All entries for Monday 14 May 2007

May 14, 2007

Sheer bloody purgatory (with some fun thrown in!)

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if I had to pick a day to join my dad on his end to end cycle it would have to have been Sunday – wet, wet and more wet.

I think if we’d cycled to Weston Super Mare and ridden off the pier the impact would probably have been about the same. But even in the face of torrential rain we still went ahead with the cycle from Bristol to Ludlow.

We started at 9ish from the original suspension bridge – Breezy droplets – and headed over towards Chepstow. Cycling over the bridge was fab. I’ve a bit of a thing about bridges and rather like the two crossings. We headed around Chepstow and went towards Tintern.

There’s a great drop into Tintern – big well laid road with sweeping bends – which was immensely good fun. The climb out of Tintern less so and about 3/4 of the way up we both gave in and pushed the bikes up the last bit. A very steep and pitted road that was effort all the way.

The trees on this little lane however shielded us from the rain that was increasing at this point so it was only when we emerged on the top that we realised how wet it was becoming – moderate but persistent showery rain.

So, off to Ross on Wye which was a pleasant run but by the time we entered Ross it was really starting to get heavy. We stopped in Ross for 10 minutes trying to work out where to go next. Finally heading off my dad made the mistake of taking off his top jacket – oops. He spent the next few hours getting more and more wet. But then again, so did I.

The next bit should have been the best run of the cycle, on a dry day anyway. We followed the river Wye along a small lane which in better conditions would have been beautiful and fast. On Sunday it was wet, muddy, covered in loose grit run off the woods and bloody hard work. You couldn’t head downhill fast for fear of slipping so it was hands on brakes the whole way and pedaling through running water and mud which dragged on the tyres and made it nasty. By the end of this leg we were tired and sore.

By the time we edged past Hereford and headed towards Leominster it was lashing down – torrents of water on the road, absolutely soaked through and feet swelling up in sodden shoes. The rain was lashing hard against our faces and getting painful on the downhill sections. To top it off the good burghers of Herefordshire prefer to spend their money on things other than road signs. So not only were we wet, we were lost and wet.

Finally reaching Leominster, which is a ghost town on Sunday, we paused as my knee was playing up. On the final stretch the wind picked up so added to the stinging rain was a cold northerly wind – yumm. To top it off my dad’s front gear mech seized (we later found a tiny stone had jammed it) which left him stuck on the smaller cog. Lucky really as it meant he had the right gears for going up hill and could coast down. If it had been the other way round he’d have been screwed.

Finally we reached Ludlow and I have never been so glad to see a town. We eventually found the B&B and too much relief jumped in the shower. My feet regained feeling after about 15 minutes.

So to summarise -

91 miles (hah!)
6 hours
Wet wet and more wet

Did I enjoy it – absolutely, and I am chuffed at having finished and more chuffed for my dad who is doing a pretty amazing thing.

Was it hard work – absolutely. If it had been dry I think we would have added a cheeky 10 miles to get the 100, but it was just too much hard work in the stinking rain.

If you want to sponsor my dad you can do so at

If you check out that page and know of any shopping centres Liz could visit while she’s driving about as support please let me know – she needs much retail therapy to get her through this!

Finally, I also learned that two pieces of toast do not make good prep for a 91 mile ride. I made it but Lord only knows how. Any weight loss was balanced out by the quantity of water soaked into my body, so it all evens out.

May 2007

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