Bridestowe to Lands End
The last day, only 99miles to go and the lads were done.
All four woke up with great excitement, within a few hours the challenge would be complete and they would not have to mount a bike ever again.
Chants of “Easy, Easy, Easy” could be heard as the lads set off from the Hunters Moon guesthouse, the final stretch was going to be anything but.
Cornwall is renowned for big hills and undulating terrain and by the time the lads made it to the first checkpoint they were well aware of how difficult this last day would be.
A quick top up of gels, drinks and bacon sandwiches the lads were about to get on their way once again, when we all started laughing at what Jay had said the previous night, “I don’t mind taking them up the hill”, well he was up the hill plenty of times after.
Checkpoint two, 51miles done and time for lunch in St. Stephen. None of the lads fancied a full Sunday roast, so meal deals from the Co-op sufficed.
The morning session had taken considerably longer than previous days; a tough route and tired legs were kicking in to slow the group down.
Also causing minor delays on the route were horses in the middle of the road as we passed through the village of Minions. Plus sheep started running at Scott on his bike, not ideal when trying to build up a bit of speed downhill.
The third and final checkpoint, the last time the lads would need to stock up on jelly babies, fizzy cola bottles, biscuits and the life-saving gooch cream.
On to the home leg, 22 miles left to go.
Finish line was in sight, the picturesque coastline of Lands End, the end of the journey.
James, Lewis, Scott and Wes celebrated as the crossed the line, full of smiles, ecstatic to be done, another challenge complete.
They were all greeted with champagne and a few cans of lager, much needed and well deserved. After posing for pictures as proof and sharing a team hug the lads could now relax and look back on an incredible achievement.
I cannot applaud these guys enough; to complete such a journey when none were really experienced cyclists (some only started training in January) is tremendous. As mates they kept each other going, sticking together for every mile and pushing themselves further all in aid of the fantastic charity Mencap.
Well done Lads
Shepton Mallet to Bridestowe
The penultimate day, finish line is almost in sight.
Mentally the lads reckon that this is one of the toughest days, if they can make it through this one then they have enough left in them to finish on Sunday (7th September).
Today was all about food. Keeping the boys fuelled and happy was important. Incentives at each checkpoint would pull them up the steep and narrow country roads through the hills of Devonshire.
Breakfast consisted of 6p-11p reduced pastries, which Lewis had raided the Co-op store for the previous night.
We stayed at the Middleton B & B in Shepton Mallet and it didn’t quite feel like you were staying at a guesthouse, rather that you were visiting a distant relative.
An improvement on the bed situation, but Lord Jay was confused by the toilet and summoned Scott to “sort it ouuuut”.
After some serious posing for pictures the four cyclists set off again, cautious of what was ahead but determined and once again they were flying through the miles.
Checkpoint one, hot bacon sandwiches and cups of tea were ready and waiting outside the ‘One Stop Shop’ in Curry Rivel. It was a quick one stop and off they went again.
Checkpoint two, Devonshire cream tea’s, plus beef sandwiches and jacket potatoes helped perk up the mood considerably in the lovely village of Broadhembury.
By lunch time the sun was really starting to break out, which helped the viewing of picturesque villages on the ride. (Ask the lads to see their t –shirt tans upon their return).
Checkpoint three, freshly made Devon pies would stock the lads up for the final leg of the day. (Though best not to mention legs as all the lads are aching that much they have asked for new ones).
Lewis, James, Wes and Scott all arrived in to Bridestow around 5:30pm and were all in a really good mood, they enjoyed the challenge and are going from strength to strength.
One more day of cycling and the lads will be done, Lands End is in sight.
P.S it is Saturday night, spare a thought for the lads and the charity Mencap they are doing this for. If possible can you do without one drink and donate the money to their page….. If it’s price of a pint in Lewis’ bar that would be £4.20 please (I know, shocking)
Leominster to Shepton Mallet
After a hard days cycling, all you want is a nice bit of food, a shower and a comfortable bed to sleep in, especially after 6 days in a row of tough cycling.
