kipperfish: (Alyson)
[personal profile] kipperfish
Land's End to John O'Groats Day 3 - Mortenhampsteam to Street 68 miles

Today was marked as a hard day on our route notes, and what better way to ram that home to us than to give us a 2 mile climb out of Mortenhampstead, something our hosts at the B&B seemed only too keen to keep reminding us of. Don't think I'll be staying there again this trip if that's their attitude! That'll learn them! In fact, much of the early part of the ride to Exeter was punctuated with climbs, and them, combined with the truly masochistic climb straight after lunch, did the difficulty degree justice.

However, in between the climbs before Exeter, Gravity showed that yesterday had been a flash in the pan, and rather than giving us the sulking petulant behaviour from Day 2, Gravity pulled its weight exceptionally well, and even held back slightly so as not to give us the terror inducing speeds, merely content to give us fun, fast riding on the many downhills we had today. It continued its new found superb attitude all through the day

There was one other major problem with the day (although in comparison to the sadistic climbs, it probably wasn't that major). On day 2, I felt I was in my comfort zone and figured I could probably go a little faster. Regular readers of mine will now be thinking "uh-oh, exactly how badly wrong did it go from here....." and quite frankly, you'd be spot on. I attached myself to a slightly faster group today, not massively faster, just 1-2 mph faster on average, and that was a big mistake. Whilst I could easily keep up on the downhills (I have more Gravity than most on the tour), and keep up with a bit of effort on the flat bits, it left me nothing left for the hills, and by the second brew stop in the afternoon, I got in, threw my bike up against the fence, and slumped down against a tree and almost fell asleep. I was pretty much running on empty by that point having had a lovely ride at a decent pace across the top of a hill in Devon/Somerset and then having had to negotiate a couple of awkward hills around North Curry. I did solve the problem by dropping back a group for the final run of the day, but overcooking it is bad folks, especially on day 3 out of 14!

After being persuaded to dump the rucksack on day 1, I have been living on rather a knife edge. I had nowhere to carry a spare inner tube, or puncture repair kit, or phone. Whilst at this point I would normally regale you with a story about my puncture, this time I actually got lucky, and my bike worked well, and at lunchtime today, I received my rucksack replacement - a small saddlebag that fits an inner tube, a puncture repair kit, a tool, and my phone. I can now break down safe in the knowledge that I have the tools to fix it. I lack the knowledge of how to use said tools, but it can't be that difficult right?

The real highlight of the day for me was the last run in. After stuffing my face with as much cake, sweets, nuts, tea, chocolate, and biscuits as I could manage at afternoon brew stop, I headed off with the more sedately paced group, and we cycled along the Somerset levels. Or possibly Holland. I'm not too sure which as they look exactly the same - cycle path winding through fields of animals, each section of field separated from another by a dyke, and a dyke separating the fields from the path! It was a gorgeous ride, spoiled only by the surprise hill up into Street. That was a little unnecessary.

Tomorrow I cycle home.... Err...past my home... Well, within 12-13 miles of it at least. The trick is going to be not peeling off with a cry off "Toodles! Have a nice trip!" When we get to Cribbs Causeway!

A couple more points of note for all those of you who like stats, which I assume is all of you:
Today we reached 200 miles. 771 to go.
Today I smashed my personal best for total miles in a week (and that was inside 3 days!)
Yesterday we started in Cornwall, tomorrow we end up in Wales. I still can't get my head around this!

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