Sunday, 10 June 2012

SOME PICTURES OF THE RIDE FROM EDINBURGH

JOHN & I WITH 'ARTHUR'S SEAT' EDINBURGH IN THE BACKGROUND BETWEEN US
Very hot and sunny was the weather we experienced for most of this ride....only on one day towards the latter part of the ride did we have any rain. 
After all the hot weather, it at first seemed like a nice cooling relief.....however by the end of that day we were fed up with riding soaked to the skin.....it could have been worse 
...it could have rained every day. 
A SHORT STOP ON THE FIRST DAY
But as I've said, hot and sunny for most of the ride. So hot in fact that John got badly sunburned over the first couple of days. 
Not so bad riding in hot weather if you can maintain a reasonable speed, but the problems occur when you come up against a stiff gradient or even a mid range gradient that just goes on and on........
SCOTLAND / ENGLAND BORDER ON THE A68
Getting up to this border point on the A68 road made us both sweat a bit.....As we approached it you could just see a coach making it's way up the zig-zags to the top...it looked a bit like a Dinky toy to us when we were at the bottom....we knew then that we were going to have to put a bit of effort in.......
JOHN APPROACHING THE TOP
I actually quite liked this hill....I found a nice comfortable gear ratio and managed to keep spinning    all the way to the top...the views were splendid and as if a reward for the efforts made, there was a mobile tea/coffee stall waiting for both of us at the summit. 
JOHN ARRIVING AT THE BORDER
Hills are not one of John's favourite aspects of road cycling...but even he enjoyed the ride to the top of this one. It wasn't a huge gradient but seemed to go on for quite a way... Just look at that splendid scenery in the background behind John......
THE STONE MARKING THE BORDER
The border point seems to be a popular stopping point for a lot of travellers along the A68 road. Quite a few motorcyclists stopped for a tea and cake whilst we were there enjoying the same, as well as numerous car drivers... 
While we were there we got talking to a police officer who had also pulled in for a tea break and he told us some of the things for us to look out for on the rest of our route over the next few days.....he warned us of more hills to come....some of them quite stiff gradients. 
JOHN READING THE INFORMATION BOARD AT THE BORDER.
The great thing about riding up a good hill is the fantastic descent that you can expect.....The descent from the top of the border point was not the fastest, due to a badly broken top surface of the tarmac but even so we managed to hit the low forties.
EASIER TO WALK JOHN?
On day two we hit some of the steep hills that the police officer at the border had told us about. Day two seemed like hill after hill after hill. 
Towards the end of that days ride we were both feeling the strain of all the hills. 
In the picture above John has decided to walk up this hill.....
I had managed to cycle up it...just!  
I should be so smug, as a few miles further along at the next steep gradient I also had to get off as well.....I would say that we were both pretty much exhausted by the time we reached that evenings campsite.....
CAMPSITE AFTER DAY TWO'S RIDE
Most of the campsites that we stayed at seemed pretty good with good facilities.....
At a number of them the owners/managers reduced our fees when they heard that we were riding for a charity. 
The worst of the sites that we stayed at was a C&CC certificated site near Coventry. The facilities were sadly lacking with no hot water except in the shower...and no toilet paper in the loo for most of our stay. 
In order to add insult to injury the owner of the site charged us £12.00 each for our one night stay....a real rip off!!
JOHN MEETING THE WELCOME PARTY AT NORTHALLERTON
As I mentioned in a previous post....this was essentially a charity ride for the Royal College of Surgeons and as such John had arranged to meet up with various Surgeons and Masonic representatives along the route.....In the above photo, John (in the red top) can be seen meeting various Masons from local lodges at the Friarage Hospital at Northallerton.
OUR CAMPSITE AT NORTHALLERTON
When we arrived at the campsite in Northallerton the weather was still hot and sunny....after a couple of hours of being on site the weather had started to show some signs of change as can be seen from the cloud building up....luckily the next morning the cloud had gone and didn't return for another day or two....
JOHN AND I WITH ROB
Whilst staying at the Northallerton site we met a guy called Rob....
He was on route cycling from Montrose to see his family in Leeds.... 
If ever there was a good advert for ordinary paper maps it was Rob. 
We left the site before him and about 25 miles later we came upon this tea/coffee stall and Rob!! 


