Friday, 8 July 2011

Day 5 of the Big Ride

Today we have cycled from Newcastle-Under-Lyme to Lancaster, covering 86 miles including, somewhere along the way in the morning, missing a turn resulting in having to do an extra 6 miles. We started off in the rain, which is never a promising thing, however, the rain does tend to make us more determined as we just want to get into the warm and dry. And sorry no pictures today, not really the weather for sight seeing.

After leaving the Travelodge, we cycled through Holmes Chapel and Northwich but never found a snack wagon for the tea and bacon sandwich. So we ended up stopping at a McDonalds and having a small cheese burger each. Then it was off to Warrington, and we crossed both the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey, the later while singing ‘ferry cross the Mersey’ in the pouring rain. We think we might be going slightly mad with the punishment we are putting our bodies through.

We planned to meet the support vehicle on the way out of Wigan but as it was now raining again and we were cold and wet, we asked Charlotte to find a pub, so we could dry off. However, Charlotte kept telling us she could not find a pub, which we thought was strange, so we rode on the try and find her where she had pulled off the road just outside Coppull Moor.

However as we approached we saw she had a man with her and we were both delighted and surprise to see, Shane’s Dad, Andy who drove all the way up from Cambridge to see us and greeted us with a warm campervan. He had put out the awning on his van, put on the heater and put the kettle on. It turned out he was hoping to meet with us in the morning at the hotel before we left. However, he broke down in his Van on the A14, delaying him a bit. He got back on the road and managed to get to the Travelodge about half an hour after we left, and spent the morning with the support driver going to Sainsbury’s to pick up yet more supplies and filling up with diesel and petrol, before finding a place to stop for lunch.

We filled ourselves with food and cups of tea before leaving. For the final 37 miles, but then the curse hit again and after maybe about 200 metres Graham J got a puncture, so went back to the support to fix this.

We set back out from the lunch stop again, yet again in the pouring rain.
It continued raining for the whole afternoon gradually getting heavier and heavier, eventually turning into thunderstorms as we passed through Preston. It was also cold and we knew we just had to keep going in order to keep our body temperature up. Even short breaks left us feeling very cold, so we pushed on with Graham R leading, Shane following and Graham J bringing up the rear and getting covered in spray from the other two. Not that it really matters, as it was so wet, we were soaked for the whole ride and at times we were riding through flood water which sprayed over our feet keeping our shoes full of water. In addition, every time a vehicle passed us we got covered in spray. We eventually arrived back at the hotel absolutely soaked!!

During the afternoon, Shane was having some problems with his knee, possibly partly to do with the cold from the rain. At one point, his knee completely locked up and he was struggling to move it. Graham R and Graham J thought that this was the end for Shane’s ride, however after making a very loud cracking noise, it seemed to be okay again and is not hurting too much.

The support driver found the Travelodge we are staying in tonight in Lancaster and brought up all the stuff to the rooms, however, unfortunately the rooms are on the 2nd and 3rd floors, but luckily there are lifts which meant we didn’t have to carry our bikes up 3 flights of stairs!!

The prize for the worst drivers goes to Wigan today, where one driver tried 3 times to knock Graham J off his bike and another driver pulled out of a parking spot as Graham J was passing. We are beginning to wonder if Graham J is bad luck, given the number of punctures he has had and his luck with drivers.

Finally, thanks to our friend Robin, who e-mailed Taylors of Harrogate (makers of Yorkshire Tea), after mention of them in this blog before and while they can’t provide cash, because the already support specific charities, they have sent us some tea and other goodies.

Tomorrow we are back to climbing as we cross the Lake District to Carlisle, where we hope to meet Christine, Graham J’s other daughter.

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