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Sep
19

C2C

Its 7.00am on the 4th of August at Whitehaven harbour, the bike is ready, not sure if I am, only the day ahead will tell, I have been putting in the miles, but road riding is not my cup of T.

If you want to support me and the air ambulance then please use the link below.

http://www.justgiving.com/itsabikething

http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ukt/how_to_become_a_donor/how_to_become_a_donor.asp

At 7.40am I take the first pedal strokes towards Sunderland, 18 hours 20 minutes later, I'll arrive with 15 of those hours spent pedalling

The urban sprawl and housing estates of Whitehaven soon give way to open countryside, cycling on a tarmac track towards Keswick.

The early morning view over Crummock Water soon lets you know you are cycling through the heart of the Lake District. I rode the first 60 miles alone and made good time to Keswick arriving in 3 hours.  A navigational faux pax on my part on the next section meant that an hour and a half later I was only 4 miles from Keswick.  That was probably the low point of the day, I had wanted to do the off road sections but the steep climb up and over the Old Coach road was just ridiculous and I elected to bail on that part and roll down what I had already ridden up, normally I would have flown down it, but that wasn't the objective of the day.

All the time I am trying to remember how to actually ride a bike.  Thankfully I had a couple of good teachers when I first started, Jack and Kira taught me how to pedal, conserve energy, use the gears and spin.  Some of the big days out with these two are very much in my mind as I roll along.  The Taylor Basin ride in the Chilcotin mountains in 02, a big day out for sure.

Jon met me the Keswick side of Penrith within about 500 yards of my batteries running out on the MP3 player, it was good to have some company. Jon knew the route through Penrith, so I didn't have to worry about navigation

The other side of Penrith was the first pasta stop with support van occupied by Lew, Penso and support dog!

This next section is the crux of the day in my mind at least, it's the big climb up Hartside, the steepest, longest of the day, the majority of the climb is undertaken on the single track road above.  Just the last couple of miles being on the main road.  Jon played a blinder shielding from what wind there was, I just tucked in behind him and spun on up, reaching the top was a big mental hurdle, just as well I didn't appreciate at that point how much longer I was going to be on the bike.

If the Lakes passed almost without noticing the climbs or the mountains the Pennines made up for it, you are pretty much on the roof of England and the harsh barren landscape lets you know all about it.  the forecast thunder storms can be heard rumbling all around us to the north and south, we cycle on through a very noticeable gap in between, sometimes sod's law doesn't apply.

Setting off upto on to the moors a darkness fell could have been a huge mistake, we had another navigational but got back on track soon enough just meeting up with Lew and the van as darkness fell good and proper.

Penso had done a stirling job on this last section and I think we re built and re designed our motorbikes about a dozen times each, talking about building stuff is much easier than the reality however!!

As we eased down off the moors steadily heading towards the distant lights of Sunderland.  Lew took his turn and the conversation takes off again, swapping riders has been a brilliant support to me through the day.  Consett, Stanley, done and the legs are feeling brilliant.  the energy levels are still up, the guys have done a great job re fuelling me and keeping me hydrated.

We arrive in a quiet Sunderland, no traffic, and the only people some hoady ho's supping out of brown paper bags, good lads and some fish muggers with nowt better to do, my lights give up about half a mile from Roker Pier and the day is done.

141 miles, about 8,000 feet of climbing and descending.

A bowl of porridge, 3 plates of pasta, countless energy and chocolate bars, nutrigrains, bananas and cakes, 14 litres of water and a can of John Smiths to finish the day.  The can of Johns did for me, about 40 minutes after finishing My body deciding to shut down and react to the day and I found myslef lying on my back in abus shelter with my legs in the air, not pleasant.

An energy drink, one of thos isotonic jobs sorted me out and I spent the rest of Sunday force feeding myself, pretty much out of it.

A satisfying day but one I would rather not have done given the motivation behind the day.

Thanks to all who have supported me through this, for all the donations, text msgs, emails.

Special credit is reserved for Sarah for the training rides,  Jon, Lew and James, who's support on the day was total. I could never have contemplated a ride like this without them.

And finally, to Kate Stainsby and Jason Raper, I cannot put into words the emotions of this day, those before and those since.  So I'll' steal some words to finish.

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it's worth it was worth all the while