No sleep issues this time. I was dead to the world for 9 hours. Taking a quick glance out the window was enough to tell us that, we hadn’t lucked out on the weather twice. It was a good old fashioned bit of English rain. Getting our wet weather clothes on and heading down for breakfast, we went berserk on the food consumption. Coffee, juices, cereal (best granola ever) pancakes with maple syrup and bacon. If I’m honest that is too much food haha. We were full up and ready to go. Adam waved us good bye with the healthy dose of encouragement, and we were back to it.
The 1st 30 kilometers, were almost exclusively off road. It was a wet-look, warm up down a trail that would take us to Market Harborough. It used to be a train line in the past, but had since been converted into a trail for cyclists, dog walkers, joggers and hand holders. It didn’t take us long to find something cool. It was a heritage train station, that appeared to have been kept just how it looked when it closed in 1981. A little further down the line, were two long tunnels, both around 500 meters in length. Cycling through them was freakin’ weird. Riding through almost pitch black, seeing nothing to the sides, or the surface or texture of the floor. All you have to aim for is a tiny pinhole of light. It had a dream like surreal feel to it and was definitely fun to walk through.
5 Hours in and we were making our way through Leicester looking for a cafe that sold coffee and had a toilet. Those were our only conditions but still, we found nothing (Side note – I’m sure anyone that does open up a cafe in this area on a Sunday would make a killing). But 45 minutes or so later, we settled for some kind of freaky, make shift service station. A guy who I rode past started laughing in my direction and asked with a grin “‘Ere mate, have you seen your face?” I had assumed I had a few specs of mud on it from the dirt path me were cycling on earlier as Mieke’s face was pretty much spotless and she was riding the same way. When I finally saw it, I could see why he had such a good giggle. Lesson there to be learnt – Cycle in front next time.
During our pitstop, the weather took a turn for the better. Shedding our waterproofs, Nottingham was now in our sights. The sunshine had melted the clouds and raised our spirits. To me the world always appears more beautiful when its drenched in sunlight.
We were now close to Mieke’s destination with the only perceivable down point being a dose of knee pain for her. Because I have had a similar injury in the past, I could relate to her issue. I was more than happy to aid her with a helping hand on some of the inclines. Hopefully it was just some temporary pain and doesn’t affect her ability to cycle back to London later in the week.
After a brief stop in Nottingham for some more coffee and some ceremonial prosecco, it was time for me to continue solo home to Sheffield. With the sun dropping over the horizon, the light was quickly fading. I had stitched myself up a bit by accidentally going the long way to sheffield, which added around a further 10 miles onto my day. It was made easier by Adam and Mieke sending me encouraging messages to keep me motivated and smiling. I arrived home with my Garmin letting me know that I’d achieved 176 kilometers. I was so glad to be home. All I wanted to do was eat and recover. After a much needed shower I become over come with nausea and got myself to bed so I didn’t vomit.
Riding with a bud
Cycling though cold English rain
One clean, one with mud
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