South Laggan – Tain
78.32 Miles 7 hours 27 Minutes and 19 seconds
Today was a tough day. My legs were like jelly after the previous day and with a room of six of us it wasn’t a great nights sleep. It didn’t help that i dropped my pillow
on Petes had four times in the night.
I had a day of riding on my own, Gareth choosing to ride with Felix, Sinead, Pablo and Richard as he was struggling with his leg. (but it was great to see him still going he really toughed it out)
There was a massive head wind that day which made it tough going and it was a wet windy and cold day! Still riding around Loch Ness was pretty stunning, although I didn’t see Nessy! As we rode around the lake the going was made so much harder by the tough tough wind, it was an effort to get any sort of speed. Still I made it to the water stop.
A quick adjustment of my cleats and i was off to tackle Heartbreak hill, the largest and longest of the trip and what a hill it was! It was steap and went on and on, i had to stop briefly but got up it, to the most appaling conditions, it was pissing down, freezing and raining. You had to peddle to even get downhill! I did not enjoy that bit at all! Finally after what seemed an eternity i made it to the Lunch stop. I was sore, with bad knee ache, so took an age at lunch chatting and struggling to get going. When I did get going again it was up a long tough hill and my energy went quickly. After an age i made it to water, topped up and pressed on.
I tried to ride with the aussies but could not keep up i was done in. The last part of the day seemed to go on for ever and I was pleading for the hotel to arrive. I finally made the hotel after an age, cold wet and fed up.
However the hotel was stunning and a nice hot bath cheered me up. After freshening up and feeling humour we went for a nice dinner, then sat infront of a gorgeous fire, with Tim, Rich, James, mike and Ali for a few beers before bed. Tomorrow would be another toughy…
89.13 Miles 8 hours 11 minutes and 57 seconds
Another truly amazing day that I won’t forget in a hurry.
Me and Gareth set out a bit late, no one was keen to get out. The wind was mental and it was pissing down.
The first 10 miles were so tough, the head wind was about 20 miles an hour and crossing the Bridge was so hard with a cross wind.
The views were stunning though and after this we warmed up and made good pace to the coast. After water the rain died down and we saw some stunning views of the coast.
From there we turned at Helmsdale up the A697 and were in the middle of no where. It was amazing and just like the Scotland you see in the adverts. We saw some deer which was amazing:
Some of the scenary was mindblowing and we chatted along, taking in the views. The going got insane after though, we had a hill to climb that wasn’t that tough but the wind and rain hammered down. It stung your face and you could not get any sort of speed. That was as low as i got on the ride cursing the world and feeling fed up. Finally we made it to lunch where it cleared and after 2 cups of tea, some soup and a chat with Paul, Peter, Diane, ISabel, Susie etc i felt human again. The sun reappeared and it did my spirits the world of good
After lunch it all changed. I found a fifth gear and was flying, the roads and views spectactular and nothing would slow me down. Its some of the best cycling i’ve ever done and i loved every minute of it. I won’t ever forget that spell. Then it got better.
As I rounded a corner i caught a herd of deer literally 15 feet from me and just stood and watched them for ages it was amazing and not like anything i’d seen. Then it poured down and they ran off. But what a sight
Not even the raid could dull my mood and i felt even better when some lads gave me some flap jack! I was still going strong and after an amazing descent hit water. That was some of my best cycling, i felt good and was tearing up the road, it was just amazing and the scenary was spectacular and i will never forget that day.
From here we turned and rode the coast and the head wind was back, i struggled the previous spell taking its toll, but then we descended to thurso and that was fun.
We arrived at an ok hotel but my mood was lifted by having my own room! I had a lush dinner with Diane, her husband and Tim and was now loving the trip, a few beers after then off to bed.
That was it the hard days over. Tomorrow we got to John O’Groats.
28.43 Miles 2 hours 7 minutes 43 seconds
That morning I felt rough, my body was broken and had had enough. It wasn’t just me you could see in on everyones face.
We rode off for a meagre 27 miles – i made the detour to Dunnet head, the most northernly point in the Uk which was amazing, a tough wet climb but worth it, inspite of the vile weather.
Then i was flying into John O’Groats. I had my music blarring thinking of dad. Giving it my all, it was to be the last cycling of the trip and i was going to enjoy every minute of it. I felt happy and chuffed that I had got to the end and that I kept going, I thought of dad and wondered what he would make of it all.
We regrouped at the sea view hotel for a tea, then rode into John O’Groats as a group. I felt good, a year of prep had paid off i made it and had hit my fundraising target!
After a few pics we borded a coach to Inverness. We had a great night and a lot of drink was drunk with great company! We laughed about what we’d achieve, took the mick, toasted each other, saw rich do a tequilia suicide. It was a great night of celebrating.
I am so proud to have finished but I don’t think what I have done has sunk in yet. I went to bed very drunk, but very content.