Saturday, 20 August 2016

Broken bike...

Go up the hills slow and steady .... Of courseish. 
One broken bike, one uber interesting bike tour, one fixed bike later = one nero! 

Happy days moreso as it was chucking it down!!! 

Friday, 19 August 2016

With hands oh soooo soft.... Like marshmallows!

So this am i had a few things I needed to do in town .... So it was a late start.... I was on my bike at 11.15-11.30... By 11.35 I knew I was in for a tough day ... 

Rain started at 11.34, along with a bit of wind .... And I was only trundling along the A6 a month or so ago - an easy 50 miler.. Thats all

But there's the thing... Pain memory seems to be blocked oh so easily... And it was only after a nightmare of a ride (legs werent behaving today), a stop at a coffee shop in Shap (with a wonderful waitress that took one look at me and handed me a towel to dry myself off) and seeing the pass sign with 1400ft... That the memory of 'oh i am at this point again' came back. 
It was good to know that my legs were with me by this point. 
Pain, yes. But luckily i couldnt see the road or the hill ahead (yes, lots of rain and wind)... So it actually was ok... In a very ish and sortta way. 

Its facinating really - up until the pass sign ... My legs were wimpish and moaning (ok it was me)... But as soon as the sign was seen ... Head of dig in and lets just get this over with was started. 
Up, over, down and up the othersides and I have to say, it didnt seem as bad as  a month ago. Some progress I think. 
But tonight warm welcomes, hot showers at the campsite etc were needed and had. 

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The difference of nil wind....

Ok, so today was filled with 10.... *cough* ok...  15ish ...lost miles.... So a total of 110ish miles today .... And it felt great. 
So tonight after arriving in Carlisle... The best Thai that i have ever eaten was had... What a great finish to the day 😀

Oh, and did I miss out the fact that today was a nil wind/ gale day 😀👏... Just a great ride 😀

So now as I have reached over the 1000 mark (with a fee additional lost miles) ... I head back into England once more...

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Inverness to Pitlochry

Suns ooooouuuutttttt! And boy did it make a difference. 
There was little wind until later in the day... so the days journey was great.

So much so i have started to develop a sunglasses tan! Polar bear here we come.... But i have to say, i dont mind... Having the sun is greeeeat! My resting place tonight was great too:

766 miles down,

A day off tomorrow! Yeeee haaa. Ok so I feel a tad lazy especially as today was an uber easy, little wind sorta day 👏 . Today was made a little special by a wee fox in the night, nil rain in the night and a fantastic full Scottish breakfast this am! 

But its good to know that I have already done 766 ish miles already .... Thats nearly the length of the UK already! 

Last nights resting place .... Look closely 😀😀

View from within .... I love my bivvi .... To think of the many 'wet' nights i had with my last one ... that was binned just about at this point a few months ago :i))) 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Dead legs....

Mind clearly has had a falling out with the legs today .... Cause no matter what the mind thought .... Those legs werent moving... At all. How I dream of going outfor a  ride on a unladened racer that doesnt have x2 side parachute packs and where i can lean down on the handlebars in order to streamline myself and change my position. But this is training.... And heavy means morework!  

But celebrations!!! Woooohooooo!!! Yeeeeeehhhhhaaaaa! It was amazing. I had 20 metres of wind behind me on a flat bit of road. It felt amazing!! Of course I may have exaggerated the 20m ... In reality it must have been 5 pedals 15m?!... But i felt it and it definately happened....
My second bit of heavenly moment happened in a cafe ... Following a phone call from Chris (thank you Chris ) ... I tucked into : 

Now i am a little partial to the rice crispy/marshmallow thingmegigs .... But these had scottish toffee fudge on top with chocolate to seal it. OH my, oh oh my..... So i took another two to go! (And just eaten them as I set up camp).

Sadly these heavenly crispys did nothing for the legs - which are now uber super tight (i really need to go and get a sports massage). But onwards we went.... With the legs behaving like 2 year olds. 
Until i found my spot for the evening : 

Hidden in the grass ;o) 

Friday, 12 August 2016

5 miles away from Wick!

ButOYes, that's right, even though I thought i was 20 miles away from Wick, it turns out that it was only 5! Nee bother ... It was good to sleep with the cows.

I must say, the Scottish seem to love the sign on the bike, lots of beebs and waves. People will stop me and ask if I am actually going to the South Pole and then proceed to say that I must be a wee hardy thing or ... So hardy... Lovely sounding word from the Scots. 

Anyway, John O groats I have arrived .... Time to make my way down to Landsend... Although i have to say I met a couple at John O Groats who were super lovely and they explained that they had followed me up to John O Groats and had waited for me to arrive. 

However this blinkin rain and WIND that is closing camp sites and what everyone is talking about as 'never has the weather been like this' etc is making it all the more training for me. I mean at the moment trying to cycle downhill takes just as much effort as going up hill certainly means that non stop effort is required! (Although I did request a little earlier as i nearly came off my bike again, that the wind should just give it up and give me a break - needless to say, he declined my request! Men! ;o) 
Suddenly having a heavy bike and bags that double up as parachutes ...... But its all good training ....

More rain....

If I am not a prune by the end of this journey, I would be suprised! I have to say, i just havn't seen so much rain at this time of year in Scotland! 
Sadly and fustratingly, i didnt make Wick today, its only about 10 mikes away, but night closes in early and with the gloomy outlook .... Car lights were on by 6pm. The hills today were ok, but just a number of them. I even had to get off my bike and push it a couple of times and even with that i struggled (yes, it really is heavy!!).  My bike is that heavy i have to pedal hard down the hills and put in quite a bit of effort. With the side bags like x2 parachutes with the overall weight of the bike, bags and me..... Its slow and heavy! 

