So after a slightly later than planned evening in The Manor House, where we enjoyed a nice meal, and plenty of ale with the landlord regaling us of old army stories, we left our home of the previous evening, The Albert (great room and breakfast), and headed for the sea.
It’s traditional amongst walkers to dip a boot in the Irish sea when starting the walk, then dip the other boot in the North sea on completion, we settled for dipping our tyres in the sea, and keeping our feet dry!
Once tradition was recognised, it was time to hit the road, we road through the village, turned left and encountered our first hill, within a minute, all three of us were off and pushing! Hmmmm! At the top of the hill, Dan announced he had a puncture so a new tube was fitted……. Then it started to rain! Suddenly, things were looking less than rosy!
It wasn’t long before we picked up Cycle route 71, and we started rolling with ease, the rain had passed as well. Things were back on track, until mile 7, Dan flatted again!
The rain kept coming and going, but it wasn’t cold, we were in high spirits since we’d raised over £1500 for Cancer Research, and had been planning this ride conceptually for years.
19 miles, Rob snaps a spoke in his rear wheel. It looks like it will survive til Keswick where there is a shop. Shortly after that, Dan spotted a red squirrel, i was a bit gutted i missed that!
All too soon, we arrived at the foot of Winlatter Pass, the first major climb of the route, category 3. Within a few minutes, Dan and I were off pushing, but only for 5 minutes or so, before we saddled up and owned it! I couldn’t believe it, i thought we’d be pushing the whole thing, don’t get me wrong, it hurt, a LOT! I hadn’t realised how much i was going to be asking of my body, and not just my legs! Happy lads, we pushed on to Keswick
We got Rob’s spoke replaced in Keswick, and grabbed a warm pasty from Boothes before pressing on, we hooked up the A66 out of town, fast and busy….. For the first time we got some real miles munched, heads down, wind on our backs, we made good time. At one point, a British Cycling car came past us, beeping it’s horn in encouragement at Dan and I when they clocked the single speeds, respect!
The day’s ride was supposed to be 52 miles, but by the time we swung off the A66, it was looking like a gross underestimation! More showers and undulating cross country riding eventually brought us into Shap around 5pm, Dans final words; “I cashed my last cheque on that final climb!”
Our digs in Shap are lovely, friendly staff, nice rooms, top pub!