Today started with us meeting Greg, our Twitter friend who we tried without success to meet up with yesterday. It was only a fleeting visit, with him meeting us at our hotel to say hello before setting out on a ride with Bridgwater cycling club. He warned us that today would probably be the toughest as we adjusted to the constant pressure of approx 100 miles a day. Low and behold, he was right.
The ride actually got off to a good start. It was fairly flat and we did some good group riding with us each taking the wind at the front for 10 minutes at a time before dropping back to let next in line lead. Our rhythm was broken after about 20 miles when Jordan got the first puncture of the trip though and it was downhill from there in terms of holdups.
We took a wrong turning for the Avon cycleway and instead followed route 41, which took us way further up the river than we needed to be before allowing us to cross. The surface was poor too, more of woodland path than anything remotely suitable for road bikes (especially if you care about your tyres!). Plus it added around 6 slow miles, so avoid making this mistake if you are a fellow LEJOGer. It did end up in us cycling through Bristol city centre in the sun however, which was lovely, so all was not lost.
Around 15 mins before we were due to meet Norman (our support man and John’s Dad) for lunch at Aust services, Jordan had the misfortune to pick up another puncture . More time lost. The early finish we were hoping for was slipping away fast.
Crossing the Severn bridge was fun and we got a good team photo too. So we were in Wales.
The countryside in Monmouthshire is beautiful though it was beginning to sap our energy a bit and we had to concede that rather than the 5.30 finish we had planned, 7pm or later was looking more likely.
The ups and downs continued and we eventually arrived in Clifford at 7.30, feeling pretty beaten. Fortunately Duncan had ridden ahead to meet family (and to give him chance to ride at his pace rather than ours!) and a decent pub with views of the River Wye awaited us. Perfect.
I’ve got to mention the comical ‘oh dear I’ve forgotten to unclip my foot from the pedal’ moments from today. Well done Danny and Jordi, top prize goes to John though; spectacular and hilarious.
In a separate point, the late finishes are becoming a bit of a bind, especially with kit washing etc to sort in the eve. Therefore we’re meeting at 7 tomorrow for an earlier start and all being well the elusive early finish.
I’ve just remembered we’ve also got John’s buckled wheel to sort too…going to be interesting.
Hellos and thanks today go to: Lizzy Whittle for sorting out the physio ointments and ice packs that transform us from hunched OAPs every morning into people that are capable of actually mounting our bikes; the guy who chatted to us and directed us through Pill (shame you didn’t catch up with us when you decided to set out); and all the people who kindly donated en route.
Also, hello to the Harlow boys who are doing the trip – all the best.
Finally, hello to the lady in the pub who works for Northgate Exeter and who had seen an article on our trip in the Northgate magazine (small world!).
My folks are joining Norman to support us tomorrow which will be very nice.
Best get some sleep now!