LEJOG Day 3
I wake up early to the sound of snoring but also to the sound of rain battering the window. Not a good start. I try for a while to get back to sleep but it’s not happening, and shortly my room mates Big J and David are also awake.
The legs were definitely not as fresh as they have been the previous couple of days and the rain certainly didnt set the heart a flutter. The plan was to get the bags in the van before 7 and then breakfast. 7 comes and there is some activity but maybe not quite the level expected. Some of the bags are loaded in but it’s a difficult job as you dont want to get soaked before you even start. So it’s a case of darting in and out of the hotel and chucking stuff in.
I wander into breakfast with my porridge pot and only Ian is there with his cornflakes and we have a chat about the day ahead. Slowly everyone wanders in and the full compliment is there. Up until now no cooked breakfast is available but the hotel have kindly changed their weekend breakfast time to accommodate us and is would be rude not to take the hospitality. The popular option seems to be beans on toast, still erring on the side of health. Although this choice has it’s drawbacks..
The enthusiasm levels are high but no one really like to start cycling when it’s wet, it’s doesn’t seems as bad when you are already going but with 100 miles to get through the call goes up to get moving.
First thing to do, get the wet weather gear on. Jackets, hats and overshoes to keep the feet dry. David who in his own words ‘can make anything’ is put to the test as he has forgotten his overshoes and decides to build some out of bin bags and sellotape. Mmmm time will tell if they will take off in the shops.
Finally, the van is packed. There is no real system, more dog eat dog to obtain the best space for accessing your stuff when you need it. However, no matter how carefully you put something in, somebody is likely to chuck it to the bag and steal your prime spot.
At about 0830 we eventually roll out of the hotel and onto the road heading toward and through Bristol. Unfortunately, the biggest hill of the day comes in the first 5 miles. Not big by Alpine standards, but big enough to push my heart rate way up and give my leg a workout. Is this an omen for the day ahead or just not enough of a warm up?
The miles start to roll by and we head into Bristol, it’s quiet but the lights are a pain. It’s stop/start and you are constantly clicking in and out of your shoes. One of my shoes has a problem clipping in, and it’s always a job to get good start at the lights without holding up the cars. Moving through Bristol we hit our first puncture of the holiday, David back tyre instantly deflating. The team are quickly on the job though with Gio and Sammy leading the way. Not exactly a Formula 1 change but pretty good one the less. We don’t even have to blow the tyre up, instead we use a Co2 canister which takes all of 2 seconds. Handy!
Off we go again, through Bristol with Mark trying to get some action shots.
Soon though we leave Bristol but we are not in the idyllic countryside but on a major road with the rain still persisting it down but we are making progress. 25 miles in and the support van makes it’s first appearance of the day. It’s a welcome sight but there is a cloud on the horizon. The cakes kindly made by Mrs Sammy are running low and wont last the day, one of the highlights of the trip so far will be no more. There was almost an argument the previous day over someone slipping an extra slice into the back pocket.
Unfortunately, as soon we leave the support van, we get another puncture, Mark this time. Not good. 27 miles in and it’s nearly 11:00. Our next arranged stop is Chicester 25 miles in. Time to get the heads down.
To get us moving along, we resort to a long line of 7, each taking a shot of 0,5 miles at the front taking the wind before going to the back of the line and awaiting their next spell. The time passes quickly with this method and for me it’s all about calculating how many spells at the front before Chichester. 7 spells does not seem to be a large number of goes on the front so makes it my mind more manageable. Not sure how the others cope but for me breaking things into sections seems to lessen the trepidation of a long journey. We hit Chichester and as per usual get lost within the city streets and have to dig out all our various technological devices to find the right route..
It’s nearly 12:30 in Chichester but we decide to plough on a bit longer and make the afternoon shorter. We have sent the van on to scout out somewhere for lunch and about another 10 miles on we spot them parked beside a nice country pub.
The pub is nice but whether it’s our appearance or the numbers but we are shunted into a marquee in the back, which looks as if a wedding had been held their the previous night. But we are happy, lots of space to move around. The food on offer today is a carvery which is remarkable value at only £5.95 and everyone gets wired in piling plates high with the serve your own Dauphinoise potatoes and veggies. All very nice but it’s going to be hard to get going again.
Eventually we do get going, and fall into the same pattern as before. Ticking of the miles, the roads getting quieter as we head into the country, the pace is good but not crazy fast and we soon meet up with the support van for our afternoon check in. The final pieces of home made cake are handed out and we wonder how we will survive. Gio then discovers a puncture just as we are about to leave and this sets us back. The original plan was to swap out wheels if this happened but the spare wheel is somewhere in the back of the van so we decide just to fix it.
We roll out again for the final 20 miles and it’s a gently uphill most of the way. We roll into Ludlow shortly at 17:00 and through the town to the hotel. We go down a 25% hill which we are going to have to go back up in the morning. Ouch.
100 miles done, spirits still good, no huffs lasting more than 5 minutes. Cant ask for more.
140 miles tomorrow, will we say the same then?