Saturday, 30 July 2011
LEJOG - Day 13 - Melvich to John O'Groats (via Dunnet Head)
Miles - 45.40
Cycle Time - 3hrs 22mins
Total Time - 4hrs 17mins
Average Speed - 13.49mph
So after 12 days of graft the cyclists set off on the final leg just 40 or so miles to dust off before lunch a gentle warm up for these fit athletes. Mother nature didn't want the riders having it all their own way though and so on leaving the hotel the riders were rained on and I started to wonder if the 10 mile detour to Dunnet Head was going to happen as planned.
Thankfully after 5 miles the rain eased off and the sun came out. The pace was high with everyone knowing that tommorrow they would wake up and the bike wouldn't need riding and so nothing had to be left in the tank. Joe, Pete and Luke went off ahead and practised their no handed cycling ready for the celebrations. Whilst me and Dad took it easy and chatted happily about the two weeks and what it had brought. The overwhelming feeling was one of happiness and satisfaction of a job well done.
We met up with the girls for some food and resupply, agreeing to meet up with them again at Dunnet Head and headed off with everyone all smiles the miles rolling by so easily. Unfortunately the same could not be said of the 10 miles to Dunnet Head and back, the hills meant that the riders had to put in one last effort before they rolled into John O'Groats. As well as this we had to contend with our final puncture of the trip, with Joe being the unlucky victim. Having seen all that Dunnet Head had to offer (not alot) and taken plenty of photos to mark the occcasion we hopped back on the bikes and rolled down the hills that we had struggled up and headed to the finish.
The guys pulled over one final time to take off their jackets and allow them to show off their Livestrong at the finish. Unfortunately my jacket was too big to stuff in the pockets of my jersey, and so Luke shoved it underneath the jersey making me look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame for the final few miles. The five of us finished as we had started smiling and as one, the girls greeted us with red, white and blue flags and loud cheers adding some much needed fanfare to a rather drab looking John O'Groats. The finish not quite doing justice to the incredible achievement that is 1000 + miles in 13 days.
Hugs, Handshakes and Champagne followed and the adventure was complete. The bikes were put on the car and all 8 of the LEJOG gang along with Jane and Dave got into cars for the 2 hour trip back to Evanton for the celebratory BBQ. Mission accomplished!