19 August 2008

Again?!?!?


We finished a week ago today & I have had time to reflect on what, if anything I would do different for next year?? (Having second thoughts about this now!)

I certainly wouldn't intended to cycle nearly 100 miles everyday.  We were getting up early having breakfast & then on the road for the best part of 10 hours a day.  We then got to our hotel, showered, dinner & then bed.  Saw nothing really of the country as you have to stare about 2 ft in front of your wheel as the side of A roads are in such poor condition.   One of the worst things about the ride is that constant eating.   We stopped every hour & ate flap-jacks or soreen sandwiches.  Both of which I will never eat again!!

A big bonus were premier-inns where we stayed most nights.  Excellent value for money & the staff couldn't have been more friendly or helpful.  They let us use their washing machines.  We had to drive up to 50 miles when we finished cycling some days.  I wouldn't recommend this & try & stay near where you stop or even better cycle to the hotel every night

I have been asked many times how hard was it.  If you take Devon & Cornwall out of the ride, it is relatively easy (?) or should I say flat.  I can't begin to describe how difficult the first 2 days were. To show you some comparison. We cycled 92 miles on the first day & according to my heart rate computer I burnt over 10,000 calories.  Between Bristol & Worcester we cycled 96 miles & as it was flat I only used 4,000 calories.  This should show how difficult the hills are!!

Scotland was OK, we climbed for nearly 30 miles to Glencoe, but the slope was so gradual that I was in top gear most the way up.  The kick in the tail was the last day into John O'Groats where there are 2 real savage climbs.  The new piece of road out of Helmsdale (I think it's called) was two & a half miles of hell, but you then descend for the same distance followed by a really step descent (I reached 45 mph - A motorcycle came next to me & showed me!) & then another quarter of a mile ascent - killer.  It was then plain sailing into John O'Groats.  

We only had 1 puncture between the 3 of us & that was Alan on the last day.  We did all have self sealing inner-tubes & Alan had a couple of others but they self sealed.  The last day he had to change his inner-tube.  Nikki started on her hi-bred bike, but after 4 days changed to my spare road bike, & found it a lot easier.  I certainly would recommend a road bike if you are doing this supported by a back up vehicle.  If you are unsupported & carrying all your own stuff then a hi-bred might be better??  I had a mechanical failure of my front de-railer, but stopped at a cycle shop in Carlisle & got it repaired.  Had to change my brake pads & fortunately I took some spare ones with me.  Other than that the bikes went well & it wasn't too demanding on them.  Alan did have to buy a new saddle in Bristol as his other one became unbearable.  Mine dear reader was fine, I suppose I had more padding than Alan??

Really annoying fact.  I only lost 4 lbs in weight...........bugger!

The important thing is we have raised a considerable amount of money with your help for some worthy charities.............thank you for your support




15 August 2008

The Route we took


This is the route we took & has been downloaded from Alan's SATNAV.



Day 1


Day 2




Day 3



Day 4



Day 5



Day 6



Day 7


Day 8



Day 9



Day 10 - Yippee!

14 August 2008

It's over - thank god!




I am now finally home & the washing machine is now gently humming away in the back ground, I'm not sure if I will ever feel clean again??

All in all it was an enjoyable 10 days, hard work but enjoyable.  You really went through a range of emotions, from adulation to despair.  Although we were together on the road, you never really chatted to each other so for 10 days you could explore the inner most reaches of your minds as you stared about 2 foot in-front of you wheel.  It's amazing what crap you think about?!?!?

I certainly remembered 2 dear friends who I have lost; Pc Tony Haines who died back in 2001 in a POLACC & my old mate Pc Chris Jefford who died of a brain tumor 3 years ago.  Both sadly missed, but one of the reasons that I wanted to support COPS.  Also my dear friend Ann McCabe who's husband Jerry was murdered by the IRA in 1996 in County Limerick. She is a real inspirational woman & excellent company to be with.  As you may or may not know I have dual nationality being both English & Irish which is why I also wanted to support the Garda & RUC widows & Orphans.  We have a saying in the police with reference to where you work, you deal with the same shit, it's only different street names.  You can say the same for London, Belfast or Dublin!

Alan will be downloading his SATNAV & I shall post our exact route when he has done this in the next few days.



The start at Lands End



Outside the LeJOG Club!



Front brake pads day 1!!



A pit stop somewhere near Gloucester



I should have used some suntan lotion? (Can you spot where my helmet was?)



Can you guess where we are entering!!



Glencoe from a dry bottom!




We went over some high roads!



I understand that Lance Armstrong was grateful I never became a professional rider!



Our hotel room


Thank god the finish (Nikki & Alan both finished about an hour before me & that's why they look a lot fresher)



The journey home.  Total milage for the car was 2723 miles, with the bikes on the roof we weren't even getting 30 miles to the gallon.



13 August 2008

Never again - until next year

Dear all
We are now halfway home, staying with my inlaws in Yorkshire. We finished yesterday around 6pm & it was one of the few days it didn't rain. However for nearly the whole day we were cycling into a strong headwind, which was really hard work.

