Saddle Sore – Reviews, Rides & Rablings – Cycling Blog

Category - Adventures

Day 7: LEJOG Moffat to Scone

I couldn’t force myself up at 04:30 and ended up leaving at 6ish. A crap breakfast and it showed in my early effort, but by 11 the sun was out, I’d had some food and I was speeding along again.

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Their was a load of roadkill today (mainly rabbits but 1 mole, since when do you get roadkill moles?) and the temperature made it smell like when you forget you own a hamster, then you remember and it’s in a slightly more gelatinous state than is healthy. As well as dead stuff I also saw a live Red squirrel and a black rabbit.

I’m not sure Scotland has ever been so hot; 25 degrees tomorrow.

The knee is pretty good, my muscles have given up hurting so it looks like it’s just a matter of making sure I have enough energy now.

Typically, the nearest pub is ages away and up hill so I’ve had some food delivered: the only place that delivers was an Indian, I didn’t want to risk a curry so now I’m dining on 1 beef burger and chips and 1 chicken burger and chips – vile.

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No good place names on the ride today, though I noticed Cocklands and Devil’s Beef Tub on the map.

Tomorrow looks like it includes 55 miles of near constant climbing :-(. Calling at Perth, Pitlochry, Newtonmore and Aviemore. This day terminates at Aviemore.

Only 3 cycling days left.

Day 6: LEJOG Kendal to Moffat

Up and out by 05:10. Almost as soon as you leave Kendal you have the climb the 1400ft Scap Fells which wasn’t a problem surprisingly – I kept waiting for them to start and before I knew it I was in Penrith.

I was flying along like I had nothing in my panniers and reached Carlisle in no time at all so I stopped to have a drink and some food. I also checked my phone and found a text message from the B&B saying I’d left my sleeping bag and half my clothes there – excellent! A quick Google and I’m at ‘Free Time’ with a new bag and a lighter wallet. They only had one small/light bag, it was down and not, shall we say, budget like mine.

Cross the River Esk’s estuary and you reach Gretna and therefore Scotland. The first person I saw was actually carrying a bottle of Irn Bru, I don’t know why people conform to these national stereotypes. Any way I went to the café and got some tea and cucumber sandwiches and sat in the park. I paused Strava on my phone so my average speed wouldn’t be affected too much by my break and to save battery power.

From Gretna there were no stops and it was going fine, though my bum was suffering a fair bit. Knee not 100% but not prohibitive.

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I got to Moffat at about 15:15 thanks to my early start which I’ll hopefully do again tomorrow.

Turns out I didn’t restart Strava after at Gretna so I don’t have the last part of the journey saved which really annoyed me, even though it doesn’t really matter.

Tomorrow is my longest day in terms of mileage and the elevation isn’t good either. I sometimes wish I didn’t have this information.

Rest Day 1: LEJOG Kendal

I might have been a bit harsh on Kendal last night. It’s not so weird in the light of day. It still has its fair share of weirdos – you can’t look anywhere without seeing a wonky eye, limp or Special Brew drinker. Apologies to those with wonky eyes, limps and drinkers of Special Brew – help is out there.

After phoning around (and giving the Thai Angels a miss) I was able to find a place for a massage. I can’t say I feel any better for it and I had to endure having a man rub uncomfortably close to my testicles.

The massage meant I couldn’t visit Windermere on the bus as I thought I might. I settled for a walk around the town.

Everything being well, tomorrow should see me pass into Scotland through Gretna.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a hot day so I’m hoping to get up at 04:00 and on the road by 05:00 to escape most of the heat and be lunching by noon.

I’m lead to believe the next 5 days will be nearly as hard as the first 3, so I’m hoping the previous 5 day’s exercise, coupled with the rest day will have given my fitness a boost.
Destination Moffat (North of Carlisle).

