Monday, 3 May 2010

Day 5: Ludlow to Chorley/Preston

Phew. Even longer day today. 134.8 miles. Should have been a bit less but I made some navigational errors around Ludlow, Market Drayton and N.W of Manchester. Oh well.

It wasn't the most enjoyable days cycling I've ever had. Far from it. It was just one of those days where you get your head down and get the miles in. For a start I set off a bit too soon after a massive breakfast and a bit later in the than I'd hoped to. It took AGES for me to get going and find a rhythm. I was cold and the wind was blowing right in my face. My legs felt a bit dead and I knew it was going to be a long day. Had a tea break and some malt loaf in Ironbridge after 32 miles or so and after getting a bit lost I climbed back out of the Gorge and got lost again. Soon found a decent enough route north but the road was busy. From here and for the rest of the day the scenery was a bit uninspiring. Flat, rural, boring.

Improved a bit through parts of Cheshire (nice villages, expensive looking houses, more Audi TT's, Merc SLK's and Land Rover Sports than you can shake a stick at!!) and then all bit urban sprawl mixed with a few surprises - like a lovely bridge over the ship canal - west of Manchester. My cycling also improved after necking a can of Relentless and shoving some Nurofen down my throat. Amazing what that can do for a man's morale! The wind also began to die down. It started raining a bit but so what. I'd have sold my soul to the Devil for the wind to have died down hours and hours earlier! An indication of what an improvement there was could be seen in my average speed for the day. 13.1 mph for the whole ride after it had been just over 11 mph at 75-80 miles.

Met up with my mate Pete and his girlfriend Jacqui at a pub quite near that bridge at about 100 miles in. A pint, plenty of peanuts and half a lemon cake that Pete had kindly baked me. Thats half a WHOLE cake not just a slice. The rest went in my rack bag.

It was starting to get late and I had another 30 miles to go. Didn't help myself by getting lost again. Eventually rolled in to the Travelodge at about 9.30pm. Bit tired but spirits good and helped loads more by Cath having a bath ready for me and a take-out pizza. Lovely. Hilly day tomorrow but fewer miles.

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