Thursday, 21 July 2011

LEJOG - Day 4 - Bristol to Ludlow

Miles - 80.62
Cycle Time - 6hrs 16mins
Total Time - 8hrs 20mins
Average Speed - 12.86mph
Top Speed -

After yesterday's drama we were all hoping for an uneventful trip to Ludlow. It started with action though as a dustbin truck reversed out onto the road. It was Joe's right of way, and he kept on going, giving the non-plussed dustbin driver a gob full as he passed.

The roads out of Bristol and onto the Severn Bridge were busy even at this early hour but the pace was good and the threatening clouds were holding off. Pete navigated us out of Bristol expertly, having done a dry run with Ben a few weeks before we headed off on LEJOG.

We made it to the Severn Bridge without any problems, and enjoyed the views as we took it easy. After yesterday's crash in attempting to get a snap, I was apprehensive about reaching for the camera again. But the opportunity to get pictures on the bridge was to good an opportunity to pass up.

Dad, Luke and Pete were in good form as we headed into Wales briefly. Attacking the hills and the struggles of Devon and Cornwall felt an age ago as Dad crested each hill in one effort. Me and Joe were working up the hills together, Joe tackling them in his own style. I was starting to get a sharp pain in my right shoulder and upper back, Pete was very kindly massaging it when we stopped. I tend to move around alot when I ride, hopping out of the saddle frequently, and going down on the drops all combine to cause the discomfort which I hadn't experinced on my much shorter training rides.

We met up with the support team just before the 30 mile mark. Topping up on gels, Go juice, Lucozade and water as well as eating anything we could get our greasy mitts on. Luke was keen to keep our stops short, particuarly the 7.5 mile stops in readiness for the longer days to come.

Luke and I found ourselves cut off from the others at the back of the group as we chatted about what had gone, what was to come and what challenges to do post LEJOG. We took the opportunity to dust off the cobwebs and raced back to the others, on the flat, uphill and finally catching them after a quick descent.

Since we had set off from Land's End being boys we showed no shame in where we chose to getting rid of all this lucozade, water and Go Juice we had been drinking. One problem we were yet to encounter was what to do if we wanted to get rid of all the food we had eaten. After lunch I presented the group with this exact dilemma. As we rode through the countryside I looked around for the most appealing looking leaves in case the worst happened, whilst also hoping and praying for a pub. My prays were answered by the New Inn. I had planned for this problem and had a tenner with me incase an angry landlord decided he didn't like me using his facilities for free. But I was in and out before anyone noticed and so was none the poorer.

Comfortable and ready to roll I headed for the car park exit. The others decided to slip out through the pedestrian exit. Joe and Pete maded it safely through, all done at walking pace no hassles. Dad was not so fortunate, keen to clip in and get going he hit luke's stationary back wheel and was on his back. My favorite description and perhaps the most accurate was that he appeared to be a tortise riding around on his shell. But the low speed collison was more about bruised egos than bruised bodies.

After 48 miles in 5 hours since we had set off Dad was keen for his lunch, particuarly after his boinking in the early days of the trip. So there was relief all round when we met up with the girls for Steak Slices and Sausage Rolls. This gave me a short term boost, but I was feeling the most tired I had since the journey began. I had been having post lunch lulls, I'm not sure if this was a mental struggle or if my longest training cycle of 50 miles was insufficent for the rigors of 70+ miles days for nearly two weeks. Either way I was definately flagging this afternoon.

The post lunch haze soon lifted though as Ludlow approached and we finished at 16:40 only 8 hours and 20 minutes after leaving Pete's. This was the longest cycle of my life, and the quickest day so far. No punctures, no drama, just in the groove. Lucky for you guys that means a short blog.

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