We have very poor internet access so the pictures of the incredible scenery, and the riders battling up Shap, will have to wait for another day.
Both riders struggled yesterday after their accumulated efforts so far. We had a late start in Kendal because we needed to do work on the route and Boo needed a little time away from Double Trouble (she was happy to curl up and watch cartoons whilst we did the planning).
Of course the first thing they had to tackle on leaving Kendal was Shap. After all we had heard about Shap we were concerned that they might end up walking sections. The clouds opened and they were hit by wind and rain. Luckily the wind tended to be from the south, but the weather was relentless.
Boo worked hard and they managed to build a steady rhythm, used the ‘granny ring’ , and took breaks when the terrain allowed (and when Boo spotted an especially cute lamb!!). I didn’t actually reach them until Borrowdale but at least they were able to recharge batteries with the rice left from our Chinese meal and some cake made by Boo’s Nanna. We also took the necessary precaution of adding layers as we knew that the winds would chill them on the ridge.
Finally three hours after leaving Kendal we reached Shap after one of the toughest single section of our ride (so far). Mark changed his saddle to try to move the pressure points as he is struggling with the classic problem faced by riders.
It was predominantly downhill to Penrith but they were unable to enjoy all the benefits as there were some fierce crosswinds to battle. We actually paused in Penrith for hot drinks, that became paninis, and (in Boo’s case) a quick cat nap. Mark also opted to try to see if a cycling old wives tale from the Tour de France would work and bought himself a piece of frying steak.
Incredibly enough it would seem that sitting on a piece of meat really does reduce the pressure points on the sit bones to such an extent that Mark was able to keep going to Carlisle. We had another food break (the riders were delighted with the giant Scotch sultana scones I had acquired) and decided that despite the late hour, they would press on into Scotland. We identified a road running alongside the M6 and headed north once more. I got in a navigational tangle as we hadn’t prepared this section of the route so they actually managed to get in front of me.
Technically Mark was the first to reach Scotland but Boo was delighted to beat me across the border! They took photographs whilst waiting for me and then sat and had a picnic whilst I moved the bags and boxes necessary to fit them back in the car and the tandem on the roof. Boo discovered that she liked the recovery drink Mark had purchased at Dave Mellor Cycles so they shared the protein drink before we headed to our Dumfries hotel. I’m sorry that timings mean we now won’t be able to visit the oldest bike shop but we can add Dumfries to our ever increasing list of places we’d like to explore (possibly without Double Trouble).
Mark has rejigged our route (luckily tomorrow was a shorter day to Crainlarich – and predominantly flat) so we are now aiming to stop tonight in Hamilton before driving into Glasgow for photos at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and a quick freshen up in our hotel before visiting Boo’s godmother. The thought of seeing her godmother and family will keep Boo driving her legs round and has already got her moving through the shower this morning!
I suppose a few route alterations aren’t surprising considering the number of miles they have covered in one week of cycling. So week two begins in Scotland.