Glasgow to Carlisle - 105 miles
With any multi-stage race it's almost inevitable that there's going to be an 'off-day.' It might be where you run out of energy, you can't get your food down, your kit (or bike) goes wrong or you just. Well, I'm hoping that this was the day.
I say hope, because it wasn't exactly 'difficult', rather it was tiresome and somewhat boring. In fact, if I had to describe the feeling, it would be one where we'd all been told off by the teacher and subsequently punished by making us cycle down a ridiculously badly paved road, in the rain, into a headwind, and with enormous lorries whizzing by at alarming speeds.
There was a stretch of road, that is simply described as the 'red coloured bit' after one of the checkpoints that was so badly surfaced, that I doubt anyone managed to go faster than 8 MPH. I had to constantly check to see if everything was still attached to the bike, it was that bumpy.
Leaving Glasgow in rush hour was a bit of a challenge. Having decided to cycle with the 'fast group', we had the added challenge of passing not only the other cyclists, but avoiding all the traffic. Indeed, I think there might also have been the odd motorist cursing us as they rushed to work, trying to pass 700 cyclists.
It took over 2 hours to reach the first checkpoint at the 32 mile point - which happened to be at a service station. It was at this point the heavens decided to open a tiny bit, perhaps thinking the headwind wasn't enough to keep us entertained. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was trying to do some social media work whilst stuffing a sandwich down my grid, I lost the original group and found myself cycling on my own for about 30 miles.
It was pretty hard work. My legs were fine, but mentally, I was hitting a wall, trying to relieve the boredom of the straight roads with no views. But having had a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to wipe the grimace off my face and replace it with a smile - after all, I wasn't going to let a tiny bit of wind and crappy road surface ruin my cycle ride.
But fast forward 70 odd miles, I can tell you that I was very very happy to cross that finish line - which happens to be at Carlisle Race Course.
It would appear that I'm not the only one to feel totally and utterly exhausted. Having wracked up close to 440 miles, we're all feeling the fatigue. There are also quite a few comments about blisters on bottoms, one very amusing chap describing his like the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings.
Tomorrow is a stonker of a day - 122 miles down to Aintree Race Course. It's going to be long and I think rather tiring by the sounds of things. However, as I'm quickly discovering, there is No Easy Day on the Deloitte Ride Across Britain'