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Published: September 26th 2007
Got up early and headed out into the Birmingham rush hour traffic. Talk about take your life in your hands; nearly got killed three times at the same roundabout. Unlike London they don't really go in for traffic lights at roundabouts and on a bike it becomes lethal. We've also discovered a large number of people drive like twats, it really makes you reassess how you drive in relation to cyclists.
It was so cold this morning that we ended up stopping in Sutton Coldfield and buying some tracksuit bottoms (well OK leggings - but we look the nuts in them and they're warm so we don't care!) The guys in the shop were brilliant and gave us a good deal because we were dong it for charity and I'll put the name of the shop in next time as I can't remember what it was called and I'm using my cousin's computer- but if you're ever in that area and need sportswear they are the place to get it.
But this has been a bad day, we got to Lichfield around 1130 and stopped for a coffee and bite to eat. We were then planning to get to Ashbourne for lunch and call in on my sister. After that we thought we'd push on to Buxton for our overnight stop. However, the constant headwind that has dogged us practically from the beginning, was just relentless today. Roads that we should have reasonably expected to be hitting at about 15 - 20 mph were only getting to 9 or 10 and at one point I was going at 10 mph and one gust reduced me to 3 in two revolutions. The A515 to Ashbourne took over three and a half hours (to cover just over 24 miles and we didn't get there until just before four in the afternoon.
There was no chance of getting to Buxton and as I was born there I phoned my auntie Ivy and we are staying with her and my uncle Cecil tonight in a village called Waterhouses. Gareth knows them from Gemma's wedding so it's all worked out OK and we've had a good evening with them and my cousin Peter and his wife Geraldine.
Psychologically this has been the worst time; we had a bad day yesterday and the stuff we've read and the people we've spoken to who've done this have all indicated that the first two to three days are the worst. We have both been at a really low ebb today and the constant battering into the wind has been very demoralising. For me certainly, this has been bad news - we were up early to put some miles on, we didn't get close to where we wanted to be, my left knee is killing me and the wind was awful. The main effect of my knee has been I can't get out of the saddle and pump up the hills which has knocked even more time down.
The first couple of days we were really up for it and it was new but now it's a real grind and although we've done over 350 miles we know we've got twice that to do again and that is hard to get our heads round. On the positive side though, we're way ahead of schedule and we already have at least one day in hand if we need it.
But overall I have to say today I hated every minute of it and couldn't wait to get off and have a shower and Gareth was down today at lunch time as well. Tomorrow though we'll be up early and out ignoring the weather forecast that has the northerly wind increasing and we'll be pushing on towards Manchester. Despite the real struggle over the last two days we've not at any time thought even for a second about giving up (sorry to those who have the southern half of the country in the sweepstake lol) and it's going to take more than a bit of wind to end this particular endeavour.
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