal. I couldn't stop & knew if I did I'd never start again. I was too wet and cold to stop moving...so did the final 130km pedal in 1 long single hit - riding a lot slower than normal. So wet in fact it might have been faster in this:

Finally back home and an ice pack on a sore ankle, a bit of achilles tendonitis is back...got to get that sorted before next weekend when I'm riding aboard...

Total tally for the weekend:

Day 1: York to Peterborough
230 km / 142 Miles: 7001 Calories

Day 2: Peterbrough to London
140 km / 87 Miles: 4464 Calories

Paying for it now!

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