Today was a bit of a nothing day. Not much happened. We didn’t ride that far. There weren’t any hills of note. Nobody had any accidents, or punctures even. The most dramatic thing that happened was that Team B (whose average age might just be said to lend itself to memory loss) left a bag behind in Lancaster and the support team had to go and pick it up.
But in spite of all that (or perhaps because of all that), it was a good day. The sun shone, there wasn’t any wind to speak of, and the road (mostly the A6) was smaller and quieter than I was expecting. Team A arrived at the overnight stop (Hallgarth Community Centre just outside Kendal) shortly after 2pm, and then headed into Kendal for a leisurely stroll along the Kent river. We made it back just in time to allow Team B to foster the illusion that they’d beaten us there by 6 seconds. Very sporting of us.
Due to the short day (only 63 miles), the arrival time was early, supper was organised on time, and we had time to sit around telling stories, rather than rushing the children off to bed. Very relaxed – there’s now much less stress in the group, and a lot of good-natured banter between Team A and Team B. You see, the latter have seen us waiting for them at a bus stop on occasion, and have somehow got it into their heads that this is how we’re managing to get to the end quite so quickly. They’re convinced that one day they’ll catch us keeping our heads down on a bus as we pass them. For our part, it’s rather hard doing this – we’ve occasionally taken the bus too far, and have had to double back to make a show of overtaking them on the bikes, before catching the next bus onwards.
Back to the ride, the scenery went through a gradual transformation as the day wore on – from the urban landscape of Wigan and surrounds, slowly getting more and more beautiful past Chorley and Preston (ok, very slowly), until by Lancaster it was rather nice, and by Kendal somewhat terrific. We’ve spent a week in the Lake District in autumn last year, but in summer, it’s just that little bit more spectacular. I’ll have to put the map here tomorrow (I’ll update the page) as the cellphone reception here is too poor to get it sorted. Which probably also means that I should keep this slightly shorter than usual to ensure that it makes it out.
Tomorrow starts off with a 10 mile climb up Shap Fell, which is the part of the route all cyclists dread – it’s a 1,200 ft climb. But from there, it’s a long 54 mile downhill to end up pretty much where we started. So if we get through the first 10 miles unscathed, it should be plain sailing for the rest of the day. We’ll have to see about that.