Monday, 16 May 2011

Fred Whitton #4 - I think Wrynose hates me...

I know I *do* bang on a bit about the weather, but in this case I think it can be justified!!
The various forecasts that I look at said "It'll rain - quite a bit, and there will be some wind - West'ish' but with some South in it."
This just about the worst direction!!
On the back of my experience yesterday, I dressed warmer and MORE waterproof. This was to prove a good decision :o)

I should do a quick physical run down of how I am.
Legs - calves are fine - quads are a little tender, but mostly they are getting more defined. The wife will LOVE that :o) - hamstrings, fine, feel like they've done a bit of work. Glutes - now they have clearly been working!!

Other things of note:
Triceps are getting a good workout, more than anything else in my arms
Heels of my hands are a little bruised and wrists slightly 'clicky'.
Considering the state of some of the road surfaces - that's not too bad :o)

It was NOTICEABLY windier today than yesterday, and raining quite hard to start with. I'm finding that it's taking until the 3 Passes (Honister, Newlands and Whinlatter) for my legs to start working properly, and I have to be pretty gentle with them to start with. I think I'm getting that balance about right!
Although much of the section to Ullswater had a not-headwind, I couldn't really use it as I would have liked, and the crosswind up to the A66 was a little tedious, although with the wind slightly in the South of West, I did get a bit of help in the last mile. Interestingly the Road Closure didn't seem to have happened by 8:30, so I didn't need to take to the fields or any such nonsense :o)

The A66 was TOUGH.
In still conditions it's reasonable to see 25-30mph for the long declines, doing hardly any work.
17 was the best I could manage, on the steepest bit, and the ups were in single figures. Hard Hard Hard!
Borrowdale wasn't too bad, and the first part of Honister is sheltered, so was fine in a This-Is-Still-25% way ;o)
The flatter bit above the trees was actually harder!
And I almost didn't have to use my brakes on the first part of the descent. It was one of those days where, if you had a coat with pockets and were confident enough to stick your hands in them and hold the coat out like a little sail, you WOULD have been blown up to the top of the Pass from the West side!!!

OK - so it did mean that Newlands was more benign and the descent from there was fantastic :)

I was fully expecting this to be a completely 'solo' day. And you know what? Even when you enjoy your own company, 9-10 hours 'out there' is a long time!!
But as I got to Brathwaite I saw a little slip of a bloke on a bike - wearing an OMM Kamleika smock - and cycle shorts.
Now that's 'ard!! ;o)

My first thought was - "He'll climb well"

I was even more surprised when he asked "Are you Leon?"

Turns out that Robb was planning to accompany me over Whinlatter to Lorton - and offered me the hospitality of his house and food if I needed it.
Now - how AMAZING is that..??
In a very real sense it completely made my day.

Oh - and yes, he's an effortless climber :o)

It was a fairly short stop at Cyclewise today - but that cuppa always tastes like the best thing on earth.
I can't overstate just how fantastic everyone has been there, and how grateful I am for their support!

The descent of Whinlatter was not quick - again. The most not-quick it's been since I started, and I had guessed that I now wasn't going to get any assistance from the wind until after Calder Bridge - I was right about that :o)

Robb had to leave me at Lorton, but I may see him again at some point, which would be fantastic :o)
You know - it's the little things that have made this into SUCH an incredible experience. People who've gone out of their way to do things that they feel would be helpful (Oh and they so ARE!!!)
People who have given up their time to give me some company or to turn out somewhere on the route just to wave and say hello.
People who I don't know messaging me just to wish me luck.
People who have heard about my adventure and have been moved to make a donation to MacMillan on the strength of it.
There is far more, but I have a terrible memory so apologies for missing out anything :o/

All of these things, big and small, are keeping me smiling and even more convinced that taking this on for Macmillan was a Good Idea!!!
Thank you all.

Goodness - that was a bit of a tangent, wasn't it!!

Anyway..... I really like the next bit. It seems to go really quickly, possibly because it breaks down into short sections quite nicely, and it is always interesting. Even in the weather today
The many faces of Lakeland are ALL beautiful - some are just a bit more brutal than others ;o)
I don't know what it is about the section from Ennerdale Bridge on, but I start to really get my legs back along there! And it does make me chuckle the way that I have accepted these big mileage numbers as 'normal'
"86 miles - FAB, only 12 'til Hardnott" was a thought today. Most odd!
And it was interesting to see a 4x4 with two specimens of lovely carbon bling on the back (you know the kind that has wheels and you have to tie down or it'll float away!) being driven to the bottom of the Pass.
Hope they had fun - I suspect they were quicker than me on my carthorse bike :o)

Hardknott was awash again today - MORE rivers but I rode it all. This really is a bit of a point of honour for me now!
I was very cautious on the descent too, it was wet and slippery and the potholes were rendered invisible by rivers - and I didn't want to repeat the experience of yesterday.

Wrynose double-bluffed me though!
I thought "HA! you'll not break my bike like you did yesterday"
Instead, just after I turned from Fell Foot, my chain slipped.....

"Odd", I thought "that's a new chain, it CAN'T be worn out already.
When it did it for the second time, I stopped to have a look - and found that a link was in the process of shedding a side-plate.

[note to self - when something doesn't feel right - stop straight away and check it out]

I had a quick firtle to get it useable for the last 9 miles and set off. And it behaved itself on the climb, and again I was super-observant on the descent.
As I've said before, the run in is great!
And it was most enjoyable today, even with the headwind into Coniston.

All things considered, I'm really pleased with 9:46 for today.
It was a really tough day.
Tomorrow I have someone doing the whole thing with me - REALLY looking forward to that!!

You still awake...????


  1. Still very much awake, and still in awe. Just incredible :-) Very well done again. These words just don't seem enough.

  2. Pop some quick links in your pocket, they'll get you out of trouble if your chain breaks. You're doing an amazing job!

  3. As I sloshed my way around the Lakes yesterday in the pouring rain, one thing kept me going - I know someone who's having it far worse than me!
    Today's even worse. Chapeau to you!
    Time the weather God's cut you a bit of slack I reckon.

  4. It's slowly going to clear. you'll fry at he weekend ;-)
    great ganning btw.

  5. I have just been told we have a heatwave coming??? It either poors or... well... Still regretting I am not riding one with you... could have given you my wheel as well :/ xx

  6. Unbelievable! The weather down low in Lancaster was horrendous, so what it must have been like in the Lakes I dread to think. Keep those cranks turning!