Friday, 31 May 2013

Day 5 Lockerbie to Kendall

We had the best night’s sleep of the trip so far at the Ravenshill Hotel in Lockerbie, probably something to do with the gargantuan dinner’s we’d all eaten last night.  It has to be said that the breakfast lived up to expectations as well.  Happy Days.  A short one today, only 75 miles to bank, and by 9am most us were on the road after the usual  45 minutes of general faffing, drink making, bike cleaning and chamois application.

We left Lockerbie and carried on the B7078 southbound, through Ecclefechan (try saying that with a few drinks inside you..) and on to Gretna Green and the English Border, where the road quality improved.

From Gretna we made our way down towards Carlisle and filtered through the traffic jams and out the other side heading towards Penrith where David and Tommy  Snr enjoyed the 22 degree temperatures and caught some rays over a cafĂ© lunch.  The A Team + Froomey and Wiggo had a pub lunch in the Lowthern Arms and enjoyed a refreshing blast of cold air when they let us store the bikes in the cellar.
The afternoon session was always going to be tough, we had Shap to climb and a few dreams were shattered when we climbed up and through to Shap Village only to be faced with the actual peak some miles ahead, and further climbing required – what a climb, but oh what a downhill on the other side.  Waltdog, CJ and Hamish hitting over 42mph on the 10% decline, it was epic.

Kendal looked gorgeous as we cycled through it, lots of folks enjoying the sunshine on the river banks and in the beer gardens, and as usual the Travel Lodge that we’d booked was on the far side of town so we bashed out the last three miles down the  busy A591 dual carriageway where we had the nice bonus of Sammy’s folks waiting to cheers us over the finish line!
Job done.  Time for baths, beers, dinner and bed.  Night all.



Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day 4 - Dumbarton to Lockerbie

Another 95 miler today, we kicked off with a Dumbarton Travlelodge breakfeast box special, porridge, cornflakes, oj, pain au chocolate and a muffin - not too bad, but clearly the lads were missing the full scottish, and this must have had some effect. 

Tom and Sammy rode off into the Glasgow rush hour singing "You can stick your f***ing Garmin up your a***" with no maps, no navigation and only a tip from a taxi driver to see them straight through the centre of Scotlands busiest city, via Govan, no stops for them nor any pictures taken for fear of getting mugged, although looking at the size of our two lads we wondered who'd be mugging who.

The rest of us, spread out a bit, and took a more sensible route over the Ersikine Bridge on the A726, past Glasgow Airport, then climbing up through Paisley, and East Kilbride, and then shooting down hill to Strathhaven.  It was on that down hill that Andy, CJ and Hamish were flagged down by a van driver who insisted on inviting us into his bookmakers shop for a coffee, naturally we accepted. 

The driver turned out to be ex pro cyclist and cycling fanatic Norrie Drummond , not only did he serve some great coffee's he also gave us a history lesson on cycling and racing and shared some stories of his own and from his famous friends including Wiggo, Eddy Mercx, Gino Barteli, Sean Kelly and David Millar - we were in great company!  Caffeine on baord, we batted on happy.

The quality of the road surfaces was mixed, ranging from downright shockingly boneshaking to super quality carpert.  We certinaly took more than our fair share of the rough today.

Lunch stop: Lesmahagow and Colin's van filled to the brim the pork pies, m&s sandwiches and monster munch, perfect! 

Bellies full we cycled 30 or so miles on down to Moffat, what a lovely village, where we enjoyed tea's, coffee's and ham and cheese toasties with Colin in the Black Bull.  David and Big Tommy arrived a few minutes later and ordered quite possibly the largest hummingbird cake ever seen.

The final 15 miles were wind assisted and downhill towards Lockerbie, and boy did we enjoy it.  The A Team (sponsored by Garmin) absolulty gunned it, heads down, in formation and balls to the wall, they arrived an hour up on Froomey and Wiggo & David and Tommy. It was only fitting to pay our respects at the garden of remembrance where the names and nationalities of all the Lockerbie victims along with individual funeral stones and memorials, a humbling and peacefull place.

