Day 5 of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain

 

Day 5 of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain took us along some more familiar roads, as we wound our way for 186km towards Manchester. The ride started with an ascent up the killer Kirkstone Pass and then dropped away to the east of Windemere and then onto the “Levens” TT course. The views were breathtaking throughout the ride and if it wasn’t the hills of the Lake District framed by a backdrop of clear skies, it was a view across Bolton and Manchester to the Pennines far in the distance.

 

It was the perfect day for riding and I started out with (fellow Paralympian) Jody Cundy, who was riding tot he first pit stop, where I would join up with Barney (husband and also a fellow Paralympian) who was doing from the 1st pitstop to the end. The two of them have been doing roughly two thirds of the route everyday, and that has been upwards of 75 miles a day,pretty impressive for two kilo specialists.

 

The climb up Kirkstone Pass took just over 15 minutes, so although it wasn’t long, like the climbs in the Alps, it was very steep – between 13% and 20%. Starting last meant we were once again able to say hello to people as we went by and unlike yesterday morning, when everyone’s heads had been down as they concentrated on surviving the second consecutive 130 mile day, people were in better spirits after conquering the big climb at the start.

 

It has been truly amazing and hugely motivating to ride alongside the other cyclists. Every one of them has the bit between their teeth and even if it’s taking up to 14 hours to finish stages, no one is willing to give up. As I’ve gone along the lines of riders, a few have jumped on for a tow, thanking me afterwards and telling me how awesome it is to ride that fast. It’s hard to put into words what it is like to be riding such a tough event with people who don’t ride their bikes for a living, but are doing it because they want to raise money to help with our quest for gold at the Paralympics. They are the hero’s of this event and hats off to everyone who is keeping those pedals turning and getting through each gruelling stage. This is the hardest thing I have done and so I cannot imagine how they are all feeling.

 

 

Today’s stage was bathed in wall to wall sunshine and also marked the 500th mile – halfway! As we turned to head south passing down the east side of the M6 and then crossing it to head through Garstang, we gathered a few people who were up for a tow and we soon arrived at the second pit stop, where Jody was climbing off. Barney and I didn’t hang around, the more familiar roads heading through Belmont and skirting the course for the 2002 Commonwealth Games Road Race were beckoning, but first we had to get through some cheeky climbs in the lanes to the west of the Trough of Bowland.

 

As we traversed the edge of Bolton we headed west towards Westhoughton and crossed the M61 to meet the roundabout where I’d been knocked off by a car back in January 2006. By now the roads we were riding were many of our old training roads and as the kilometres ticked by we knew what was coming ahead and that definitely made the final 40km far easier than on previous days.

 

We crossed the very familiar territory of the East Lancs road and then headed through Culcheth and Glazebury. By this time we had the lead motorbike to escort us to the finish and before we knew it we were heading over the Warburton Road bridge and the 5 miles to go sign. It was a welcome sight and all that was left was a few of the lanes near to Dunham Massey Park, that we have again used so often for training.

 

Setting off at the back meant we weren’t the first ones home today and try as I might, no matter of lifting the pace was ever going to drop Barney from my back wheel! We finished with another 30kph average speed and in 6 hours and 9 minutes, although with the longer, faster descents the power was down a bit at 180 watts average. It might have been a touch shorter than the previous two days, but there was no respite for the legs!!

 

Tonight there’s a chance to catch up with some of the local Deloitte employees, who have continued to work hard at the fundraising and there will be a cheque handed over to British Paralympics Association for the total raised so far.

 

Thanks to Sarah Storey www.onthedrops.com

 

 

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