So after the horrendous finish to yesterday I found myself on a long fast road running alongside the motorway. It was great, no traffic and the miles flew by for a couple of hours. I was a happy camper. I knew that in 7 or so hours I would be relieving my backside of the buttock cleaver for a good few weeks, heaven.
Within another hour or so I was back in Gretna, it seems so long since I passed here in the opposite direction but in fact it was only days ago. Soon I was back in England and knew that I didn’t have far to go. Far in relative terms that is, only about 40 something miles.
Carlisle came and went, and I was heading towards my next feed stop when I noticed several individuals scattered along the route who I knew, a reception committee so it seemed. It was great to see them all at the next stop, but alas I had to get going. Thankfully I saw them all at the finish for a proper catch up.
Just as a sting in the tail I was heading for Kirkstone Pass, a tasty little pass that kicks up viciously in places and summits at some 1500ft. Fortunately I knew what was coming as I have ridden this pass in training and in tri races, head down and grind it out. What I thought was rather apt as I went over the top was that the mileage for the day clicked over to 100 mikes for the day, thought it was quite neat.
I hurtled down the other side at breakneck speed and was soon on the doorstep of Brathay, were I was treated to a warm welcome from staff and a group of young guys on a residential. Even more people were on the lawn at the main house, great to see everyone and a relief that this part was done and dusted.
Briefly, the last 10 days have been really hard work, sometimes very lonely and desperate. The ride to Altnaherra over the moors in a freezing cold wind with 130 miles in the legs is a day I will never want to repeat and was soul destroying. The general beauty of the West of Scotland and The Cairngorms was uplifting, wonderful and really raised the spirits. I met some wonderful people in Warrington and some great individuals along the way. My support team of Trudi, Aly & Mac, worked hard and tirelessly to make sure I was OK every day and was allowed to just get on the bike and ride 130+ miles each day. They have been great.
Still 11 days to go
104 miles, 7 hours, 4300 ft, I think