What followed for the next few hours was quite a surreal riding experience although it's one though that I'll never forget. In this remote and distant corner of the UK, I felt more like a real adventurer than at any other time in my life.
he next stop was Hamilton but it was still 35 miles away. The road quality was still poor, and I was beginning to feel very tender. Despite an empty road, I opted for a while to ride on the cycle path that ran along side the road, not because of safety, but for comfort. Much of the segregated path was new and nicely surfaced. The road was doing me too much damage. My pace had slowed to less than 12 mph…hardly a world record pace. I was still struggling to stay awake, but I started to revive a little once dawn began to appear and the rain subsided a little.
Despite the weather, it still felt like an adventure. I would rather have stayed in bed, but the type 2 challenge of riding through the storm held some appeal at the time. After all, today was the day that I would reach Scotland, and our planned overnight stop was to be right on the banks of Loch Lomond, and I have been looking forward to waking up there since I planned the route.
I knew I needed to make sure that I didn’t scrimp on my sleep on this trip, but despite being on the road for over 16 hours, and riding almost 200 miles the day before, I was wide awake when I arrived at my hotel room. I scattered my belongings around the room, thought about my day,
The alarm went off way too early, considering this was going to be a long day. We had decided that we would travel to Cornwall and stay at my son’s house in Bodmin. It would be hassle free since he wasn’t going to be there, and it was close enough to Land’e End to be convenient...or so I thought. Unfortunately, whilst on a map it looked close, it was actually 50 miles away, and Google Maps estimated an hour & and quarter to reach Lands End. So for me that meant a grab and go breakfast to eat while we were moving.
In part 2 of my blog on mental health stories, I am reminded that even though cycling can be the most socially distanced of sports, there is something about it which can also bring people together. My Lejogle journey somehow did just that. I started the ride with just a few friends, family and audaxers having any real interest in my journey. But by the end hundreds, possible thousands were watching my 'dot' and encouraging me to the finish, regardless of whether I had passed my target time or not. They were fastinated with my struggle through the weather, through sleep deprivation, and the inevitable pain in the butt that I developed early on.