With thirty two rides under my belt in forty days (see, I do take rest days), only one was of any significant length (28 miles – 2h:30m).
Yesterday looked to be a lovely sunny day albeit a windy one so I finally left the programming work for the afternoon and got my kit together.
Whilst the End to End is a long way off and the C2C won’t be until next Spring, I’ve been itching to find out what a tough test feels like. A day of six or more hours in the saddle seems like potential torture right now, even with a gel saddle cover, but my inner challenger voice kept pecking at me to escape the comfort zone. Now I can still remember the first day out on the new bike when ten miles and one hour left me feeling I’d cycled the whole of the Tour of Britain, but I figured that I needed to revisit the sensation (preferably not quite so close to collapse or even imminent death).
Finding out what a nominal half day average feels like was the order of the day and I’d been looking at a tempting circular route from home for a couple of weeks.
It starts at my back door, one mile down to the village and another mile along to The Fat Lamb (that’s a pub not an animal ready for culling).
Left takes you past the tarn to the ‘Tommy Road’ with beautiful views over the fells as it finally drops down to Pendragon Castle.
From there a right takes you through Outhgill slowly rising out of the valley all the way to Garsdale Head which is about one third of the route done. Unfortunately there was a 17 knot headwind which coupled with the ascent, meant that I was wishing it was more like two thirds done.
The post route data upload reveals that there’s a tiny segment there known as ‘Cock End’ (I’ve put a circle around the … location.
Having downed my energy gel and a fair amount of fluid I was tempted to rest at the Moorcock Inn (oh you see where the name comes from now) but I can tell you from personal experience that if ever you want to see a website that is the exact opposite to the reality, make a google search for “moorcock inn garsdale head” (other search engines are available). The site must be describing another Moorcock Inn in a parallel universe.
Garsdale to Sedbergh is lovely (not too many hills) but I rashly chose to take a farm road route which involved some very heavy ascent and three gates to manipulate. I was glad to be back on the main road and thankfully the traffic was relatively light. I managed 33.8mph on a mild descent but pedalling hard and with a tail wind. Any faster and I might have needed my aviation gear.
And so to the last leg from Sedbergh which I have cycled many time now, so I knew it would be uphill pretty much all the way. In fact there’s about 1000 feet of climb back to my house and I was beginning to feel somewhat jiggered. I was glad to have stashed three litres of mixed drinks (vodka, gin, wine) as I needed them. A quick Clif Mocha Shot and a cocktail of lime juice, orange juice and lemon barley water and I felt well enough to hold off on calling in the emergency services (Lydia is not a first responder for nothing – note to wife: get that certification back in place).
So 34 miles in 3 hours 10 minutes cycling counts for me as one stage of the Coast To Coast or half a day’s leg on the Land’s End to John O’Groats route (depending on the number of days in total).
At least I got to the end of the day with a sense of achievement knowing that I have reached another milestone before the end of the season rears up.
Since it’s chucking it down right now I think I’ll go out in the car and call it a rest day.