I woke up on Sunday to find the sun shining but my legs as sore as they had ever been. Today would see us covering over 100 miles and climbing over Shap and on to Carlisle.
We finally departed at 9.30 after repairing a puncture and getting our bikes ready for another tough day.
After safely making our way through Preston (glad it was Sunday!) we joined the A6 and headed north. We made a couple of quick stops just south of Galgate, the first to buy a new tyre for Richard’s bike and then a refuel stop with Andy.
Once we reached Lancaster, we left the A6 and headed north east and up into the hills towards Kirkby Lonsdale. We passed into Cumbria just before reaching Kirkby where Andy once again provided us with some sandwiches and drinks. The hills continued as we gradually got closed to Shap but the views were amazing and the minor roads were wonderfully empty as we passed through Beckfoot, Tebay and Orton. We both agreed this one some of the best cycling we had ever done and was worth cycling the length of the country to experience.
After some more tough ascents, we finally reached Shap summit, 1070ft above sea level. From here we coasted back down to the A6, meeting Andy for another refuel just south of Penrith. After Penrith, we decided to stay on the A6 rather than cross over to a minor road, as the A6 was quite quiet and well surfaced. Unfortunately, there were some long hills along the way that wasn’t what our already tired legs really needed. If I had looked ahead, I would have seen that we would be passing through High Hasket, followed by Low Hasket, a good indication that hills might be involved!
Just south of Carlisle, I bid farewell to my riding partner and support crew as they headed back to Leeds. It had been great having company over the 2 longest days of the journey and definitely helped me keep my spirits up.
I arrived at my B&B, Langleigh Guesthouse after another 8 miles or so. Like Taunton, some of the streets were cobbled, forcing me onto the pavement to try and give my sore wrists a break.
After 2 long hard days in the saddle, I was sore and tired. I had now cycled over 500 miles in the last 5 days and was just 10 miles short of the Scottish border. I knew however that I was over half way and Mark and Louise would be meeting me for the evening.
True to form, they were running a little late which gave me some time to collapse on my bed and send a couple of emails. I met friends Mark and Louise in town and we decided an Indian was in order so we went to a restaurant recommended to me by the B&B owner. Teza proved to be a fine choice and I felt much better afterwards. On heading home, the rain had returned and we had a soggy walk back, flip flops are not the best footwear in the wet!
102.8 miles, 6 hours 19 minutes, average 16.25 mph, 5191ft of ascent