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

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Day 5 Wigan to Gretna

What a huge day! Fed and watered myself early and was peddling out of Wigan before 8am, enjoying deserted roads, being a Sunday morning. The weather was cool and overcast, pefect weather for high milage...so thats exactly what was on the cards. I made great progress north and was pushing though Preston in no time. North of the town, 3 strong looking riders from Manchester pulled alongside and I had a good chat with one of them, who had done a 12 day Lejog a few years ago and by quite a similar route. He also seemed to think my target for today was a bit nuts!

I hit Cumbria, delighted to now be genuinly "north"

And thanks to the largely flat terrain, made the 100km/60 miles up to Kendall for lunch in awesome time. It took me ages to find anything reasonably healthy to eat (you do NOT want to ride with greasy food in your belly believe me) so in the end only had a 30 minute sit down here before it was time to move on.

The next stage involved the big hill climb. You may notice this hill in today's ride profile:

It was indeed quite a big hill, but a long and reasonably gentle ascent...taking roughly 5 miles to get up to the top and 6 down the other side. Great views on the way up, with the land around most definitly starting to have that more northern look about it.

When I trundled down the other side I was starting to feel the burn a bit. The acumulated miles from back to back century's starting to show basically all over. Gel and water time. Which reminds me, I decided on a name for the new Bike! Actually decided a while ago but was too ashamed to admit it...due to total lack of imagination....

It's "Bianca mkII" ...and here's me fueling her up at the bottom of the hill (unleaded)

Time to move on, still had 40+ miles to go. Onward to Preston and the land flattened out again. Nice riding, though the traffice was roaring along in places. One problem I am having with Bianca MkII: She dosent like to sit still. A happy Bianca mkII is being peddled. So, when stopping to take this photo:

(Nothing too amazing, but a pleasant enough field I suppose) She wildly threw me on the to the tarmac, giving my pride a definite dent. I mean, who can ride the length of England but fall off a stationary bike?! Problem is my handle bar bag has a tendency to suddenly turn the front wheel when the bike is stationary if you done have a hand on the bars...and if clipped in with SPD's, down you go. I looked a right chump!

Pulling myself back together and nursing a few bruises, more peddling, and this required another gel and some serious effort to keep going. 

Finally, after passing through Carlisle in some wonderful sunshine, it was only another 8 or so miles to my target....Scotland!!

I am only taking this ride one day at a time so I'm not going to talk about whats ahead too much yet, but I will say being in Scotland is a wonderful boost, and it means tomorrow I can ride a little under 100 miles and still be on target. Today was 197km/ 120 miles all told, and looks pretty cool on the big map:

Finally, just now while typing this a staff member here who is training to be a mental health worker, saw my "Rethink" t-shirt and its been cool talking a bit about this cause with him. Hope you're training goes well mate! 

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