Twenty-five years after running twenty-six miles, half of the original team are bravely cycling all or part of the 1,050 mile route in support of LandAid, Dementia UK & other nominated charities.
Another beautiful day for cycling with lots of sunshine and few clouds and slightly warmer than the previous day. Naturally we had a couple of steep climbs leaving Taunton, but were rewarded with magnificent views of Somerset and the North Devon hills in the distance. The cycling was however quite tough with with our friends from Bike Adventures call 'undulating' . In lay man terms that means lots of sharp steep hills and a short drop between them. If we felt the morning was difficult, in reality it was just a warm up for the afternoon with the 20 miles after lunch being some of the toughest cycling of the whole trip. Having conquered the North Devon Hills we turned slightly south into Dartmoor and climbed for what seemed forever with our difficulties compounded by the first headwind that we have encountered for 5 days. Everybody made it to the Two Bridges Hotel, and in particular I want to compliment all the new comers to our venture who could not have had a more difficult day. They were simply magnificent particularly the group that got lost on the edge of Dartmoor and finished up cycling 71 miles rather than 62.
Kingsland, Herefordshire - Bridgwater, Somerset: 119 Miles
Richard Upton (with thanks to Rob Lansdowne), lots of time to think:
"The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off." William G. Golding.
...You spin me right round baby, right round...’
A demoralising start to my day after just a slice of toast and an early start as the old thighs took me around my hotel for last night for 3.5 miles and I arrived in a loop back at the start. So much for getting away early. Only 119 miles to go and already behind Goat, Bishop and DC…
DC (Andrew Hynard), where do I start?
Every day has been quite noteworthy for something. Where do I start? With my fifth puncture in the car park before we left today. Another stunning day weatherwise, unlike our navigating. Long slog to the Severn Bridge, quite something looking over the edge to the rapids below.
The Bishop had an argument with a pile of loose gravel and came off second best.
Time was running away from us and to cut a long story short, we did not get to our hotel until 8.30pm.
We met some great people. At the Motto Prince's Motto pub in Bewlay I enjoyed the best pint of 6X ever. Lovely crew there (photo above).
Giuseppe (waiter in Prezzo, Bridgwater):
'Err, ow do I say dis...my grandmother (in Florence) used to say...err, der is an ocean of difference between saying err something and errr doing de something, do you know what I am saying?'
In response to Guiseppe inviting punters to support the cause, Greg Vincent very kindly gave us a cash donation. Thanks Greg, and good luck if you do End to End.
Goat (Peter Taylor): A Hellish Day
The Wye Valley is a good question. Missed a few turns. We are reeling them in. The 18 day crew must feel like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Acton Bridge to Kingsland 99 miles
What a difference a day makes! After a lie in - breakfast wasn't served until 8am, we awoke to bright blue sky, negligible wind and a short hop. Shorter for some than others as Goat, eager to get to our destination near Leominster to rendezvous with Nanny Goat and the two Kid Goats who were paying him a compassionate visit, had plotted a more direct route. Gunner liked the sound of that so the two of them took to the A roads, whilst H&U dutifully followed - or at least tried to - the Bike Adventures scenic and more rural route.
Yesterday's exertions had taken their toll, and legs were weary and slow to get going. But we stuck at it, and decided to take an early lunch at The Red Lion, Bomere Heath, just north of Shrewsbury. The delightful Christy showed us where to leave the bikes and explained that whilst the RL didn't serve food we were more than welcome to get a takeaway from the chippy next door. Explaining that we were doing the JOGLE Christy insisted that we have our drinks on the house, as the landlord always offers them on the basis of the cyclists raising money for charity - so many thanks to Christy, and the RL.
Fortified by steak and kidney pie with chips we struck out and enjoyed really magnificent countryside - must come back. Rolling hills, meadows, a huge variety of trees and newly born calves in the fields. We had to get over a range of hills known as The Long Mynd, and that involved a steep, steep climb reaching a height of 536 metres. The views made it all worthwhile. Then a spot of site seeing - Hopton Castle where a nice lad from Brighton took this shot (above) of Team H&U.
The last 10 miles to Kingsland were tackled at pace, with a steady 22-24 mph being maintained as we drafted each other. Arriving at 6.15pm we found a very contented Peter on a garden bench surrounded by his delightful family. He'd been there for 3 hours already and Gunner for 90 minutes or so. The team is so impressed by Ant preceding H&U that they are contemplating a new nickname - MUG (Mid Upper Gunner) as he has clearly been promoted from Tail Gunner in finishing order.
This evening's therapist was Ged (pronounced Jed) a wonderfully chatty Welshman, proudly wearing his Welsh rugby jersey. He'd done his prep, read the www.propjog.com web-site and is mightily impressed by the presence of the former British Lion, Rodger being on tour with us. Ged is not a retiring type of fellow and told me that he is current UK or World Record Holder of the number of press-up, sit-ups and parallel bar dips in a set time. It was a pleasure to meet and listen to him. A trio of the team now have a rather attractive aroma of lime oil on their legs and backs.
Long may the weather hold!