Day 1 started with rather different weather conditions to the evening before. We awoke to sea mist and fog and went for an early breakfast. After a full English was devoured (to the sounds of celtic flutes and drums) we set off into the fog.
The sun soon burnt off the fog and by 10am we were at Thurso in cloudless skies. Of course we forgot to put sun screen on and the tan lines are looking pretty good. The Caithness coast is amazing but I can imagine in a bad storm you would not want to be up here on a bike. There is nothing but hardy sheep and cows.
We rode on and stopped at 11 for a massive sugar intake of apple pie and custard .. and some original Orkney ice cream at the Bettyhill cafe. We rode a beautiful road along the loch to the most remote pub in the UK (The Crask Inn)
We overstayed our time slot to sample the beers and then had a long descent into Lairg where we are staying tonight. His lordship got a puncture 300 meters from the hotel
We had some dinner and then watched this spectacle
Onwards tomorrow to Morags hostel in Fort Augustus (another long ride)
JOGLE Prologue stage was completed this evening. I let slip that the furthest point was Duncansby head lighthouse (Not John O Groats) so after some debate we cycled out to officially start the ride, a gentle 2km ride. The evening was glorious sunshine with crystal blue skies amd we could see the Orkneys and outer islands. Tomorrow is an early breakfast and we are off in anger.
Well that was a ride, glorious sunshine with clear blue skies. Bikes ready we got out of the starting gate some 30 mins after the front runners. It’s a pan flat course out through the fens but the scenery was beautiful. The brother decided to get his race head on amd got on up the road ahead of us. Craig and I took it a bit easier… and we could not stop smiling when we came across this sad figure by the side of the road.
His pump was a bit knackered, so in true top gear style we decided to leave him and carry on.
Eventually he obviously found some gas from somewhere (I suspect last night’s curry) and he caught us up.
We picked up a few cycle road trains on the way round and the average speed started to climb. The end of this event never seems to come and I was paying the price for trying to be a hero on the front earlier so getting back was a painful last 10k.
Rest day tomorrow and then the brown stuff really hits the spokes.
So today is the warmup .. 70 mile Gran Fondo around the flat fens. We are on our way in the car to the start hoping it gonna warm up a bit. It’s supposed to be 20 something but it feels more 10 something at the moment. It should be a simple ride, except the large quantity of beer and curry we scoffed last night may present various problems on route.
Will post a live track link here … once am underway as a test for future rides.
Watch my live activity “Live Activity 05/06” now!
Hope this works … if so you can follow us.
Yes its one week to go until the pain begins. I have been sorting out some bike bits and spares and trying to work out what needs to go in the mobile mechanics car to get through the ride. Its amazing the amount of crap you acquire that requires some charger / plug / power. Roll on the day where we have nuclear phones or whatever the future holds.
So here are the dates…
Sunday 5th of June – Drive to Peterborough and ride the Cambridgeshire Gran Fondo (apparently this is some idiots idea of a “warm up”) The weather does not look too bad which will be a bonus. I am just praying there is NO wind.
Sunday Night – Drive North…. stop somewhere up t’North
Monday – drive to John O’ Groats
Tuesday – Head south
Following days – Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat
Finish – Keep going until the front wheel is wet with the sea at Lands End. (actually if it’s wet, I will have ridden off a very high cliff and the blog posts will probably stop)
The route is plotted but I am going to review on each day and be flexible on the actual path. I have been making the list of gels / food and stuff that will be needed on the long way, the main idea is to top up on route wherever I can. So we ride off into the unknown and attempt one long long way on a bike. I only hope my ageing body can put up with the niggles and aches that are going to be trying to tell me to get off and jack it in every day.
Wish me luck … I am gonna need it !!!
This year I am riding for Revitalise a great charity that provides short breaks and holidays for disabled people and carers. It would be fantastic if any of my readers can make a donation
Check back regularly for further updates on route and live-tracking information.
Yep its the May bank holiday weekend, and it’s that time of the year for an outing to the Isle of Wight. I got on the early ferry across to Cowes with hundreds of other cyclists and had a very nice “Full English” on the boat. The weather was an interesting one to call, the forecast was good but chilly. I was in two minds on should I get the legs out or not, I decided to risk it and shorts it was. I made the right decision, with not a cloud in the sky the temperature climbed and there were a lot of people over dressed. The ride round was perfect in the sunshine and starting in Cowes meant all the big climbs came about halfway through (rather than at the end – if you start in Yarmouth)
Cycling into East Cowes
A fantastic 100km on some of the best tarmac in the south of England (they do look after their roads on the island) If you ever get a chance I really recommend this ride.
Ok – So I have officially gone mad.
I have decided that its time to get out there and crank up some miles and one sure fire way to do this is to start as far away as possible and then cycle back. This means I have no real way of shortening the ride, no bailing out, and if you do decide to shorten the distance on a certain day, I only have to make it up the next day. RULE 5 !!!
The plan is – Start at the top of Scotland, head south. !! (Well its all downhill right ?)
I will now be doing some route planning, where to stay and what to kit out on the bike. This is unknown territory for me. I know I can ride 100+ miles – BUT can I get up and do it 10 days in a row ? – We shall see.
Next big training rides coming up will be the “Tour de Isle of Wight” (the Randonee in May) followed by the Cambridgeshire Grand Fondo.(June)