kipperfish: (Willow be bad)
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Land's End to John O'Groats Day 4 - Street to Monmouth 64 miles

For me at least, day 4 has been the weirdest in the "trying to get my head round things" department. It also included two bouts of vertigo, and some odd downhills that felt like uphills - Gravity, I'm looking sidelong at you again here. It started off in somewhere I consider a considerable distance from home, and finished it somewhere else that I consider a considerable distance from home, just in the opposite direction..... And I cycled between the two in a day. Nope, even when I write it down I still don't get it!

The day started off well with us teleporting back to Holland for a bit as we cycled along more flat routes the took us to Glastonbury and then on to Wells. Now, Wells may be Britain's smallest city (ed. It isn't. It's England's smallest city), but the hill out of there is clearly trying to compensate for it, and it even does the horrible trick of flattening out a bit half way up, before taking you round a corner and laughing in your face as it presents you with the rest of the hill. For reference, if you sing/hum them slowly so as to be in time with your pedal revolutions, you can get through The Sorcerer's song, the Major General's song and half way through Tit Willow for the first bit, and after you've got over the hill laughing in your face, you can tack on Mia Sama, A More Humane Mikado , Kind Captain I've important Information, and part of I've Got A Little List for the rest of it. Don't say I never do important Gilbert and Sullivan Experiments for you!

After that, it was across the top of a hill, down to Chew Valley, and up to Bristol and across the suspension bridge, where after a few yards on the bridge, I looked down. Never look down. Especially not if you suffer from a bit of vertigo. Needless to say, I lit the after burners at that point desperate to get off the bridge as soon as possible, which came as a slight shock to the people I was cycling with! They came across the bridge at a far more sedate pace and stopped to take photos whilst I got my heartbeat back under control. We were then in a bit of Bristol that I knew well, so I used "Local Knowledge" to help get us to Easter Compton. It was ineffective. My local knowledge is going by car. We were on bikes keeping off the major roads. I stopped using local knowledge and just followed the route notes.

After lunch was the Severn Bridge. Now, I had absolutely no idea that crossing this on my bike was on my bucket list of things to do, but apparently it's right there, between gauging my own eyes out with a spoon, and sitting through every episode of the Antiques Roadshow back to back. Hmmm... I really must throw a few things off my bucket list. However, today I did at least cross off the Severn crossing on a bike one, and I hope to never have to do it again. Handily, there was a white line on the floor I could focus on, and I failed to look sideways over the bridge! Apparently, the bridge was creaking and moving a bit with the traffic and the wind. I am happy to say that I completely failed to notice this!

We were then in Wales, and were soon on roads where I'm sure Gravity started playing up, which to be honest is somewhat disappointing given the praise I lavished on it yesterday. They looked like downhills, but I had to work to keep moving forwards on them, rather than being pulled down by Gravity. However, I can't point all the finger of blame at Gravity. I haven't actually mentioned my bike much in this, and I think Gravity had a word with it, as it joined team sulk today, letting it's back brake go loose, and then when that was sorted, letting something rub intermittently on the front wheel. It's going to get a stern telling off in the morning by Rob and Dave, and I expect it to behave properly after that.

Tomorrow, we start on the easiest day of the tour. However, don't be fooled by this. We start off with yet another wake-up climb!

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