This is a day late, so I apologise to any reader to whom I provide their early-morning entertainment. (Hello JH!)
The funny thing about cycling, or any long-distance sport, is that the energy one has to do a challenge is always three miles less than one needs, irrespective of the length of the ride. It sounds bizarre, I know, but a couple of other people said the same to me at breakfast this morning, so it may be true. It’s all in the head of course, as are many sporting endeavours.
And the funny thing about blogging is that there are always things I keep forgetting. Yesterday, for example, while passing through Blackburn, I was hoping to see lots of holes in the road, so I could refer to the Beatles song A Day in the Life (look it up). I was sure I’d see lots of holes on a road called Broken Stone Road, in which there was a warning of loose gravel (below), but to my disappointment the road was almost pristine. Maybe, 55 years after Sgt Pepper was released, Blackburn has got around to fixing the holes.
But what of today? This was an intermediate ride, somewhere between yesterday’s recovery ride of 53 miles and tomorrow’s ride of 85 miles. To tell you the truth it was one of the least memorable legs so far for some reason. It was flat for the most part, and the scenery was not the most inspiring we had seen, although a castle apparently hewn into the rock was interesting.
We stopped for coffee at a café in Malpas, where we had also stopped four years ago when I did LEJOG. As usual I was in a middle group of one, with the leading group of Amardeep, Carl, Jamie, John and Les arriving at the café 20 minutes before me (or maybe a bit more!) and the trailing group of Denise, Don, Mike and Sonjia (usually accompanied by Andy) arriving 20 minutes after me. I had been wondering about the etymology of Malpas, and it’s as obvious as can be: it’s from the old French and means “bad or difficult passage”.
Because it was less scenically interesting, I thought I’d make a couple of videos (lots of people seem to make videos these days). I must admit that they would have been better with a mouth-mounted GoPro, but maybe that’s for another day.
This was a day when we didn’t have a real lunch stop, so I popped into a small supermarket (I can’t remember which one) and, greatly daring, bought a Ginsters pasty (I had been warned off this by many people!). Actually, it wasn’t too bad, and with some grapes and Lucozade it got me to the foot of the hill before the B&B where most of us were staying. It was a steep hill, going up to 18%, and I must admit that I had to get off a couple of times. But I got there, and rather than spend the night there I was quickly whisked off to a B&B six miles away, where I stayed with Rob and Andy. We had a really good dinner and I returned to my room with its poor wifi and went straight to sleep without writing this blog.
We cycled 67.1 miles and climbed 3,783 feet, with an average speed of 11.9 mph. I used 1,707 calories.