This morning was somewhat chillier than the last two so Boo curled up in my jacket outside Monmouth Leisure Centre whilst we organised the tandem, drinks, food, etc and then found the warmer layers.
Double Trouble was admired by some of the students arriving at the local school as we pedalled past them at school drop off time.
We should have realised after the excellent downhill run into Monmouth late last night that there would be an uphill to follow. And after the experiences of the first three days we were definitely expecting that every down must go up. However we weren’t expecting it to become so fierce before we’d been in the saddle 15 minutes.
When you are driving it is very easy to admire the view of the rolling hills through Herefordshire and Shropshire. When you know you are going to be proceeding under your own power the hills become a little more intimidating. Boo was feeling stronger, working harder, and claims that her rear has hardened 9we assume this means that she is no longer feeling the ‘long time in the saddle’ pain that has plagued her until now. She certainly didn’t comment as much about it, so maybe the advice we read about the first three days preparing you for the rest of the ride is true. We’ll let you know once we’ve tested our theory.
We had hoped to reach Ludlow before 12 to give us time for a picnic and a visit to Isla Bikes. We didn’t make it to Isla bikes but did manage a picnic and, more importantly, met with two cycling friends from Shropshire. We assured Roger that he is responsible for our LEJOG ride as he was my cycle magazine reading schoolfriend who first introduced me to the two-wheeled sport. It was great to reminisce about rides, accidents, equipment failures, and, to discuss the pros & cons of bike brands.
All four of us rode together to Church Stretton where John had to peel off for home; then the three of us continued on a route that Roger recommended to Condover where he headed home (unfortunately into a rain storm but hopefully he did not get too drenched).
By this stage we had two cars following us so we paused to double check plans and our ETA for reaching Dave Mellor Cycles. Of course this was just as the heavens opened. Thankfully Grandad had umbrellas in his car but, much to Boo’s amusement, it isn’t easy to co-ordinate brolly, tandem and phone so one of my gloves landed in a puddle. As you can see Boo was hugely sympathetic!
It was a surprisingly quick ride through the rain to our planned end point and the sun came back out in time for us to take our Team Tandem photographs outside the shop I remember being an important part of any visit to Shrewsbury growing up.
Mel kindly prepared us a much needed brew and Boo was delighted with this mug!
She also enjoyed browsing the store as much as I did on family Shrewsbury shopping trips. Boo quickly spotted a supply of the one flavour of energy gel she will eat. Knowing that we still have Shap to come we bought a few drink supplies and added in some more energy gels for Boo. It was wonderful to see family at our finish point cheering us on. Thinking of you will help us through our tougher sections.
Tonight we are staying with my parents so enjoyed plenty of pampering (and I felt like a returning student as I handed over some laundry) and collected some of the funds they have raised from their friends and neighbours. The boost of their collections takes us clse to the £1500 mark for each charity which is brilliant news.
Tomorrow we head to the National Cycle Centre in Manchester and visit the Velpodrome.