The final stop was the RavensHill Hotel, with the sun still shining we relaxed with a drink in the beer garden, before enjoying a cracking dinner, many of the lads doubling up on smoked salmon starters. 10 out of 10 to the chef.

All in all, job done, 95 miles banked, good night and god bless.

Tip of the Day: Norrie Drummond, ride through the bonk and you'll lose a stone in weight. 

Tip of the Day#2: Norrie Drummond: Best post ride recovery meal, Smolked Salmon.

Comment of the day: Sammy D, that B7076 was like riding 50 miles across Brighton Beach, if I ever see that combination of numbers again I'm going to kill somebody.

Quote of day: Andy Walton to Lady we met at Moffat petrol station who was entering a triathlon the next week and was asking about a fitting for biclyle pump, Andy's respone "Do you need a pump now?"

Lack of investment road surfaces: Alex Salmond. 








Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Day 3 - Fort William to Dumbarton

Before we get started with the blog for today we thinks we're at a suitable point in the trip to remind ourselves about what we’re doing and who were doing it for. Along the way we’ve got chatting to many friendly faces and described who Group B Strep Support are, what they are doing and we are so keen to help. 

In addition, 3 days in we are all missing our loved ones and would like to thank them for the sacrifices they’ve made letting us boys go away on this 10 day adventure – we love you all very much, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Day 3

We had 96 miles to bank today, 30 up hill, 50 down hill  - Ben Nevis and Glen Coe were in our sights and weather wise we struck gold today, blue skies and temperatures in the high teens, we felt fortunate as we set out from Fort William. The scenery on our way down was breath taking, especially over the bridge towards the Glenn Coe village and Loch Leven was just stunning. As we’d expected we’ve all found our natural groups, being: Tom and Sammy.  David and Big Tommy.  And Andy, Hamish and Craig.

We started the slow climb up from Loch Levan onto the Glen Coe Pass, it was baking hot and most of the group shed a few layers and got into their rhythm spinning the old pedals up the incline. We passed a Piper in the Hills, queue Waltdog and CJ pulling over for pictures.  It’s a long old climb and lads put in some big efforts to hit the peak. 

On the way down we were stopped in a big tail back caused by an overturned caravan wedging itself across both lanes, thankfully nobody was hurt.  We picked up the bikes and took a few steps cross country to round the accident and started our decent, a real blast and given there was no traffic behind us we were able to take up the whole road – what a buzz nudging 35-40mph as 10 miles passed in a flash, and barring a couple of small climbs it was plain sailing, and lots of whooping and hollering from the group!

As we skirted Loch Lomond Andy and Craig got drenched from head to toe by a car speeding through a deep puddle – literally soaked, shirts, shoes, faces the lot!  The rest of the groups ploughed on down the rough and potholed A82 all the way through Luss and into Dumbarton. 

After the finish line we quenched our thirst with some pints in a beer garden, dropped the bags at Travel Lodge then headed to the Gledoch House Hotel for a bit of pampering and for a dip in the pool.  We finished the night with Rib Eye Steaks and a few glasses of red wine, Steven the Manager of the Gledoch very kindly gave as the dinners half price given we were riding so far, and for charity. 

Tip of the day: A Scottish breakfast doesn’t include eggs.

Yellow Jersey: Wiggo and Froome Dog (even with the 15 minute head start)

Dismount of the Day: Hamish, full cleats in body slam in the Car Park at Lodge on the Loch.

Highest Number of Pictures Taken: Andy and Craig, well it’s for the blog isn’t it!

Downhill Animal: Sammy didn’t even need to pedal, spread the shoulders puffed the chest, 20 stone and the laws of physics were on his side.

Best Precision Distance Estimator: Colin Hudson, 4 miles, read 10 miles!

Longest wait in a Traffic Jam: Colin Hudson, 2.5 hours in a 15 mile jam on Glenn Coe,

 due to the caravan smash.