Still in Scotland….

Dinner last night saw most of us attack the carvery – it was Sunday after all: roast gammon and beef never tasted so good! Post-dinner debates concluded that time trialling was probably not compatible with a JOGLE ride. As the Olympics are now over and 926 miles is quite a long way, I’m thinking this is probably quite sensible!

So day 4…..

An 8.30 start this morning and changeable weather. Michael Fish-Griffiths normally forecasts this, as a safe option, but today he was right. We kept fairly dry, but the wind today was a killer, and more often than not came straight at you. Combine this with the worst road surfaces of the trip so far, and bleak, desolate landscapes and you get an idea of the scale of today’s challenge.

The first 20 miles were a welcome relief from yesterday’s frenetic pace. Cycle paths running along the old railway line, and then alongside the canal brought us slowly into Glasgow. We then fought our way through the city streets and to the harbour. Constant stopping and starting was frustrating and time consuming, but there was no shortage of sights, particularly around the docks.

Simon kept us amused with a comedy fall at the traffic lights, a bit like the one described yesterday. One minute he was beside me, the next I heard a muffled whimper and watched him crash onto the street. I don’t think much else than pride was hurt but it was very funny and something of a tonic for seven guys seriously beginning to struggle with the stresses and strains of 300-plus miles under the belt.

The fall must have shaken him as later in the day he was clearly exhausted, as this photo shows.

What’s more the local livestock were deeply unimpressed…

Today saw some pretty tough climbs with at least one category 4 and even a 5. The rating of a climb comes from a calculation done relating to steepness and length, but in essence should be used as a warning to sane people to avoid unnecessary physical damage to their bodies. Pro-cyclists (Lewis and Neil) actually go out of their way to find the steepest hills and then race up them…..beats me! Choosing a route for this ride critically involved a large iron and an attempt to minimise the hill climbing. We will however experience category 3, 4 and 5 hills which translate as follows:

  • Category 5 – flippin steep, not attempted by normal people
  • Category 4 – flippin long and steeper, as above
  • Category 3 – flippin longer, steeper and carry a severe health warning

After the stops and starts of Glasgow, we hit open countryside again and picked the pace up. Over 50 or so miles we experienced, once again, the contrasts of beauty and bleakness that sum up the Scottish countryside.

Sorry, did I forget to mention recently that we’re still in Scotland?

So day 4 is done, and it has been one of our hardest: this was a long and tiring section that saw us finish late at 7pm. Everyone is beginning to feel it, even Lewis. Bodies are seriously aching, we’re dealing with cramp and strains and I’m on the hunt for a double knee transplant. For continuity (more tomorrow) we’re staying at the Premier Inn Dumfries tonight, I think we’ll all be in bed early. Forecast is wet tomorrow (joy) and there’s a rumour we might be crossing the border (deep joy!).

ROADSIDE NEWS

  • Chain incidents x 1
  • Dog severing x 2
  • Puncture x 1 (Neil)
  • Glass – Glasgow was covered in it – (clearly lots of drinking and fighting goes on here)
  • Labrador – asleep or not well?
  • Severed rabbit – definitely not well