Today we set out to do about 103 miles, the most we have done yet. Shane and Graham J have never cycled that far before and Graham Reeve only once when he was much younger. We set off about 8.30, leaving the support driver to pack the car and to find a Tesco to top up on supplies.
As we were quite worried about Shane’s knee last night, we started off fairly slowly this morning. In the first half of the day, (which was around 50 miles) we had a puncture for Shane and problems with Graham R’s spokes, which he fixed at the lunch stop. However we passed through some lovely towns, starting with Gloucester, then Tewkesbury. We started the morning with wet kit and started to dry as we rode, but then at Tewkesbury the heavens opened and we got soaked. The bad weather stayed with us until Worcester where it briefly brightened before threatening and delivering more rain before Kidderminster. Just after this we stopped for lunch in glorious sunshine, where we were joined by the support driver, Graham J’s wife Denise and his mother-in-law Mary. We were also joined by Graham R’s son Bill and his friend, who delivered bike supplies.
After being topped up with lunch and filling up our drinks bottles, we got all of 20 metres before Graham J suffered a puncture, which ripped the tyre which meant we had to change the tyre and the tube. Good job we brought spares!!! The afternoon ride was long but we made good progress, although the road surfaces were poor in the towns, which makes riding difficult as you drop into potholes and get bounced around causing a loss of cycling rhythm. We also encountered some very poor drivers with no consideration for cyclists. One bus driver tried to kill Shane and another van tried to take Graham J out at a roundabout by cutting into his lane. We passed through Wolverhampton and Stafford and with just 17 Miles to go, it was obvious Shane was really struggling with his knee. We took a couple of breaks and after a long climb out of Newcastle-Under-Lyme, we finally reach our hotel after some 12 hours on the road.
We are all very tired and our muscles ache badly. We are all walking like old men with bent knees and very tight thighs. Still we have now travelled 342 miles in 4 days including the very tough sections in Cornwall and Devon. We also crossed 7 counties and are finding it hard to believe we have gone from Stroud just above Bristol to the Stoke area in 1 day.
Tomorrow it is off to Lancaster, a shorter day of around 81 miles which will be kinder to our legs.
Finally, I have up loaded a couple of pictures following a few requests. More will follow but we now need to sleep.