Tuesday, 19 May 2009

C 2 C. Final Day

Everyone was up early doors keen to get on the road and homeward bound for the final day of our trip. After the morning showers and deep heat application we headed downstairs for breakfast. Good old Stuart and his wife were busy in the kitchen preparing the full English for us. I quite enjoyed Stuarts offering but it was never going to win any prizes, especially after following the excellent breakfast we had had the previous morning. We kindly declined the offer of a packed lunch for the pricey sum of £4 per head and we got on our way. The stay had been very pleasant but we all agreed that Stuart shouldn't give up his day job as a postie just yet.
Cycling out of Allenheads it was a glorious morning and the mood was upbeat in the group as the end was in sight. It wasn't going to be plain sailing for us though that was for sure as the first climb we encountered out of the village was a beast and took about 25 minutes to reach the top at a crawling pace.




A pile of rocks is the only reward you will recieve for reaching the top

From here we had a nice stretch of downhill for a good few miles passing through the next valley and small villages. The roads were deserted so we could go as fast as our little legs would manage!

We passed this old mine on the way down the hill

Go on son!!

After about 45 minutes of nice easy downhill riding we were faced with a proper stinker of a hill. It really was a tough slog and even the group of riders we had dubbed 'The helmets' were struggling up ahead. The wind was howling once we reached the top and it was freezing until we came down the other side.
We checked our trusty C2C map and by the looks of things we were done with climbs for the rest of the day and indeed the trip, "the rest will be piss easy" we chuckled as we hammered down another fast downhill farm track. We couldn't have been more wrong! The skipper got it in the neck as he was in charge of map reading. This slight oversight became more apparent as the first section of the hill was out of the way, the rest of even steeper for about another mile. Everyone was knackered by the time we reached the top but we still had a mile or 2 to go before we could stop for lunch.

Halfway there..

Lunch is over the crest of that hill, must keep on keepin' on!

We finally made it to the cafe around lunch time. The place was packed out with hungry cyclists much like the Hartside Cafe was yesterday. More spandex and sweaty crotches than a Chippendale's show.

We made it at long last!

Team Bowman ready to have a romantic meal of cheese toasties, crisps and sugary piss weak tea

After lunch we double checked the map and this time we were certain that the climbs were over with, I think we had 30 or so miles to go until we got to Tynemouth and with the wind behind us I was confident we could get there in a few hours. We set off across some moorland towards Consett and we were flying. The fatigue in my legs was gone as soon as I could see Newcastle in the distance, the beauty of Westgate Road high rise sparkling in the mid day sun nearly brought a tear to my eye. From here it was gentle pathways and bridleways all the way through Consett, through the Derwentside Valley and onward to Gateshead and Newcastle.


Terris Novalis by Tony Cragg, Consett

In no time at all we passed through the sticks and started to see people in tracksuits drinking cans and spitting all over the place, we had reached Gateshead. There was one part of the track which split into 2 paths, this confused Mark and he decided to turn right at the last second going straight into a rock causing him to fly over the handlebars!


Mark going arse over tit was too much for Steve to take and he fell off laughing!

I think we made it to Newcastle Quayside at around 2.30pm, pretty good going we thought so we rewarded ourselves with a Greggs and a 15 minute break. After some pasty time we cruised the last 10 miles or so along the banks of the Tyne and got to the finish line without any problems to meet the modest welcoming party that had assembled to see us .


C2C: DONE!

After that it was straight to the pub for some well deserved refreshments. It felt class to have finished it and I'm so glad I did it. It left me wanting to do more, really fancy Land's End to John O'Groats next year with a bit of planning (and training). I recommend it to anyone it really was a top weekend. Thanks to Mark, John and Steve for a brilliant trip.



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