Checking in to the YHA Leominster Youth Hostel we all got a bit of a surprise when moving things in to our rooms… we were to stay the night in bunk beds!
As soon as we saw the rooms we all burst out laughing, trying to imagine how on Earth we were going to climb the ladders with aching muscles and even fit in to what looks like a bed made for a 12-year-old.
The rooms themselves were tiny, if you wanted to grab something out of your bag is what like a game of Tetris moving the other objects and your mates.
In such a tired state, this comedy sketch gave everyone a boost and a new story to talk about. Once we were actually in bed it was fine.
Up early again, this time having to make our own breakfast with limited facilities and our own shopping, Lord Day was not amused.
Checkpoint one at Dymock done, checkpoint two at Paganhill done, all by 11:35am, the lads were flying.
Settling for Tesco meal deal sandwiches, the group knew that they had a tougher challenge ahead with the map showing plenty of hills on the second part of the route.
So after a tasty sandwich, the lads applied the gooch cream ready to go to tackle the climb.
At the third and final stops, you could tell that Scott, Wes, Lewis and James were all knackered, the hills were proving difficult opposition and the lads felt like they were constantly going up, but they stuck together and pulled through.
In to the weekend now and only TWO days left to go, please continue to support them and if at all possible please sponsor at:
Lower Whitley to Leominster
We left the ‘Happy Guest Lodge’ in Lower Whitley as happy guests, mainly because we afforded ourselves a lie-in this morning, a whopping extra 30mins in bed and 6am alarm made all the difference.
Following a brief examination of the route plan, off the lads cycled, feeling confident about the day ahead as it was shorter than normal, only 90 miles.
The first stop was located on some country lane cross-roads passed Norbury Meres lake, when the lads arrived they were all smiling and had actually enjoyed the first section, strong pace and no major hills.
Next up was the lunch-time break in Shrewsbury, 50 miles already done by midday.
The meeting place was the Steam Wagon pub, although we were all terrorized by some wasps (attracted to the high-viz lycra) the hot baguettes went down well and as the sun was shining, we were all tempted to stop there for the day and chill out with few pints in the beer garden, but off we went.
Not quite the same landmarks as we passed in Scotland, but the big, expensive country homes of Cheshire and Shropshire made for good viewing. The constant farmyard smell wasn’t too pleasant, that is added with Jay letting rip the whole journey so far.
The third stop in Tinkerlton was in the ‘abandoned’ village hall. The boys are a bit sick of eating the same sweet stuff, so a selection of savoury goods was on offer to set them up for the last stretch.
90 miles done and we arrived in to Leominster YHA Youth Hostel and all burst out laughing when entering our rooms. Tune in tomorrow to find out why……
Shap to Lower Whitley
An evening of ‘Iceland’ food in a local bar with a few ales and a good nights sleep was a good way of refueling the lads all ready for day 5 of John O’Groats to Lands End.
The four cyclists missed out on the full cooked breakfast on a morning and had to settle for tea and toast, whilst Mark (support driver) devoured his an hour later. However the Northerner came to the rescue when he delivered bacon sandwiches to the lads at the first checkpoint, 23 miles away in the middle of a random field.
The level of humour and conversation is starting to decline, the lads giggling at little things, even resorting to communicating with sheep and cows down country roads. Whilst Scott has put one headphone in to listen to some background music and start a cycling sing-a-long.
Lewis is constantly stocking his bike pouch with a selection of sweets from jelly beans to fizzy cola bottles, these are his secret weapon as he powers on through, but has still been nicknamed “Captain Slow” by his fellow cyclists.
Jay took another tumble, this time falling off his bike on a busy road. He is fine, however he did “throw his toys out the pram” and enjoyed a little tantrum in front of the oncoming traffic. Five minutes later head cleared and off he pedalled to catch the rest of the ‘train’.
