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Published: February 14th 2016
Another early start this morning as we were out of the start gate at 6:00 after saying a happy goodbye to the tent and sleeping mat. The strobes of the other cyclists in the dark were very atmospheric and as the sun came up over the Highlands and the purple heather sparkled we were treated to the best scenery of the ride. The tail wind helped the pace and we were motoring along for the first leg of the day.
The roads were very quiet with the only traffic being our own support vehicles and the occasional camper. It was on this leg that I came the closest to having a crash: I was second bike in the train and I hit a pot hole, whilst I was only holding on with one hand. Most of the group behind me thought I was coming off and so did I but I managed to stay on but I jarred my shoulder which was to plague me for the rest of the day.
The second leg took us up to the north coast where the day turned brutal, 20mph winds were coming from the south as we wound our way along
the coast and some short sharp climbs kept a sting in the tail. This was also one of the longest legs we had to complete at nearly 50 miles before the second stop at Thurso where I could visit the medics and get some pain relief for the shoulder. The terrain and weather split the group up but we regrouped at the second stop for the final ride in.
As we turned inland again the wind seemed to drop and the bright sunshine and probably the amount of pain-killers the medics had given me made the final leg fantastic. Everybody had smiles on their faces and it was good to catch up with some of the people I had rode with earlier on. The last few miles seemed surreal and it was hard to imagine the start only nine days before and how far we had powered ourselves. Handshakes all round and the final few moments before we rolled into to John O’Groats and the cheering crowds and the final end gate. We managed to get together for one team photo and a wee dram before we all had to rejoin the outside world and connect with our transfers.
Meg was there to see me finish which was fantastic. Total mileage 104.4, 6,284 feet of climbing, 7:31:15 riding time.
Tot: 0.075s; Tpl: 0.04s; cc: 15; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0134s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb