Is it normal to keep waking up during the night despite your whole body needing rest? Who knows, perhaps that’s what this kind of routine does to you. Our host, Ronnie, was excellent and the cooked breakfast was well received. This morning was going to be very different ride – I was going to be joined by Chris (Thorpe) for the first leg of the journey from Keswick to Morecambe. He arrived just as we were leaving our B&B and before you ask, yes it was raining. I got the bike together, put on the jacket and rest of the gear and we set off on the 50mile first leg through the Lake District and beyond. The scenery was excellent, probably some of the best so far so there were plenty of opportunities for photos. Having a riding partner was a great change from having to put up with my own company all the time, so I was pleased Chris had offered to join me. There was a certain amount of racepace, as you would expect, but try as I might I couldn’t shake Thorpe from my rear wheel. You can enjoy an additional selection of photos today, scattered throughout this blog and these courtesy of Thorpe’s camera.
One particularly amusing moment was when the first serious downhill arrived – I went straight for full effort assuming that Thorpe would be left in the dust. As I reached the bottom of the hill I pulled into a lay-by to wait for him to catch up, and began to take the iPhone out to snap a picture whilst looking over my right shoulder for his arrival. I couldn’t see him – surely he wasn’t that slow? Then I heard someone beckon me from my left and it turned out he had been in my slip stream the whole way and pulled in just as I did! Well, that made it clear – to shake the Thorpe it would take a whole new level of RacePace…
We stopped to say hi to Chris’ sister in the street in Keswick then continued on our way. Despite putting in the effort, still Thorpe wasn’t budging from my back tyre – I had to go for the long haul strategy and just wait it out. Some of you may question my level of competiveness, but rest assured this is par for the course on Thursday Shipham rides and I have no doubt that Thorpe expected as much. We stopped in Windermere as a possible Lego Man outing but there were too many tourists around (I later regretted the poor Lego Man action that was had today). Thorpe had his camera and took some shots as we cycled side by side – this was a novelty as until now I’ve not really had many of me on the bike, as there is never anyone there when I ride to take them! The Lego Men finally made an outing on an upturned bathtub in a Field somewhere south of Windermere. As Thorpe pointed out, this didn’t exactly sum up the area particularly well, but when the Lego Men want an outing, there isn’t much I can do to stop them. And let’s face it; the whole series of Lego Men videos isn’t exactly sane or predictable, so at least they are consistent. What was a little worrying was that a guy came out of a house a couple of 100 meters away to watch us when I started putting it together – we didnt spot a shotgun but you can never be too sure, so there was some time pressure on this one…
As Thorpe took a picture of me next to a signpost, a dodgy looking guy turned up in a 4×4 and asked if he wanted a picture of both of us together. As temporary custodian of the iPhone, which is the crux of the navigation for this whole trip, I was glad Thorpe didn’t hand over the device, which would have surely ended up as a BIN on ebay before the day was out.
The miles went by and before long we were on the A6 heading towards Lancaster. The road wasn’t the best, a little boring perhaps, but the progress was excellent. EveryTrail was playing up again but seemed to just about function, and the weather was better by this point. Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t going to hold and the wind started to pick up as we approached Morecambe and as we headed down the seafront it began to rain heavily. Always the best of timings, the British weather! I spotted the roof box from a few 100 meters away and it was lunch time at last. It had been an excellent ride and Chris held his own the whole way. Once again Mrs W had done us proud with sandwiches, crisps, drinks, flapjack, brownies and other goodies but there was one problem – the car had only one spare seat, and it was wet, very wet. So naturally I climbed into the boot and ate mine from there.
Chris set off shortly afterwards, heading back to the Lakes, and hopefully will have completed his century in doing so. I realised at the point he left, that EveryTrail had been merrily tracking us eating our lunch for 30 minutes or so, so that was the average rendered meaningless again! I waited a little longer for the food to go down then headed off myself. It was certainly a more laid back ride than the morning, and the weather soon improved leading to a relaxed and enjoyable second half of the day. Lancaster centre was typical traffic nightmare as was Preston, and despite getting used to it I’m still not a fan of city riding, especially as I always seem to end up in the middle lane of a dual carriageway with cars both sides! The riding improved and the A6 was followed for many miles – the Lego Man decided to hog my brake cables again for a while.
