Well this time last week we were all on a bus heading to Cumbria to register for the following days ‘Coast to Coast in a Day’. I have now only just started to feel like I have recovered from what can only be described as an ‘Epic Day’!
My day began on the Saturday at 4am with a subtle alarm given by my iPad followed by the screech of the hotel fire alarm set off by Sheehan trying to only boil milk in his kettle! So apologies to all those staying at the Seacote Hotel in St Bee’s who were not taking part in the C2C and duly made their way out of their hotel in their nightwear!
I had everything ready the previous evening and was ready in plenty of time, however I needed my bottles off my bike which in the end made me last on the bus something I was made not to forget!! Sorry!
Once the bus arrived at Seascale, we were all soon off and ready to go. I could feel a mixture of nerves and adrenaline building and the rest of BDCC seemed to be in a similar state of mind. We made our way down to the bay and queued to dab our timing chips and come up the ramp for the official start. I decided to risk riding up and found the only way to stop the wheel spinning was to keep seated!
Once over the start line I headed straight up the hill out of Seascale and when I looked round the rest of BDCC were still regrouping. I wasn’t looking to hang around as I was determined to achieve a sub 10 hour ride so pressed on. My heart rate seemed higher than normal and my adrenalin was pumping like mad, but I still kept the pressure on.
I knew what lay ahead and was half excited and nervous at the same time, once I hit Hardknott I just tried to keep a steady pace all the way up. When I say steady my HR still hit over 200bpm!! I had one guy land on my back wheel as I went over the cattle grid but thankfully no damage was done and he got back up OK as well. I was given shouts of encouragement by those that had taken to pushing, I struggled to reciprocate as I needed every hole for breathing in fresh oxygen!!
Once over the top it was straight into the tough descent down over towards Wrynose, I had a few sketchy moments when I locked the back wheel up! The grind up Hardknott Pass made the ascent up Wrynose Rush actually seem easier in comparison, something you will have to do to believe me!
Then it was a somewhat rolling ride over to the ferry which took you across Windermere lake, the last descent was very greasy and I had a few hairy moments!! I later learned that our very own Steve Johnson had done an expert somersault dismount off his bike on the same stretch but thankfully he only suffered a few bruises and scratches.
Once at the ferry crossing I took the opportunity to scoff some food and drink with Gary Baugh giving me an ibuprofen for my back that was starting to twinge. There was a chap who was receiving medical treatment in the ferry shelter after he had also come to grief on the sketchy descent. His mates were providing great support by taking photos of his badly grazed backside for posterity! I heard he also finished the ride, so well done fella!
Once off the ferry I was once again away and on my own, I decided to miss the feed station at Kendal, I just stopped briefly to dab my chip timing. The Sedbergh Road climb out of Kendal was a killer and caught a few out just passed the feed, almost as bad as Hardknott!!!
I continued to press on to the next feed station at Hardraw where I took the opportunity to take on some food and refill the bottles. What a spread, I was spoilt for choice and tried a bit of everything from pork pie to cheese 🙂 Then it was back on the bike an on my way again, my heart rate back into the one seventies which if I hadn’t had all the training under my belt I would have been worried that I would hit the wall before the end!
I caught a couple of lads up just before Catterick and we stuck together for the next ten or so miles. The section North into the headwind on the A6136 at Catterick Bridge was tough and I was glad of the company. They let me go on my own on the A684 at Winton, finding out later that I was now the second man on the road with the guy in front by a good twenty minutes so not likely to catch him.
I took a brief stop at the Ingleby feed station having missed Tunstall and in my head I was now close to finishing, what I didn’t appreciate is just how tough the last thirty miles was going to be!! There seemed to be one climb after the other with each just sapping the remaining energy I had left. I was also waiting to get a view of the sea which never seemed to appear!! I was now on the last ten miles and this seemed to be the bit where I hit a low and even the most subtle of climbs had me struggling!! This lasted for about five miles and once I started to get a feel I was arriving in Whitby my legs seemed to come alive again and I was hitting 30 mph as I raced onto the seafront.
Smashed it! I had set myself a goal of doing the ride in under ten hours and not only had I achieved that I had beat 9 hours as well with a time of 8hrs 48mins. Result!!! I was so glad to roll down under the finish, get my medal and collapse on the grass!
It was a great atmosphere on the front and I watched and cheered a whole host of people I knew finishing from our very own BDCC, Lincsquad and KLCC. Everyone had done fantastic and was overall pleased with their results. I also have to give a shout out to the guy on the ‘Fat Bike’ who completed the C2C in around 14 hours and also our pal Steve Jones who completed the ride in around 17 hours.
A big thanks to the organisers and all the volunteers and helpers for such a great event and at the time I said I wasnt going to do again, however I have now already entered for 2016 with BDCC!
Find out more about the event here and get yourself entered for 2016!
Thanks for reading 🙂