Day 5: LEJOG Delamere to Kendal

Headed off at 07:30ish for Warrington and breakfast. Porridge, toasted teacake, coffee and smoothie at a coffee shop. They had wifi and asked for the key – ‘wheel of coffee’, I typed it in but it didn’t work then I realised I hadn’t taken into account the local accent – ‘we love coffee’ did work. Just as I finished breakfast the alarms of every shop in the centre started, plus what sounded like an air raid siren – I didn’t stick around to find out what was up. I did notice the lardy employees coming out with their lunches though. Is Warrington still there? Did it blow up?

I bypassed Wigan (it looked horrible) and carried on to Preston, found a smoothie van in the square. Smoothies are the way to go. They are a friendly bunch in Preston.

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Today’s more major roads weren’t conducive to bladder comfort; normally I can find a friendly bush but not so on these roads and the North don’t seem to like public toilets.

I over took that women from yesterday again somehow, I spared her the wind this time. I think she’s American or Canadian so I try not to let her talk to me.

After about 60 miles my knee played up again (it had been niggling the whole time) so at Lancaster I changed my route to follow the flat canal path. My knee was fine and it was probably the only time so far I have enjoyed the cycle. I had to come off the path and back on the A6 at Carnforth – the pain started again.

Now at Kendal and it feels a bit weird, a bit like the village in Hot Fuzz.

I’m in a B&B tonight which I apparently booked for the wrong night but was sorted by Woman of Steel, Charly.

Day 4: LEJOG Tarrington to Delamere

Crows woke me at 05:30 and I got up and away 06:30.

Felt like I wouldn’t finish the day but soon started to power through the miles.

I pretty much made up the route today because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the previous days it’s that the routes I’ve planned are crap. A49 all the way.

6 miles from Whitchurch my knee played up, I doused it with Ibulieve and downed 2 paracetamol and ibuprofen, then rested but the pain continued. I genuinely thought about getting the train to Kendal but I cycled 1 legged to Whitchurch. I got a coffee and sat down for a bit when some cyclists suggested some Voltarol. Applied and rested some more I was able to carry on but it still hurts now.

Tomorrow is, on paper, my easiest day so let’s hope it turns out that way in practice. My destination is Kendal and I have a rest day.

I over took my third cyclist today; a lady doing LEJOG and stopping for the night in Whitchurch. I think I might have passed wind when she was behind me – sorry.

Still no Poohill today but there was Marbury cum Quoisley.

Day 3: LEJOG Glastonbury to Tarrington

Up at 06:30, breakfast provided by Baghead – struggled to force it down, not because it was horrible but because I have no appetite and feel sick all the time.

Chew Valley Lake

Chew Valley Lake

It was the morning from hell: having to climb up to, and out of the Choo Valley. It was very unpleasant but after there wasn’t much climbing to talk of (it’s all relative of course).

Looking South over the Chew Valley

Looking South over the Chew Valley

The early hills took it out of me and by Bristol I was almost heaving, with a headache and it had started to rain.

In Gloucester I found a place to get a smoothie, I was entertained by the local nutcase (the equivalent to the dancing man of North End) – a fat dirty Mexican looking man with trousers round his hips with a brown thong (I think they were originally white Y fronts), he also had an immaculate French plat. When I took my glass back the owner of the shop gave me a slice of banana cake for ‘wherever I’m going’.

I thought I saw a place called Poohill but it turned out it was Poolhill – oh well there’s always tomorrow. I did go through a place called Trumpet so it’s not all bad.

Day 2: LEJOG Bridgerule to Glastonbury

Late start at 07:30 in the hope of getting breakfast in Holsworthy (30 mins away), but nothing opened until 08:30 so I wasted 30 mins.

Everything was ok until about 25 miles in when for some reason I started to flag; it was hard work until Taunton when the roads became more sensible and I was flying along at up to 20mph.

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In Chulmleigh there was an old man who blew raspberries at all the passers by.

Other highlights include:
– moving 2 fledgling birds from the road into a bush.
– a dog chased me and bit my pannier.
– I kicked a dog in the head.

I had lunch at a pub in Exebridge, the pub garden backed onto the river Exe. There was a chap there fishing who caught 15 trout in the time it took me to eat a lasagne.

Tomorrow is the shortest of the trip at 80ish miles but the hills look nasty.

My bum is starting to complain.