BIg day for me today after having friends riding with me for the past two days and not having the weight of my panniers on the bike. I was concerned how I would cope with the hills again and the aforementioned pannier bags.
After 500+ miles it was inevitable I would struggle at some point and today I did, the legs feeling heavy the minute I hit steep slopes. The 8 mile Shap Climb was a long slow crawl – but I made it.
Highlights were getting to the top and earlier the view across Morcambe Bay towards the Lake District.
Earlier I was very impressed with Preston, a fine looking place with a mighty river and lots of character. Navigation away from it went without a hitch. The only added miles were intentional when two ladies cycling on my route mentioned a high level pass of Kendal which I took and discovered the Station Inn – super food!
By the time I was approaching Penrith it was raining heavily and getting dark fast, so fortunate that it didn’t begin before or on top of Shap.
I’m feeling human again after 2 mugs of coffee and a piping hot shower – however the rain is beating down on the skylight in my room and the wind is howling and I havent eaten yet, leaving my room is not appealing but must be done . Tomorrow’s forecast is poor with rain most of the day. Luckily it’s 60 miles to Moffat and Dinner with a friend in the evening. One day at a time.
I need to revisit my route as given the weather and available daylight 60-70 miles is the maximum I can realistically hit assuming no mechanical issues/ health issues. I have doubts on a daily basis but manage to still achieve my goals – today I almost dozed off on the A6, but didn’t and the miles just disappeared. I don’t want to have people thinking me bonkers, but I prayed about today and felt I was being supported. Faith works when the body is weak, well that’s what I believe.
I still hope to make John O Groats next Wednesday or Thursday next week and like a mountaineer on a summit bid, plan to travel very light leaving some kit at a base for the final push.