August 22, 2013, by David Greenaway
The VC’s Life Cycle 3 Blog: Day 3 – Slaley to Innerleithin
Nick and I cycled 102 miles today. We hadn’t planned to do that. More later.
Overnight accommodation at Slaley Hall was very comfortable and we were joined by Susan and Jenny Wright and her boys. There had evidently been a bit of argy-bargy on room sharing arrangements. Now that Nick has an OBE, Lord Neville was very keen to room with him. But he was allocated a room with Steve, not sure why (although a common factor is issues with red lights).
I had the Day 2 blog to finish and post, so did not get away until 0900. Nick and Stefano waited for me. So we had an 8-3 formation today (Man City away I suppose). The Support team had acquired a new Garmin for Stefano: larger screen and with directions in English rather than Italian. I have included a picture of this impressive device.
We knew this was going to be a really tough day, longer than yesterday, but with much more climbing. It was, with a combination of long distances and relentless climbs and descents, and our first rain. It was also a route through the wonderful terrain of Northumberland and the Southern Uplands.
We worked our way through Hexham, Bellingham, Kielder Forest, Hawick, Selkirk and finally to Innerleithin. So the ride included a series of very distinctive market towns (including a Royal Burgh in Selkirk), some big landscapes, some dense forests and some wonderful valleys, ending up with Innerleithin in the Tweed Valley.
We stopped at the Falstone Tea Shop, an excellent location with great food and again we received spontaneous donations.
But this was a day of hard miles, made harder by the fact that Nick and I took a wrong turning and added miles unnecessarily. We had actually entrusted ourselves to Stefano and his new Garmin and I must say, he did an outstanding job. It even made me wonder whether this was a technology I could master, but it takes special skills.
Then he abandoned us just before a crucial turning, ostensibly to get back to see Jenny, but obviously to make a dash for the yellow jersey. He failed, that went to Kate who was first in, so well done Kate.
Nick and I were in last at around 1915, so again not much washing or blogging time. On the washing front I did try some advice from Bryan Steel, the Nottingham based Olympic cycling medallist, to roll shorts in a towel and wring it. It works a treat. Penelope has developed this further by jumping on the rolled towel rather than wringing it, gel pants evidently dry out even more quickly that way.
There are a range of team matters to report on. Steve was spotted leaving a Police Station in Hawick. He states he was there to find directions to Sarah’s Café, not paying a fixed penalty notice, and I have no reason to doubt that. Marion’s case is more straightforward: she rode through a red light in a road works zone on the A7, and with lots of witnesses. Someone on-site told her it was a £30 fixed penalty. Over to Paul on that one.
The main pack evidently more or less ran into a flock of sheep, which obviously became very agitated. Penelope, who has great experience with sheep in New Zealand knew what to do, and Chris ‘kettled them’ (his words, not mine) so the team could pass.
Accomplishment of the day: it would be nice to award this to me and Nick for riding over 100 miles, but that seems a bit self-indulgent. So it goes to Penelope and Chris for sorting out the sheep.
Uncharitable act of the day (formerly known as dastardly deed of the day, but some object to that) can only go to Stefano for abandoning me and Nick to try and win a yellow jersey. Leaving me is bad enough, but Professor Miles OBE is another matter – he could still be out in the wilds and miss his date with HMQ.
Team management award goes to Kate, for the expert way she mobilises those around her. The final picture is a master class in how to deal with a puncture.
Quote of the day goes to Steve, who told me ‘your blog is just a complete work of fiction’. Shooting the messenger or what?
Mileage today varied from 95 to 102, so I will record 98 as the official mileage. That takes us to 281 miles in the first three days.
Tomorrow we visit our first capital. It looks like a slightly shorter day, which will be very welcome.
Still no sign of my Forest shirt.
Professor David Greenaway
Sounds like another tough, if spectacular day. Great to have the first capital in sight – keep at it and I hope the fourth day turns out to be a shorter and slightly easier one!
Sounds like great fun! Too bad I’m away for the Nottingham leg. Looking forward to being involved next year. So the garmin is worth the extra drag then?
Another significant achievement on Day 3. Well done! Reaching Scotland must have felt like another major milestone under the belt. And Marion’s now in her on stomping ground! Go Marion!
Good for all the Scots in the team to be back in your homeland ! Really hope that everyone manages to get to Cumnock in under 100 miles . You’re really all working so hard for the donations – Well done!
Really enjoying reading the blog, I almost feel like I am there with you, (except I am sipping an espresso with my feet up on the desk) and thankfully my legs have now almost recovered. How you can do that every day is a mystery; Before Monday I had great respect for you all taking the challenge – now I think you are all just bonkers. Keep going, ride safely and enjoy ! (?).
Again well done, today the blog helped pass the time during another coffee break, I’m sure that reading about others’ hard work helps to increase fitness in the reader and so therefore allow them to eat more cake! We have a theory about the missing shirt….without naming names as we would not like to be libellous but…..do the words police bribe help at all?
Kirstie and I are working in ESLC today doing photography and filming for conferences and up popped the blog on the intranet. Hello from us!! You’re doing so well out there, and on campus we can feel its rather humid today, so that must make the going rather tough.
How are Martine’s China buddies Kate and Steve doing today?
Will keep following you all, bon voyage and may the wind be behind you all the way 🙂
Byee, Martine and Kirstie!
I can picture the lovely landscape and the market towns, not to mention the tea shops. Thanks for the tip on sat navs – I was just comparing the market and will avoid the model that Stefano uses. Day four is when walkers get blisters – is it the same for cyclists?
Over 85 miles, and and another 90+ and then another 90+!! I am trying to keep up, take it in and appreciate just how hard it must be. I really enjoyed the videos; it helped make it real – but you are all still smiling!
Its made me see doing the last leg with you in a completely different light. I need to feel the pain too! (and believe me, although its a walk in the park for you guys, it will be different for me!).
Marion – the blog is an excellent read!! but does it beat Hello?!
Well done all!
Well done on what sounds a really gruelling few days. I found the Northumbrian hills pretty arduous and that was in the car! Try to take in some of that wonderful scenery you are whizzing through if you can. Really enjoying the blogs as per usual and the videos give a real sense of your experiences. You can knock off the first capital tomorrow, only four to go! x
Great blogs. Intrigued by the Yellow Jersey competition. Will you be developing a King/Queen of the Mountains (Hills) Jersey as well? We’re sure a Polka-Dot jersey would suit one of the team. Keep pedalling.
I’d just like to confirm traffic laws apply to cyclists just as much as vehicle users and yes the spot fine is £30 for running a red or deep amber traffic light in England and Wales. If however it was committed in Scotland the penalty is different, I believe the SNP have stated that in independant Scotland you would have a choice of penalty it’s either 4 doubloons and a roll of corrugated iron or you can assist in the replacement of trident by doing 20 hours unpaid work rebuilding Hadrian’s wall.
Well done to everyone fantastic progress so far. It’s a shame your not stopping in Edinburgh as I’m sure those of the group with the right connections could have secured accomodation in Holyrood. Keep up the good work.