I’m feeling a bit more refreshed, sat in my Travelodge room with a cup of tea and having had a stupendously good shower. I almost feel guilty about the amount of water I’ve just sent rushing to the sea. It was like a firehose! Anway, enough plugging of Travelodge.
I woke this morning feeling distinctly grumpy and tired, having had a rubbish night’s sleep, and feeling very achy and lacking energy. It was then a bit of a challenge to pack up, get showered, breakfasted, check I’ve not left anything behind again, and get going before my deadline of 8.30. This is just my reality for the next few days though, gotta suck it up! I can’t say I was particularly happy as I carried my bags over to the bike and clipped them on.
I must say a huge thank you to my friend Marie who hosted me last night, she fed and watered me very well indeed! Last night was salty roast chicken, cream sauce and pasta – with leftovers for lunch today!
Here’s the obigatory morning selfie, note my boundless energy that comes across in this picture:
I got on my bike though, and the first turn of the pedal put a smile on my face. Just getting moving helps shake the grump away. It might be a bit of a physical challenge, but I don’t have to think too hard about it, all I have to keep doing is turning the pedals and don’t get lost.
This was all helped by looking at the map and realising I had what looked like a nice route into Birmingham, albeit with a bit of a headwind according to the forecast.
And so it proved, I wasn’t sure how far it was but as I started eating up the miles it became clear that this wasn’t going to be a killer day. In fact I really enjoyed it on the whole. Nice roads, not too hilly, lovely scenery and I managed to sit by the river in Stratford and eat my lunch in a spot of sunshine. This is about the first time I’ve been warm on the whole trip!
The bike enjoying its well earned rest…
And me, looking a bit more cheeful.
I also took the decision early on that I wasn’t going to stress about how quickly I could make it in. Yesterday – partly because I left Bristol 2 hours late (Blimey, I was in Bristol yesterday?) and because I wanted to arrive as early as I could to get some washing done – I raced myself into Oxford, trying to up my average speed all the time.
Consequently, although I enjoyed the ride, by the time I arrived I was shattered. Today however, I realised that I had no time pressure, and there was no point in pushing myself too hard. So I just sank into a nice rhythm and let the miles take care of themselves.
After all, it’s not me against the clock (on most days at least) it’s me against fatigue! I need to have legs left to tackle some of the harder days that are coming up next. Birmingham – Manchester, Manchester to Nottingham, and Nottingham to Cambridge are the three days in the middle of the tour that I fear the most, either of them on their own would be bad enough.
I nearly forgot – STAT ATTACK! My final total yesterday was about 82 miles, I say about, as my computer failed (and then came back to life) on my way to the gig, and I forgot to put it back on at the end of the gig. These computers are horribly unreliable, I spent hours trying to swap sensors over between by bikes so I might have one that worked for the tour, and I’m concerned it might fail on me before the end. Sounds silly, but it makes a huge difference psycologically when I’m riding to know how many miles I’ve covered, and when I can take my next break. Anyhoo, it’s working for now. Enjoy the stats while you can! So today I did 64 miles at an average of 12.3 miles an hour. I was at about 12.6 until the last few miles into Brum and traffic lights and roundabouts etc interfered. Anyway, given the headwind, and my new chilled approach, I’m pretty pleased with that. Hopefully I’ve saved some legs for tomorrow… I think that makes one million miles done so far on the tour, or rounding down, about 246.
So yeah, it’s been a nice day, even getting into Birmingham itself wasn’t too bad. I’ve got a few more hours to kill before the gig, I think I’ll spend them stuffing my face if I can. GIVE ME CALORIES!
Big day tomorrow, but before then, I can’t wait to see what the Birmingham gig has in store. It’s got a lot to live up to after the first three.