Saturday, September 18, 2010
We woke up this morning to a damp, wet and cold Northumberland. It was a bit of a rush this morning due to the late night we had last night. 2 Panics started in that morning before setting off on the bike.
On the flip side I was so looking forward to this day. Before the JOGLE ride itself I looked forward to this day and the following days the most. I knew there would be a great feeling of doing this JOGLE through your home county of Yorkshire and familiar roads which would give me a good sense of time and mileage in how far we to travel, and I wasn’t wrong.
Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales where our host for one of the toughest days we had climbing, (even more frustrating that we couldn't’t see this on the Garmin!). Our first stop off would be at a place near Wear dale, a wonderful little village with a fantastic coffee shop making homemade pies, cakes and coffee to fuel and warm us up. To this point we had navigated our way out of Northumberland and Barnard Castle, the A66 and to Wear Dale through some tough little climbs, but nothing that we would experience later on that day.
The stop at Wear Dale allowed me to rest my Achilles but also my right knee that was starting to become really tender. Going uphill be painful and I felt every movement. Downhill was great to stretch it but then trying to get back into a pedaling routine would be agony. On the flats I seemed to be able to get into a manageable routine but this was proving difficult with the vast hills in the distance that seemed to be ever ending as you can see by the pictures below.
As soon as I got to the pub, James Dad was there and I think he could see I was in pain. He checked over my Achilles and right knee which I knew about when he touched them! I had it fully supported and felt I was managing it with the pain I had. My big concern was would this worsen? No one knew that. I kept it strapped up, put some ice over it during lunch and focused on the sign in the distance that said 19% hill which was visible from the pub I the distance.
It felt like all down hill from here to Keighley. At the next stop I knew we where not far away from our stopover place at Keighley Golf Club. People knew i was familiar with this area so i led the way through the busy market town of Skipton and into the G.C.
Here we where met by the site of the 19Th hole and our base. There where two things that stood out when we completed today. The first one was that we where now 50% of the distance completed,a major step in the right direction and we all felt on a massive high, high fiving each other, hugs all around, it really was a great team spirit we where creating. The second one was the time we had arrived into camp. It was about 7:30pm which was great because we didn't feel in a massive rush and we managed a beer in the club house. We held a team talk over a beer and look at the day,what went well, what could have been done better and what we would do differently the next day.
The great people who made this trip happen in the first place, Tom, JB and
Our tents for the night above.
Day 4 completed, what will day 5 hold..............
A cycle/ pattern was starting to appear in my emotions. Waking up in a morning, feeling apprehensive and concerned about how my body was and wondering if my body was going to hold up with the injuries i was starting to feel and whether or not i was compensating with other parts of my body and putting strain on them to not put as much pressure on the areas i was struggling with. Can you tell I was getting a bit apprehensive! Making it through the day was an awesome feeling. I love breaking things down into %'s versus time gone in the way of 4 x 30 mile stints (a work thing) and i loved doing this on the rides. The feeling of exhilaration lasted until went to bed usually. I would then lay bed and start that cycle of whether my body would hold up and what the next day would bring!
The weather was all over the place today and I think we experienced everything apart from snow. Rain, hailstone, thunder, flash flooding, bright sunshine and wind.
A big milestone happened later on in the day in the picture below were we crossed the border of Scotland into England. When I talk about been warm on the bike, I know its not the best of looks, What a geek i look!
In the background you will see the black clouds looming. I saw my life flash before my eyes and this could well have been the last picture taken of me!!!!!
We where at a very high point here with great views south over Ki elder Forest and back north over Scotland. We had a steep decent straight after this picture which went on for a couple of miles. Imagine torrential rain causing flooding on a 17% downhill. Then imagine cycling down it on a road bike at 35mph and getting a wobble on. Not wanting to take my hands off the brakes for fear of going out of control I gradually over a period of what seemed like a lifetime managed to bring the bike to a stop. I dont think I will ever experience anything like this again, the only problem was I was still only half way down the decent and the rain was getting worse!
We talk about changing weather from moment to the next, as soon as we hit the bottom of this hill the sun came out and I will have this lasting memory of cycling the beautiful long straight roads through the Ki elder Forest with the sun going down, cycling long straights with never ending roads, thats what cycling is all about.
It proved to be a late one tonight. We stopped at a pub around 8pm and a group of us said we stay behind for the mini bus to return. We didnt get sat down for food (which was worth the wait) till 10:30pm at High House Farm Brewery.
Everyone getting stuck into their food.
After the day we had we put the tents up at midnight in a field and hit the sack around 1am. The alarms where set for 5am for a prompt 6am start on day 4 of the JOGLE. Completion of this day would see us 50% of the way and would be a huge boost, especially cycling in Yorkshire......
