After torrential rain just after dawn we feared today was going to be another wet day, however by the time we had oiled the bikes and made sure everything was OK after the long periods of riding in the rain yesterday, we left Lancaster in dry weather knowing that we had some big climbs ahead of us.
Fortunately the weather remained dry throughout the day, although our cycling shoes have still not dried from the soaking they got yesterday.
We left Lancaster following the A6, initially making reasonably good progress. During this section of the ride, Graham J found a penny and picked it up, hoping for all day long to have good luck… We stopped 5 miles short of Kendal for a bacon sandwich and tea.
By the time we reached Kendal it was clear Graham R had a problem with his bike as it was making lots of weird noises. This turned out to be the front wheel bearing giving up and despite calling at a cycle shop in Kendal we were unable to get replacement bearings. Fortunately we were carrying a spare front wheel in the support vehicle and we were soon able to replace the front wheel and carry on our way. This is the only spare front wheel we have, so lets hope that all the other wheels hold out, otherwise it will be quite amusing trying to put a back wheel on the front of the bike!!
From Kendal we climbed Shap Fells and this involved a 15 mile climb taking us to over 1400ft above sea level. The views from the top were spectacular. However, we had to enduring a number of disheartening descents, knowing each time we’d have to climb back up and further.
Lunch was taken part way up the ascent and when we finally got over the peak, the ride down was spectacularly fast and somewhat scary for Graham J who is afraid of heights. But Graham R and Shane love the excitement.
Somewhere on the descent one of Graham J’s drink bottles fell out of the cradle and was lost. So all in all, maybe the penny didn’t bring us that much luck after all. During the time on Shap Fell we met a guy who was talking to Graham R as we were cycling and said he was training to do Lands End to John O’Groats. When Graham R told him that we’re currently doing that very ride right now, the guy spent ages trying to gain information about how it had been so far.
The next town was Penrith which had an annoying one-way system and very little by way of signposts. The one-way system caused us to cycle to the highest point in the town only to drop back to the same level as we were before. At this stage, every foot of climb felt like a 10ft climb.
Graham R was feeling quite a lot of pain in his knee, not wanting to be outdone by Shane, who’s knee is actually a little bit better today, but still painful. Graham J’s main problem is painful thighs (although we all have that problem) and sore bum.
From Penrith to Carlisle involved lots of small climbs across the undulating countryside and we finally arrived in Carlisle at around 6:45pm. Carlisle seems to be a busy and noisy place on a Saturday night, but I guess most places are. So we grabbed a quick pizza and bought it back to the room. While in the pizza shop, a lady called Olive Mann saw our Great Ormond Street t-shirts and explained to us that her mother worked at GOSH in the 1930 and kindly gave us a donation of £10.
Tomorrow we have a 96 mile ride via Dumfries to Kilmarnock and lots more climbing. Our support driver now has the company of her sister Christine so there will be 2 people to help us at the stops, getting food and generally making sure that we’re OK.
We’ve now passed the half way mark, both in terms of days and also in miles. We have actually covered 497 miles, so we can now start the count down to the end. Please remember our JustGiving page and if you haven’t already donated, it would give us a huge boost to see your messages and for the total get nearer to the target.