Important thing is we finished & I am already looking to do it again next year & strangley enough, with the cold, constant rain & sheer miserary of it I actually enjoyed it

I know I must be strange? I shall add photo's etc tomorrow when I get home

11 August 2008

2 days & 186 miles left


We climbed for nearly 30 miles today across the Highlands of Scotland to Fort William, however apart from 2 brutal short climbs it was OK, not sure if our legs are getting used to cycling now??

It was a hard day, the rain was almost constant & we came down a decline at about 30 mph & we had driving hailstones in our faces, it was awful, like being stung by hundreds of wasps.   

Only 2 days & 186 miles left now.  I shall look forward to not having to cycle for a few days.  

We are about to leave for Inverness & the rain is again pouring down outside.  I guess it will be another very wet & cold day.......bugger!

9 August 2008

Glasgow and Rangers are playing at home

Dear all

Rangers were playing at home today in their first day of the SPL.  We made Glasgow today & are now heading into the Highlands tomorrow for our (hopefully) last really hard day.  I thought the crowds were there for us??!?!?

Another plus point Christine Fulton (President of Care of Police Survivors) came & met us at the hotel to wish us luck.  She has just been awarded an MBE for all her work in setting COPS up... well done Christine!

The weather was awful again today & it poured down nearly all day, my shoes may never be dry again, hopefully tomorrow will be dryer.

I'm sorry about the lack of pictures, but as you can expect electrical goods & water do not mix, I have taken a few with my iphone & will publish these when I get home

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow & I know that I will suffer.  However when I think if people like Jill Haines, Maddie Jefford or Anne McCabe who all lost their police husbands, it makes it all worth while.



8 August 2008

Scotland at last!!

Hi all

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I too tired & internet connections are a bit hit & miss.

We are now in Carlisle tonight having been to Dumfries to finish for the day. The weather has been quite good for the past 2 days, which was a relief as we got soaked on our first 4 days. However the rain is destined to return tomorrow & stay with us for the rest of the ride.  This makes it even worse.

On a positive note my clothes are getting lose on me, which means I must be losing some weight, the down side is my bottom.  It feels like I have sat on something unpleasant & I know we are all in the same boat as we have discussed this at length!

I shall be adding the pictures when I get home & also a download from Alans' SATNAV showing our exact route.

We are all OK, had to take my bike into a local shop today as I snapped my front gear changer & only had the 10 rear gears for about 25 miles.

One funny note is I forgot to put sun-cream on my head & yesterday when it was sunny I sunburnt my head through my cycle helmet & my head is now striped.

Off to the bar for a kaliber, shandy top with lime!!

5 August 2008

The rain in Spain


They say the rain Spain stays mainly in the plain, I can say without fear of any contradiction that the rain also is in Somerset, Gloucester & Worcester.  It has poured down all day & we got soaked.

On a positive note leaving the step hills of Devon & Cornwall behind us, we covered 96 miles at an average speed of 14.4 mph.  It was great not to see any hills!

We have just go to the hotel (7pm) in Worcester, in fact this is the second time we have been to the hotel as we got here just after 4pm & went & did another 20 miles to keep the legs moving. Off to have a well deserved pint & a steak meal

4 August 2008

Day 2, 200 miles

Dear all

This will have to be a short entry with no pictures as I'm so tired & the connection is crap!

We are now in Bristol & well on the way, if anyone says to you that Cornwall & Devon are nice parts of the world, with my permission shot them on the spot.  We have been over some horrendous climbs that just go on for ever.  We did one that was 15 miles long & kept getting steeper & steeper.  I've now thrown my polka-dot jersey away as I don't think I'll need that anymore!!  Cornwall & Devon was just climb, descend & climb again.  I managed to burn out a set of brake pads with all the descending

On the first day I burnt over 10,000 calories & we climbed for about 6500 feet.

My advice to anyone contemplating this is DON'T DO IT!!!

Off to bed more to follow in the week


2 August 2008

Nervous?

Dear all

I'm not sure if it's nerves or that I just can't sleep, but today is the day we leave to drive to Cornwall.  I got up at 4am not that I needed too, my mind was racing & I didn't want to wake Carol up.

I am meeting a friend from work tonight who is staying in Falmouth with his parents (small world) & my old mate Neal who now lives in Somerset is coming down to the start on Sunday to cheer us on.

I just want to get going now & stop all the worrying about what can go wrong. I know we all feel the same as we have been chatting about it & I'm sure when we have a few miles into our legs we will all feel a lot more relaxed about the enormity of it all.

The weather doesn't look that kind for the first few days with rain forecast. However the temperature is still relatively warm, so I am in a real quandary what to wear.  I have a waterproof cycling jacket, but I will get really warm wearing it. I am contemplating just getting wet??  Hopefully the rain will keep down the pollen particles as in the past few months I have developed hay fever & I have been known to turn into a snot goblin, which isn't necessarily a pretty sight!

Off to go & pick Alan up now, whilst Carol & Nikki are both asleep