I love this picture Fonz took. It was taken at towards the end of the 2nd day when we all re grouped. You can see me talking to Ian and the pelleton in the distance following the way of the Alfonzo into camp....... Top Man!
Day 2 of the JOGLE would be up there with the toughest days we had on the trip. There would be a number of reasons for this including the cold weather, the mountainous terrain that route would take us, the 45mph head winds that stuck with us all day, the unfortunate scenario that myself and three others got split from the main group (we got given wrong directions) which involved us taking on 50% of the day as a group of 4 and finally the most significant was the start of the injuries my body was starting to feel. I would find myself fighting against these injuries over the remainder of the JOGLE and having a constant cloud over me questioning myself as to how bad would these injuries get, would I get any others, would they force me out of the ride and could I manage them for the rest of the trip to ensure I crossed the finish line?
Day 2 took us from Inverness to Perth. The route took use through the highlands of Scotland skirting past Avie more and some of the highest ski lift resorts in Scotland. I had a flashback from a couple of years ago when we came through Grantown on Spey. We arrived at a roundabout coming out of Grantown on Spey a few years ago when we travelled up for Grant and Amy's wedding. The Sat Nav said turn left and the sign said turn right. I went with the Sat Nav but unfortunately it was a road that bend after bend and 5 Min's before we arrived at the hotel Nyah was sick everywhere and I mean everywhere! We had been traveling for 10 hours and with 5 Min's to go she was sick! The next day was a hot one and it did nothing for the smell in the car or the journey back no matter how much I cleaned it.
This was taken of me heading towards the highlands of Scotland. You can see how Barron it is in the distance and this only increased as the day went on.
I took the wrong turning at this roundabout again and it took us on 6 mile detour. Myself, Mike, Rachel and Tom worked together as a team to try and claw back the pack but we didn't want to run our bodies into the ground for the sake of trying to catch them so we made the decision to ride at our own pace.
Tom is leading the way up this hill on his £65 bike he bought from car boot sale! This guy was awesome, his dad had Parkinson's of 8 years and in his mind no matter what was thrown at him on these 8 days he would not be defeated and kept going and going. It was only mechanical failure that put him out for a day but this guy deserved a medal for riding what he did on that bike. The front wheel was as buckled as a 50p piece, just class!
The below picture shows the how the temperature dropped so much that looks like I was climbing Everest rather than cycling in Scotland.
We climbed 10,500ft on this ride and experienced some serious hills. I was glad to have finished the stage and get a lift to Hilton Farm (our second nights accommodation) where we would be in for a treat. (No shower tonight though).
Day 2's evening was a barbecue hosted by Perth Slow Food at farmer Andrew Johnson’s House (Hilton Farm, Craigend) Highland Beef, Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Wild Boar, salads, organic bread, cakes from Blair Atholl, berries, salad dressings. The local Perth Council had been going for 100 years and in celebration of this they had been presented with a matured bottle of whiskey from a local distillery. This was brought by the local councilors and shared amongst us that evening which was pretty special as it blew our socks off and made Patrick slightly pissed as you can see below!
We hit the sack about midnight having filled our faces full of food and warm drinks. I remember laying in bed thinking about my achillies tendons and for the first time in a long time saying a little prayer hoping my achillies wouldnt get any worse and I would wake up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to go to take on the challenge of Day 3 of the JOGLE into England and Northumberland................
Below was the camp site for our first nights stay just outside of Inverness. We arrived in camp just before sunset which left a quick turn around in getting everything ready.
Friday, September 17, 2010
3pm soon came around and it was time to go and get the 3.5hr coach to JOG. Due to the back up vehicle breaking down on the M1 on the way up they where not due to arrive in JOG til 12am so we made a tactical decision to stop half way and get fish and chips. Ive never a fish and chip shop where you order a large fish and chips give you 2 large haddocks! The Fish and Chip shop was in a remote little village in the middle of nowhere yet we still managed to stumble into a hen night with a difference. A male gay couple that where getting married. The bloke was dressed in drag and he was out with just girl friends! Very bizarre and not something I think I will see again.
We arrived in to a very cold, wet Barron and very depressing JOG shortly after 8pm. Not the type of place you would go on holiday to and want to spend any time there. Very depressing so it was great to know we wouldn't end up here to have our celebrations although this was very presumptuous of me expecting to make the 8 days as I would soon find out......
We errected the tents, got our bikes out the carry cases and started to re build them from their travels. It was all a bit of a rush, the light was fading fast and we didnt have much time to spare. We hit the sack about 11pm and I remeber laying in bed excited with adrenalin but also nervous in what the next 8 days would hold, what would they throw at us and how would I react to it....