Although he had left the site after us and was only using 'old technology' paper maps, he had beaten us to this point and he was riding a touring bike that was fully loaded with panniers etc. 
We had Garmins on the bikes as well as various GPS and Android phones with mapping in the back up vehicle and with all of this so called new technology, we had still managed to take some wrong turns ending up with us having to turn around and ride an additional 3 miles just to get back on track..... 
It was a pleasure to meet you Rob and I wish you well for the future....
JOHN DOING A BIT OF BIKE MAINTENANCE
On a couple of days we managed to finish the days riding with a bit of time in hand to spend checking the bikes. 
The bikes both performed well throughout the ride....however during the last couple of days, John did suffer with a gear shift problem caused apparently by the fact that Specialized cross over the gear cables as they run along the down tube....
I had noticed this on John's bike some time ago and had voiced my thoughts that it might be a good idea to sort it out....
The bike had run fine until between Coventry and Oxford when John was finding it increasingly more difficult to get the chain up onto the large front gear ring.... We had failed to sort it and on the last day John popped in to a Bike shop who kindly sorted it for him free of charge.
JOHN OBTAINING A SIGNATURE AT THE HOSPITAL IN NOTTINGHAM

BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Both John and I found this ride tough.....Towards the latter part of the ride I suffered a really bad case of 'the bonk'. 
Completely running out of energy I found it a real struggle to carry on cycling. 
We stopped at a garage shop so that I could 'replenish the tank' and I did manage to recover to some extent... 
This was the first time in the years that John and I have been cycling together that he left me standing....
Looking back on the ride I know exactly what caused it....
Not enough sleep/rest between each stage and  insufficient food. 
I was burning up between 4500/5500 calories a day and was not managing to put back in anywhere near that amount......result....slowing to a halt!
JOHN TAKING A REST

WHO IS THIS THEN...?
At our last campsite about 14 miles south/east of Oxford we received a surprise visitor..... It was Jason who had ridden with us on Team 219 when we rode the Atlantic Coast Challenge Ride back in 2009. He had decided that his Kawasaki needed a bit of a run and what better thing to do than to ride up to see us and taunt us with a bike with a proper engine.....It was great to see him and a fantastic surprise on the last evening.......
TRAVELLING THE LENGTH OF THE COUNTRY ?.....USE ONE OF THESE..!


14 comments:

limom said...

Awesomeness!

jeff said...

Great pictures! I love the views from the border stop.

Robert Rodgers said...

Hi. I love the photo of me and my touring bike with you guys at the lay by snack bar.
I am pleased you did so well with your trip. I won't give up touring but I am going to have a go at a long ride over several days without a load.
Glad you all finished safely. Take care.
Robert.

Hellag said...

great, did you get the first place??? :)

Trevor said...

*limom*
Awesomeness of pain I call it..!!

*jeff*
Yes...The views from the top of that hill were pretty stunning...

*Robert Rodgers*
Fantastic to hear from you Rob.
It was nice to have met you and I enjoyed our cycling conversations at Northallerton..
Keep in touch and let us know what future rides you plan on doing...just use the comments box.
Oh...and by the way....we will be buying a decent map before our next ride..Ha..Ha.

Trevor said...

*Hellag*
This wasn't a race....but if it had been I would have been well down the field......

Chandra said...

Trevor:
The photos look great and I am glad you guys had a great ride and a great time. I especially like the picture of your friend John, behind the bicycle wheel.

Paz :)

Paul said...

Trevor, great job finishing the ride. What type of gearing did you have on the bikes?

Trevor said...

*Paul*
Thanks Paul...

Both of us were using Shimano 105 triple chainsets 50/39/30
I was using a 12/25 cassette and John was using a 12/27 cassette.

Paul said...

In my best days, I would never have been able to use those gears. I'll take my Shimano XT 46/36/26 and my 12/36 cassette, when it comes to climbing.

Trevor said...

*Paul*
On my Revolution touring bike when doing fully loaded tours I use Shimano Deore/XT 48/36/26 with an 11/32 cassette.
I found that perfectly adequate for the Pyrenees last year.....but then I am one of those crazy people who loves hills....

-Trevor

Trevor said...

*Chandra*
Yes...It's not often that you would catch John doing a bit of bike tinkering......

J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

A mammoth post covering a mammoth achievement. At least you covered the border hill from the more interesting direction. In my opinion the A68 is the only route into Scotland !
Jason must be getting soft in his old age !

Trevor said...

*J_on_tour*
To my knowledge Jason has not been on a 'proper' bike for over a year. As you say "getting soft in his old age".