A small detour here and there and a change of destination due to no room at the (Premier) Inn meant the whole ride ended up being 103 miles. My second century of the JOGLE, and it looks like there will be one tomorrow and the next day as well! Fingers crossed the legs will hold out. Distance today: 103 miles, total so far 636 miles. I’m sure Thorpe will post a comment with his alternative version of the morning – so watch out for that! Route and photos:
Very decent of Reuben to say I stayed on his wheel all morning, although it might be more accurate to say he kindly refrained from ripping my legs off at least until the last few miles into Morecambe… I was secretly grateful for the sudden burst of rain on the seafront, as the brief stop to put rainjackets back on let me regain some dignity for the last half-mile to the car where Tash (team manager) was waiting with loads of good stuff for lunch. We’d taken a comfortable pace through the hills for the first thirty-five miles, but as we left the Lakes and headed on down the A6 there were long flat straights and a headwind off the Irish Sea and Reuben was right in his element. His hands went down to position number three on the drop bars (earlier he gave a detailed description of his various exactly-calibrated hand positions) and I was working at maximum sustainable power level just to keep him in sight – far harder than I’d usually push on an all-day ride. It’s fair to say Reuben is in terrifyingly good shape for a man with 500 miles already in his legs, despite the alleged aches and pains. At one point I mentioned that he didn’t seem to have scheduled a rest day on the trip, and it seemed to take him a few seconds to process this alien concept before coming up with a vaguely plausible answer (it would upset his rhythm, apparently).
I actually started out early at 7:30am, riding from Cockermouth over Whinlatter pass to meet Reuby and Tash in Keswick (although at first I only made it 300 yards before a torrential burst of rain sluiced down and I was stopped in my tracks to hide under a tree). After that the rain eased eased back to steady Cumbrian drizzle (a local speciality) and I got there with time in hand to grab a takeaway coffee from the marketplace for the beneficial caffeine hit. Later as we rolled on the back roads by Thirlmere (the big lake in the pictures above) Reuben was in conversational mode and expounded his new philosophy that “it’s all in the mind” as per yesterday’s blog post. I tactfully pointed out to him that no, actually, quite a lot of it is still in the legs and lungs…
I did try hard to persuade him to do the lego man thing at Bowness pier on Windermere but he bottled it due to the crowds of tourists – very disappointing. He eventually stopped in that random field in the Lyth valley and I can confirm the process of making the videos is just as freaky and disturbing as the end result.
After refuelling at Morecambe my original Plan A had been to catch a train back to the Lakes while Reuben put in another fifty miles southwards, but the sun came out again and my legs still seemed to be working so I turned back north – luckily the stiff headwind was now a delectable tailwind for the first few miles. I went round the quiet coast roads through Silverdale and Arnside at an easy pace, then over to Newby Bridge (at the foot of Windermere) and up the lovely rolling lanes through Hawkshead and the woods in the late afternoon sunshine back to Ambleside. Luckily I had the foresight to have a brother-in-law and sister who live there. Unfortunately their house is at the top of a leg-explodingly steep hill, but there was a barbecue going and a cold beer ready when I finally arrived. Final score: 116 miles for the day, which was pretty satisfying in itself but especially having shared some of Reuben’s big adventure along the way. Good luck the rest of the way mate, you’re storming it.
…postscript: while trundling along the A590 to Newby Bridge at an undemanding 15mph I accidentally found myself in the middle of a time trial event, with skin-suited aero-helmeted competitors hammering past every minute or two, going at least twice as fast as I was. You hear a rapidly approaching rumbling noise from behind (the solid disk rear wheel) followed by a whoosh as they go by in a deep tuck on the tri bars, rapidly receding into a dot on the horizon.
Reuben, you may be fast. But you ain’t that fast 😉
116 miles is seriously impressive – good effort mate!! Once again, thanks for joining me for the morning, and I’ll have to get in better shape to challenge those time trialers…
Chris did mention rain as he left on Friday! For the first time ever I spotted him fitting shopping bike mudguards to his bike!
Good to see the team support in full effect. Well done both. My 35 miles today with Axbridge Road Group seems small beer – which is a good idea – Cheers & G’night