Deloitte Ride Across Britain Day 7

 

Day 7 was starting with some filming for Channel 4, the broadcaster of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. This meant a slightly later start than normal and also meant we had the event chaperones held back, to ride with us so that the film would have the sense of the mass participation event. Once the filming was over and we set off at our normal pace, Barney and I got to ride with the chaperones up to the first pit stop and it was a fantastic section of the route.

 

At Deloitte Ride Across Britain the chaperones have been the angels of the event, along with the motorbike marshals they have been the people making sure that everyone is safe on the road. The chaperones are event helpers on push bikes and they are on the road until the bitter end everyday, making sure that everyone is getting home. Sometimes they have to push the struggling riders, sometimes they have to talk them through, but whatever the weather and whatever the time of day, provided it is daylight, the chaperones are out there keeping everyone moving. They are all from Chippenham Wheelers led by Andy Cook.

 

So once our filming was done, we put the hammer down and with the help of motorbike number one, we made our way at full speed through the lanes around Hereford and towards the Forest of Dean. It was great to hammer along at 30mph and at times it felt like a Crit race as we sprinted out of corners and through villages!

 

After arriving at the first pit stop the remainder of the ride was a solo effort for me, apart from a short distance into the second pit stop when an amazing guy came whizzing past me on a downhill and sheltered me into the stop.

 

It’s got to the stage of the ride where everyone is starting to marvel at how far they have come over the past week. On Wednesday we were in the Lake District, whereas now we’re in Devon! The conversations have been about the incredible distances we’ve covered, not to mention the extra unnecessary bits, just to take in yet another climb! It’s been great to catch a few words with the other riders as we move from group to group and they are usually telling me off for riding too fast!

 

Deloitte RAB 19 June Sarah Storey

 

Today’s stage was another gruelling and very hilly slog across 117 miles from Cheddar to just past Launceston. It was the penultimate day of riding and it was very noticeable how people are now ready for the ride to be over! Although we have seen some incredible sights and will no doubt do so again tomorrow on the final leg, everyone has sore legs, knees and bottoms and for the people who have spent 14 hours a day getting through the miles, there has been very little time off the bike over these past 8 days! I really do take my hat off to the people surviving from one mile to the next. I’m getting lots more rest at the end of each day because I can finish inside 7 hours and yet I am still struggling to keep the pedals turning at times.

 

For me today’s stage was extra good because we were passing through the town of Tiverton and this is the home of one of my best friends. Joanne Railston and her husband Damian moved down to Tiverton about 6 years ago and they are sorely missed up north, so it was fantastic to be able to stop at the side of the road and have a quick chat!

 

After Tiverton the hills just kept on coming mile after mile and with a head wind added in, it meant there was very little rest before the next switch to the 39 chain ring. I was really grovelling by the time the lead motorbike found me and helped me negotiate my way through some tricky villages and narrow lanes. At one point the road was lined with grass down the middle and I was leaning towards the middle as the trees were hanging over a long way!

 

Base camp and the end of the stage was a welcome sight and I was thankful for the cooling cologne and flannel Colin was wiping me down with! The sun has been shining for these past few days though and with less than 100 miles [hopefully] ahead of us tomorrow everyone here is looking forward to seeing Land’s End!

 

Thanks to Sarah Storey www.onthedrops.com

 

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