Preston to Carlisle
88.36 Miles 6 hours 59 minutes and 11 seconds
So today promised a hell of a climb and some beautiful scenary as we rode along the A6 and took on Shap hill. It didn’t disappoint.
So the morning we set out on some flat fast road and before long we rode into Lancaster on a quiet sunday morning. I’d never been before and the city was beautiful. It was
one of those days were i was having a great time, i was embracing the challenge and so happy to be out on my bike with nothing else to worry about. We had a fast bit of road outside of Lancaster and soon hit the water stop, which was stunning by the river and a lush view. It felt good to be alive and having over half of the challenge to go.
At this point Gareth was feeling unwell so hung back with Felix and co who still continued to battle on. I felt good and made the decision to kick on. The roads were lush and sunny, passing a classic ford show and soon it was time to tackle Shap. Unlike before i felt good and attack the hill. It was a long climb that went on and on, but wasn’t as difficult as I feared. I thought of my dad a lot at this point i don’t know why, but it helped my press on. I really wished i could talk to him and tell him about the trip, it mademe quite emotional. We i hit the top i stopped for a rest, but was proud of myself for not stopping till then. I took in the stunning views and pressed on to the village hall for lunch.
From here the beautiful peaceful views continued and I was having a great time, ipod playing taking it all in feeling at peace. The descent was fun and i was enjoying it. the waterstop at Plumpton arriving in no time. I pressed on and after this i started to get an ache in my right knee, this would continue for the whole trip gettingworse each day. I ignored it as best i could and carried on.
After this i rode through Carlise and hit the hotel, and chilling out for the evening. At dinner I got to chill out with Isabel, Susie and Diane another great bunch of people and it was nice to feel like i was getting to know people. I felt sore but excited about hiting Scotland the next day.
Carlise – Kilmarnock
93.26 Miles 6 hours 38 Minutes and 34 seconds
So I woke up feeling very rough and with a sore knee. I was for some reason nervous about the day ahead, but some anti inflamatorys and deep freezed eased the knee and rode out ready to go with Gareth.
So we had a short and steady 10 miles before making it to scotland! And what a boost to morale it was. I couldn’t quite take it in that we had made it that far and I still cannot, I don’t really know when it will sink in.
After stopping for the typical photos we pressed on and enjoyed some lovely scenary. A quick stop at Tesco and we rolled on towards Dumfries, before we reached there though, I stopped to help a farmer get his cows into a field! The roads were pretty easy and we made water at a steady pace.
From there we had a long stretch of road which was cold and windy, we caught up with Felix and co, having left late, and Gareth again decided to ride with them still not feeling great so i kicked on alone. I arrived at lunch which was in a barn and fucking freezing so didn’t stop long!
The views were great and it was a nice stretch of road, my knee started to ache less and i made good time along some good road. Passing through some villages which were deserted it was like something out of 28 days later!
Before water there were some great descents which i loved riding and was flying around, a quick stop at water resisting the urge for a tea at the shop and again I| was flying. I was really noticing an improvement in my cycling at this point and my fitness, the cycle was relly becoming fun. I think i’m more addicted to it than ever!
After water i flew into the hotel and clocked up my best time on a long day which boosted my confidence know end. A nice shower and icing my knee and i felt good and relaxed for the night, enjoying a beer with the Aussies and feeling good about what I had accomplished that day.
Kilmarnock – Inverary
79.89 Miles 6 hours 44 minutes and 34 seconds
So i woke up fresh having had a evening to unwind, excited about the day ahead and what it promised. We would be going passed some beautiful lochs in Scotland and I couldn’t wait to see them
First we had to ride through Crosshouse and Kilwinning, two of the biggest dumps i’ve ever seen. After that though we had a bit of a climb on a busy a road, but then a stunning descent to a stunning view of the mountains and sea. After a stop for pics we carried on along the loch enjoying great views on a gorgeous clear day.
We passed an even more amazing site, some nut job, walking down the road, screaming along to his ipod, air guitaring. I nearly fell of my bike laughing
We Rode into a beautiful town call Largs where we stopped for a cup of tea – it almost felt like a holiday. After a nice ride we arrived Ardgowan to get the ferry to Duncon. It was bloody freezing on the ferry but nice to have the day broken up more. 6 miles later we were at lunch at the Benmore Botanical Gardens which were beautiful. We had a good chat with Mike then pressed on.
From here we rode along Loch Eck which was beautiful, it was so quiet and peaceful, and just a stunning place to cycle, i loved every minute of it. Soon we pass Ech and onto Loch Fyne which was just as stunning. A quick water stop after a lovely descent and it was on to the hotel.
We arrived in Inveraray which was beautiufl and the hotel spectacular. After a good bit of chill out time, seeing my fundraising go up even more i sat outside looking at the sun set over the loch. just stunning, a nice chat with Richard (top bloke), Paul and Peter and it was just great to be there enjoying life.
Off to bed relaxed. Tomorrow would prove to be one of the best days of my life, although it didn’t start like that…