By ‘train’ I mean the cycling style where the lads all stay in a close line and benefit off the aerodynamics from the leader, I swear they are not just stopping off at stations down the country.
Again please do share this blog and help raise awareness of Mencap.
Also feel free to comment on this post and suggest topics of conversation for the lads to talk about on their next long ride ahead.
Sanquhar to Shap
None of us wanted to leave the Rigg House Bed and Breakfast this morning, not because the lads were dreading the 102 miles ahead, but because we didn’t want to leave the lovely manager Jenny.
Jenny was an absolute superstar, from greeting us all with a hot cup of tea in front of a roaring fire, to getting up earlier than us and making a delicious full Scottish breakfast (same as English but also includes Haggis).
Thanks Jenny, you certainly gave us all a boost and kept the lads going on what is a real trek across country.
Once again the first 25 miles were covered in a decent pace, thanks mainly to a lot of it being downhill. The meeting place was at Dunscore where the sandwich choice of the day was chocolate spread.
Not sure who, but someone mentioned the P word and ofcousrse jinxed Wes as he suffered a punctured tyre twice (second time was only ½ mile away from finish), but like a pro, quickly got it sorted.
Lewis nearly took a tumble in to some bushes on the side of the road but managed to recover his balance. However Jay was not so fortunate, catching his foot on the path, falling backwards and sending his bike forwards, he is fine and managed to laugh it off and carry on.
Lunchtime at Gretna started on a sour note after Lewis had rejected Jays marriage proposal but they made up over a couple of plates of chips and soon enough everyone was smiling as they crossed over the border in to England, all chanting Ennnng-gerrrr-landddd.
Aches and pains are starting to creep in, requests for Deep Heat spray and lip balm were added to the shopping list but the lads are going strong and heading for Shap, one of the highest places in the country.
So please do continue to support them, share this blog and please donate if you can.
Jay, Lewis, Scott, Wes
CrianLarich to Sanquhar
The team are right in to the swing of it, 5:30am start, get breakfast down them and off they go.
98 miles, today was marked as a “Rest Day” if 98 miles can seriously be classed as that?
After Scott had offered lube to everyone (that was to grease the chains) and the lycra was comfortably in place, we waved farewell to the manager of the guesthouse, a real character of a man, proper Scottish, straight talking, full of humour and good craic.
The first 25 miles was a real pleasure, cycling alongside Loch Lomond, appreciating what a wonderful place we were in. The checkpoint at Luss provided a photo opp for the boys, not only of the scenery but one American couple asked for a picture of Wes, fame at last.
Heading towards Glasgow, the lads crossed the River Clyde via a tunnel in which they had to gain access through an intercom system and also passed the Ibrox stadium, home of Rangers FC.
Lunchtime brought a real treat, take out from Pizza Hut, all four faces lit up when they saw the boxes and food was soon devoured.
An added bonus came when Wes visited the opticians to have his eye checked out, not only did he receive really good treatment but the staff member donated £10 to the lads donation page….. cheers for that Vision Express.
Scott, Wes, Jay and Lewis are keeping each other going, please continue to support them and donate to their cause if you can. (Please find a link below)
Culbokie to Crianlarich
A good nights sleep, a half-decent breakfast, a bit of limbering up and the lads were off again.
Fortunately all four felt good and weren’t struggling with the previous days exploits, so on for round two, the longest individual day of the trip.
With the added miles came the added checkpoints, the lads needing to constantly rebuild their energy through Haribo sweets plus peanut butter and jam sandwiches, especially after conquering an almighty climb through the Highlands.
The journey took in some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks including Loch Ness, Fort William and Ben Nevis. All four agreed that the magnificent scenery is certainly helping them take their mind off tired legs and the views at the top were always worth the incline.
Lewis is dealing with a minor muscle strain in his right leg, whilst Wes is worried about having to wear an eye patch and adopting a pirates nickname as his eye is slightly infected.
Other than that all good.
P.S Jay has been branded with the name “Downhill Day” as he always insists on leading the pack down the hill, never up it!