Tintern – Shewsbury
91 Miles: Time unknown
So in the morning I set off with Gareth again and although it was a bit wet, the scenery in the wye Valley was breath taking and we made good time on the flat section. It was a bit cold and rainy but we kept a good pace and with the scenary to enjoy today it looks like a good day.
Before long we arrived in Monmouth and faced a long climb out of the valley I had noticed i was adapting to the cycling and the climbs weren’t as tough, I’d be blowing but I would get through them fairly uneventfully now. At this point Chrissy in the support team pulled up in the van suggested I needed to raise my saddle and I said I would at the water stop. So we arrived at the water stop and found all was not well with my bike. The front break had seized and would not spring back. Mike was great though doing all he could to fix it. Sadly we had no luck and I borrowed the spare so they could take a closer look at it. It was frustrating and I got close to wanting to give the bike a good kicking .
The spare wasn’t a bad bike and we cracked on through some b roads and small villages onto lunch in Leintwardine, but the 40 minutes of waiting to sort my bike made me and Gareth wonder if we’d ever get a good time! after a lunch break we pressed onto Bishops Castle,on more country roads with some undulating. The going was fairly easy and we made it to the last water stop, on the A488.
Here the aussie girls caught us up and we had fun racing them down a long descent into Shewsbury it was fast and fun going and we rolled into a lovely hotel. When I got here Mike and Ali were working on my bike and confident they’d have it sorted for the morning. I went to bed hoping they would, as I loved my bike and it wasn’t the same not riding on it.
Shrewsbury – Preston
90.22 miles 7 hours 29 minutes 12 seconds.
I woke that morning having had a rubbish nights sleep. I felt quite sore and was worried about the bike. However i was determined that today would be the day i’d finally get a much needed early finish to chill out and rest my body.
Thankfully I need not have worried, Ali and Mike had done a great job on my bike and it was in tip top condition, with new cables and working fine. The whole support team were a great lot and really really added to the trip and made it a lot of fun. Mike even commented on how much he loved the bike. I have to agree with him, it has so much character and is so much fun to ride. Its not the flashiest but its a classsic as far as i’m concerned.
So myself and Gareth made a decision to get an early start as we were fed up of the late finishes and just wanted one decent arrival time. So we set off along some lovely roads towards Wem, it was quite peaceful countryside, and we were flying along some perfect scenary.
Having my saddle raised made a massive difference and I suddenly had much more power and hils became so much easier and i could now keep up with Gareth who had been leaving me for dead at times. Gareth has had the toughest time on his bike, it was a heavy hybrid yet he gutted it out and smiled the whole time it was hard to feel down with him around.
We arrived at the water stop in bickley moss and carried on after the usual stop. The next bit was long and riding through Warrington was an experience! There, a friend of mine Mike, joined us for a spell up to Wigan and seeing him lifted my spirits. I’d not ridden with Mike before and looking forward to cycling with him at the London – Brighton event next month.
Shortly after a brief lunch stop, Gareth decided he wanted to slow down so i went on with Mike, Belinda, Wendy and the twins. Itwas a good fun, fast part and I had a wicked time, flying round. Mike bid us farewell at Wigan and I went on with the girls to the last water stop at a bike shop! Here I stocked up on energy mix and gels, ready for the rest of the trip and pressed on, leaving the
girls as they went on a mammoth shopping spree!
After a fairly uneventful ride we were in Preston and the hotel.
As I was in early, i was able to catch up on e-mail and my fundraising. The support from people was brilliant and helped me keep going. Thank you to everyone who donated or took the time to message me. My total was also creeping up towards the ammended target and it looked to be a good chance I would hit it, which was great. Also getting to know people on the trip helped. It was funny how easy itwas to settle into a routine, of getting up having breakfast, cycling, getting in, showering, sorting kit, eating and sleeping. But to find time to get to know people and have a beer was a real boost to morale as well.
So a good fun day, the last few days didn’t have the spectacular scenary of before but it was good to feel myself getting stronger on the bike and my body adapting.