It has been another ridiculously long day as we needed to cover 93 miles in order to put ourselves back on track. We started pedalling at just after 8 this morning in Tiverton and finished in Monmouth about 12 hours later. We weren’t pedalling all the way as there were stops for food, drink, map checks, chamois cream top ups.
Today our spirits were boosted by the support of our family. We enjoyed a lovely night in Bridgwater with Gilly and David and were thrilled, surprised, and a little overwhelmed when we pedalled through Bridgwater and found the banner displayed for all to see. Definitely a new experience for the two of us.
Seeing the banner, and our family, gave us a nice combination of feelings –we were pleased that we had made good progress out of Tiverton; wow it’s nice that everyone is supporting us; and we got there 10 minutes ahead of the time we’d said! As Boo says “even with 3 sets of lights against us”.
We were hoping to meet Boo’s godmother in Bristol but she clearly had an early morning as she joined us on the outskirts of Taunton and then followed us to Bridgwater to wave us off by our spirit-boosting banner. Shortly after she left us near Taunton we pedalled past a church just as the bells started. It almost felt like they were meant for us so Boo joined the peal with her bicycle bell.
Our spirits were further lifted by the terrain which finally flattened out so we were able to settle into our rhythm. Getting a good rhythm together is important as it means that Boo is working harder, and that makes my reserves last longer. When we work this well together it becomes even more obvious when she sits up a bit. This at least helps me work out when she needs a boost through food, drink, chat, rest, or distraction.
It was obvious to our Support Vehicle that we were both in need of more help than the ration packs she had prepared for us when we joined her on Potter’s Hill (the hills near Bristol felt particularly fierce after the progress we had made through the flatter areas of Somerset).
Whilst awaiting our lunch at The Fox and Goose Inn Boo deomonstated that she still had excellent energy reserves by running around with the grass between her toes before practising her handstands.
I don’t think gymnastics like this will take off as a form of stretching with most cyclists.
We have lost track (even only 3 days in) of what day it is so were delighted to realise that it is Sunday and we can order the full roast.
After lunch we headed towarrds the Severn Bridge though the insutrial area of Avonmouth. Seeing a power station and the acres of cars, amongst other industrial sights, was a bit of a shock after two and a half days of more rural sights.
Did you notice that I wore my Welsh flag t-shirt for our ride into the land of my father?
This is the last photograph of us taken by our Support Vehicle today as we arranged to meet in Chepstow but that plan proved to be flawed.
She drove ahead, to do a spot of geocaching on the other side of the Severn Bridge, only to panic us by telling us that the bridge was closed. She then revised that, once she’d checked, and said it was only closed to westbound cars so the cycle/walking bridge was still functioning. This meant she had to back track to cross the M4, along with everyone else at the end of half term. Once stuck in traffic she jokingly sent us a text challenging us to reach Monmouth before her. We would not have responded well to such a challenge if it had not been for Boo’s grandparents. Grandpa shocked us as we pedalled through the tunnel into Wales. We had not expected to see him. He then thrilled Boo even more with the offer of his home-made chelsea buns. He had made a batch of 9 buns and it didn’t take us long to consume half of them.
Grandpa had not come alone, and Nanna had brought even more treats with sweet things for Boo and a splendid looking almond cake. Our ration packs will include more tasty treats again tomorrow (today we had Gilly’s cakes and flapjacks to help us through our 93 miles, and some Somerset strawberries).
Since our Support Vehicle was trapped in traffic Nanna & Grandpa stepped into the support role and encouraged us along the final 20 miles. It helped that most of this section was downhill; finally a reward for all our upward labours to date! Not only did we make it to Monmouth before our Support Vehicle, but Boo had even headed off to the hotel (since her grandparents surprised us further by staying in the same hotel this evening) with her grandparents so she had ordered her supper whilst I was finally loading Double Trouble on the roof rack. Both Boo and I were somewhat antisocial as we nearly fell asleep in our food so we were encouraged to sleep. Therefore Boo’s photographs (she was snapping away as we crossed the rivers) and comments will be added as soon as we can.
Day 3 has been quite a day. What will tomorrow bring?