Day 3 – 79 miles from Tiverton to Clevedon
Day 4 – 74 miles from Clevedon to Tewkesbury
Firstly, we are alive and kicking!
We hadn’t quite anticipated the uproar that would ensue with an absent day 3 blog (we thought only our mums read it!), but we can confirm that we are absolutely fine, still pedalling and back with a day 3 and 4 combo blog. The reason for an absent day 3 is because it was Sally’s birthday on Tuesday and the tapas and white Rioja sponsored celebrations greatly distracted Abbie (in charge of day 3 blog). Huge error which will not be repeated. Apologies all round. Although it is worth mentioning that our days are rather jam-packed when we add in bike maintenance, logistics, dinner and attempts at an early night so we are a little behind on checking in with some of you too, sorry!
To account for blog tardiness, however, we thought we’d succinctly summarise for you our highlights and lowlights of the two days.
• Team Ignition. Living up to their name and getting the LEJOG party started on day 3. We had Lizzie, Mike and Ben join us for 80 miles of glorious Devonshire and Somerset countryside. None of the team had done huge amounts of cycling before and committing to 80 miles was an incredible ask. They all completed the leg with smiles on their faces and celebratory ciders in hand, if with questionable levels of energy gels in their veins (plus unicorn horns on their helmets in honour of the LEJOG birthday, although we note they look a bit dodgy in pics they are definitely unicorn horns). We loved having the team with us and can’t thank Ignition enough for their support.
• Zara and Coach Matt taking time from their fleeting trip from Dubai to the UK for a wedding to pick up part of our route on day 4 and cycle 60 odd miles with us through Gloucestershire, including joining us for a lovely lunch by the river (our first chance we’ve had to stop and have lunch!). You guys are epic!
• Friendly folk everywhere, including a chap (Ken) flagging us down on the side of the road and handing Abbie £20 for our fundraising. If anyone ever needs a place to stop in rural Somerset then Ken is your man and any friend of ours is a friend of his, apparently.
• David and Jane cycling out to us each day on legs 3 and 4 (and we hope 5!) to join us for the last 20 miles of our day. A much needed boost when we start to flag a bit.
• Sally’s birthday dinner with the aforementioned tapas and white Rioja, a Beatles singing twin double act, but more importantly our superstar support crew of David, Jane, Lee and Jo. Sal also wants to thank everyone for the birthday wishes which were no less forthcoming despite her being far from home – thanks guys!
• Gravel. We thank Roy for the safety of his route, but it often takes us along canal paths with varying degrees of “path”. Ranging from relatively smooth loose gravel on day 3, day 4 saw us wishing we had mountain bikes (let alone hybrids) and considering rerouting any canal paths which come up again.
• Hills, both up and sometimes down (but mainly up).
• 3 punctures. 2 caused by gravel (and possibly the fact that, as it materialised during the change, the guilty tube on Mike’s borrowed bike had already been repaired a record-breaking four times) and the third created while fixing puncture one and accidentally over inflating a tyre with co2 gas, exploding said tyre, and almost bursting Abbie and Lizzie’s ear drum while Sally was in a field for a comfort break (of course).
• A woman losing her mind at us in a bakery because we asked if it would be possible to fill our water bottles. They did, whilst shouting at us (even though we bought all their sausage rolls and gave them more money for the water). Very odd.
• When hesitating at the base of a hill on day 3 (while looking for our hotel after 79 miles of cycling, which was obviously at the top) hearing a man mutter under his breath ‘it’s not even steep’. Cue seven glares from seven tired cyclists.
• The weirdest B&B with the angriest woman running it in Clevedon that made us feel like we were in Fawlty Towers. Needless to say we were delighted that David and Jane had made alternative dinner plans for us all at their end of town.
• The horrific industrial wasteland skirting Bristol we had to cycle through on day 4 – thankfully no ringers in tow. And did we mention Gravel?! And hills…? Even the novelty value of the former wore off for Matt and Zara after a mile and a half… sorry team.
So where does that leave us? We are now (when written not posted!) in Gloucestershire enjoying the delights of a Wetherspoons hotel and getting ready for day five. For those that are counting that is county number five, in four days and 300 miles down. Not bad. Day five blog coming tomorrow…
Lots of love
Abs & Sal