Day 6 – Leyland to Penrith


Derek: Breakfast today was fantastic – home made porridge, with banana’s and a nice cup of tea – a cyclists dream!

Today was another long ride – somewhere around 85-90 miles. The ride was more up and down than recently, but this actually helped us as we didn’t have to peddle constantly.

On the way, we got to have a couple of races. The first was with a girl aged about 7 who tried in vain to keep up for about 30 yards. The second was with a slightly older young lad – probably about 10 – who was very persistent and really tried to race us. We did eventually get bored and put our feet down – fortunately we did actually manage to pull away.

Lunchtime was in Kendal (where they make the mint cake). We managed to find a nice pub just the other side of the town. Jayne went in to order our food and when she told the waitress to just look for the two guys outside in bright blue lycra, got a rather confused/excited(?) look back.

It was at this point that we realised (a) we had planned one of our longer rides through the lake district area and (b) 60 miles into the ride we would have to cycle up Shap, a mere 1400 feet of hill (mountain!).

So, with grim determination, we set off to cover the next 30-40 miles of our ride and to face the beast which I have now renamed Shrek.

Shrek was, as it turned out, pretty horrid. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sheer climb of 1400 feet – more a series of climbs and winding roads, going up 2-300 feet at a time. Eventually, we made it to the top with much relief and very very red faces. The good news was that the other side of Shrek was quite a long fast descent – definitely more enjoyable than the way up, provided you could dodge the motorbikes coming the other way on the wrong side of the road at over 120mph! (I did wave a one nicely, but only had the energy to wave with one finger).

After Shrek, things continued to be bumpy for a good few miles. We went through Penrith and out the other side. I have had to confess to Mike though that, in Penrith itself, I (or rather, the Sav Nav, honest!) took us the long way around the town centre up some very steep hills. After getting back on-route, I realised we could have just went straight through and avoided most of it. oops.

After that, we just did a few more miles before stopping and heading off to the B&B which is quite a quaint place in completely the middle of nowhere. I mean – no mobile signal! What’s that all about!

Mike is on the phone right now, but has asked me to let you all know that his knee is feeling much better today, and thank you all for your concern.

Mike: Starting this morning was better than expected. The terrain was very good for us with a few small undulations and lots of flat. We made excellent time through to Preston and beyond. At one point we stopped in a fuel station for a toilet break and received the attention of a very nice chap who was filling his car. He was very interested in what we were doing and was keen to sponsor us although we didnt have anything with the web address on it, so recited it to him a couple of times. I hope he remembers it.

During the course of the morning, both Derek and I had the same unusual experience – a fly up the nose! Not pleasant.

Before long we were in Cumbria and the terrain got more bumpy. By the time we got to Kendal we had covered over 50 miles in the warmest conditions so far. Both of us were tired but I was more concerned at how smelly I must have been (I could smell myself so what others thought I daren’t think)

So on to Shap, a tough climb but what a feeling on reaching the top. I felt like a real cyclist!
The problem with that climb is not just the ascent which is gruelling to us non-club types, but almost worse were the midges which seemed to get everywhere.

The road from Shap to Penrith has its share of undulations too so by the time we got beyond the town, I was hot, tired, smelly and ready to drop into a bath (and that’s exactly what I did).

Tomorrow we reach Scotland and in theory its a short day – but we are allowing for a few little hills between us and the destination.

Beer of the day: Cumberland Ale by Jennings (Brewed in Cockermouth). Pale and gentle, like honey with a bramble finish. (Yes, ok!)


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