Btw: Over the last couple of days i have been in x4 near misses with cars. Cars just dont seemto see bikes or tge riders! One was just a little bit too close as the face of the woman watching would indicate too. 

But at least i had company tonight ... 👏😀 the edged over slowly (after the initial herd run) .... And waited ... And stared .... It was only when i re-emmerged from my bivvi and we watched each other for 5 minutes that they decided to walk away 😀😀


Hmmm ok, so at the moment the rain is ok.... But it has to stop sometime? Right? 

Although waking up in the sunshine first thing this am seemed as though there was a change in weather.... It lasted only long enough for me to decamp and have a quick breakfast. But thats great as far as I am concerned. 

Saw Margaret yesterday too.... And I have to say, although I came unannounced and was a bit of a suprise (as it was about 100 miles off course) she was genuinely pleased and loved the surprise..... Better yet, she recogised me instantly even in my bike gear 😳.

So a good couple of days especially now that i have working brakes and can go down to first gear .... Always helpful wirh the hills 😀😀

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Over 80 windy windy miles...

So how come when the wind blows and you're riding a bike the wind direction is never from behind?? 
Over 80 miles with the flattest of roads since I began (ok relatively speaking) and from the moment I got on the bike, i had wind blowing from the side or face on!! But it was ok, cause at least it wasnt raining!! Oh hang on....and my breaks work well in the rain.... Oh hang on again ...... 

But i suspect that as I wanted to hang on until Inverness ..... The bike is probably trying to tell me that it is a little tired of the hills and wont hang on until its birth place. Lets just hope that I can get the bike fixed in Avimore tomorrow. 

So it was one of those interesting days of being thrown into the middle of the road by the wind and getting soaked through 3hours before I arrived in Aviemore.

But Aviemore I arrived and here I will stay for two nights. Tomorrow will be different...... 

Monday, 8 August 2016

I thought I was alone in my thoughts and outlook ... Until now.

A book that finally puts a large part of my being into words .... I hold back the tears .... 

I learnt a lot about the fixed mindset people that I have had to 'deal with'and have encountered in my time.... . 

The book: Mindset by Dr Carol S  Dweck

I thought I was alone in my thoughts and outlook ..... Until now.... 


Today was very different but great too. Today i stayed in Aviemore as I had to fix my bike (bikes are best with working brakes) and have an interview/conversation with the local radio  station.
I have to say I was a little nervous but equally very excited as this is all new. Lewis was great, very welcoming and reassuring... And as promised we just had a chat and played a few songs in between! Easyish... 
Of course there are things i should have said (what i can remember that is) but i cant be too hard on myself as it is/was my first time in front of the mic. Yes, i have spoken on radio but so far its been standing on the side of the road and speaking between cars and lorries roaring past. 
The rest of the day was spent drinking coffee and just relaxing ... But its time to hit the trail again 😀 and who knows
Maybe, just maybe it will be wind and rain free (she says trying to convince herself) - this is Scotland of course.  

Saturday, 6 August 2016

When Facebook comes alive and meeting Lancashire ACF.

With the morning wake up view of this: 
I just knew that it was going to be a great day. I had only 35ish miles to Otterburn camp so I reckoned that i would be there in 3 hours. But these loooooong mile long uphills with sharp down hills contined so I stopped for lunch for an hour, then coffee and pudding at Otterburn mill and although I was temped to seek out another coffee.... The afternoon was disappearing so I headed to the camp.
Ok, so in my mind and ACF was small, consisting of only a few kids and that probably was that. How wrong could I be!
900 strong with 400 attending the summer camp.... And thats only theLancashire  district! But I have to say, I am not surprised. With only a brief insight and snap shot, I wanted to join as a! Sky diving, 100km runs/forced marches, trips abroad... The list goes on. 
However after meeting the staff, what was very evident and clear is that they were extremely dedicated and child focused. These guys were not there just for the military aspect (and adventure training) the social welfare and supporting the cadets to develop themselves was key. A very smooth operation, welloiled and  thought  out with a very distinctivephilosophy  and approachthat didnt include the historical military shout. Blinkin fantastic. I have say that all of the parents and staff should feel extremely proud of their children/ cadet(s) as from what I saw, the maturity of questions and discussions had with individuals were amazing.
But I was there for a reason. My first presentation about the journey to achieving my dream (x3). It was personal and the first time that i have spoken publicaly and  privately about elements of my journey. Ok, so it was a snap shot but it felt great and the cadets (and staff) had plenty of questions. 
The upshot is that I am even keener to explore and develop that area.. So please make contact if you are interested.

But for now its back to the rolling hill roads and passing the Scottish border. 

With my first night in my new hooped bivvi. So contented. 😀

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Back on the bike trail

Ohhhh it feels so great to be back on trail again, ok, so it maybe gloomy with patches of light rain .... But thats AOkay. 

Just being back on the bike on the open road, looking and feeling the massive hills  is just priceless. 

After a train ride to Darlington this pm, a quick interview with Star radio (Darlington) the open road through the rolling hills was great. Its been about a month and a half since my last adventure.... A month and a half too long in my books. 

Today, i had to stop due to failing light! Yes, it looked as though night was creeping in by 6.30pm! However, I have to say, at the campsite, i was greated by two stunning trail angels! Absolute genuine kindness and loveliness. It was a complete suprise/ totally unexpected and well i was just completely taken aback. Stephen and jacquiline - both so welcoming and generous and I cant wait to back there.