Thursday, 7 May 2009

C 2 C. Day 1.

The night before the coast to coast was meant to be quiet and relaxing. I was staying down at my grans to make it easier for us all to rendezvous in the morning for the van pickup and Granny B was cooking a hearty supper of Spag Bol to give us some fuel for bike ride. As soon as my Uncle Mark suggested we had a glass of wine to 'calm the nerves' I knew the start of the ride would be one accompanied with a hangover. 3 Bottles of wine, half a bottle of vodka and some rum all the way from the Dominican Republic later I finally got to bed. It literally felt like I had blinked before I was up at 5.45am and in the car heading up to Steve's house to drop off the car with Mark and load the bikes into the van.
Once we picked up the skipper John Smith we were ready to roll, only thing being I had left my bag back at Steve's in the car. Bugger. So we had to double back and wake up Steve's wife Pauline to get it out the car. Finally we were on the road.
As I was the youngest of the 4 I volunteered to go in the back of the van with the bikes even though I was a bit dubious as it was pitch black back there and with this hangover I thought motion sickness would get a hold of me. Luckily with a couple of pillows and a blanket thrown in the mix I was fast asleep before we left Newcastle's city limits for Workington on the west coast.

It was more comfortable that it looks honest

If me forgetting my bag was the first piece of bad luck for the day then the second one was only round the corner, literally. I can't be sure but I recall dreaming about being in a car crash while getting some shut aye in the back of the van. As chance would have it suddenly there was an almighty smash somewhere near my head and the sound of Mark shouting "FUCK!". The van came to a stop on the side of the road, there was panic coming from the cab as Mark was not meant to be driving the rental van as it was under Steve's name. Somehow they managed to get out and the driver of the other vehicle didn't seem to notice that Steve didn't get out of the drivers side!

Luckily no one was hurt

Mark points out the damage to the rental van

After finally arriving at Workington Steve had to give the rental guy the story about what happened as we got the bikes out. The third piece of bad luck of the morning was that Mark had a puncture straight out of the van, could have been from the bikes bouncing during the collision I suppose. After that was sorted we were finally ready to get started on the 3 day ride. We made our way down to the start point in Workington, Mark dipped his back wheel in the Irish sea to make it official, despite the gale force winds that were blowing..

Theres a storm brewin'

Once we got started we were full of beans and the first couple of hours flew past, the wind was behind us and we were going strong. That was until it started completely pissing down for the rest of the day. It was pretty hard going with a good few hill climbs and all of us were feeling the strain, not least Steve who looked like a broken man by the time we crawled into Keswick for lunch. By this point we were soaked through and miserable and had to console ourselves with steak bakes and cups of tea from Greggs.

After a sausage and bean melt, cheese pasty and traditional Cornish pasty along with a change of pants I was good to go. The rain was still lashing down but we had no choice other than to grit our teeth for the last 25 miles of the day.

This hill was about a mile and a half long. Bleak!

The Lake District: wet

In a rather typical fashion the sun decided to show its face just as soon as we were in spitting distance of our destination; Penrith.

Finally the sun shows up

The Albany B&B we stayed in in Penrith was amazing. The landlady had the radiators blazing to dry our shoes and took all of our wet clothes and washed them for us. The showers were hot and the beds were comfortable. Sorted. We got changed and headed out for a few ales. No sooner had we walked into the first bar we attracted the attention of the village idiot. His toothless banter and thick Cumbrian accent was hard to take after a hard days cycling so we left after the first pint, although our impersonations of the piss head continued well into the trip.

The guard dog of the pub keeps watch over the bar..

To round the night of we went for an Italian. I was in need of some hearty fare so ordered as quickly as I could. Sadly the food was below par and overpriced, my languistine pasta dish was especially shit so we ended up complaining to the cocky waiter who knocked a fiver off the bill. Not happy with this level of service I decided to take a little memento to ensure I got my moneys worth..


Joe said...

guard dog = naughty

Anonymous said...

the dag looks like a smiths man

Anonymous said...

fuckin login wont work ^ is me. Chris B

Anonymous said...

La estafa mas grande en MEXICO. NO te vuelvas victima de por que lo que es barrato te va salir carrisimo!


Y NO te vuelvas una victima. Gracias :)