We arrived at Ian and Nat's house after a fun ride yesterday - but with legs that felt like neat lactic acid was coursing through our veins.  The plan had  been to have a steady ride, but once the red mist descends, I find it hard not  to go chasing someone in front, or sprint up and down the odd hill.

So by this morning, my legs were in shreds - hence the title of today's blog  - and no, it didn't mean I was celebrating early! 

We set off a tad later than  planned.  An old friend, Wayne Gardner had turned up to ride part way with us  and Mike Wall, a colleague and esteemed riding partner, was on the way.  Mike rang to say he had arrived at Gloucester train station and followed the A38 towards Quedgeley (where Ian and Nat live) but couldn't find it.  Um, I says,  maybe because Tewkesbury is north of Gloucester and Quedgeley is South.   Needless to say we didn't give Mike the job of navigating - more on this later  (and I suspect in Ian's as well).  By the way, Ian and I do our blogs without reading the other, so if we duplicate, that is just the way it comes out.

So we set off at a steady pace, with Wayne taking a lot of the wind in the early stages.  Ian was in determined mood, and clearly decided that if traffic lights wanted to turn red, that was no particular concern for him.  he was an unstoppable force.

Wayne turned off to return to his farm at Ledbury and the 3 of us continued.  It was a really strange riding experience.  We were riding very steadily, such that my heart rate was low (often under 100) but it was still hard because my legs were hurting and burning so much.  Mike kindly sat with us, with the occasional hard burst up a hill, and I told him this was an important part of
his training :)

We approached the Malvern Hills and I thought oh no, as Ian planned this leg, no doubt we will soon be heading right up the middle of them, but no, thankfully we skirted the foothills.  Mike pulled over to ask a passing stranger in Malvern where there was a decent cafe.  Ian and I cycled 20 yards further and pulled up at a cafe :)  Our sporting nutrition skills came to the fore again and I ordered a bacon and egg roll (sorry Simon).

We cracked on again in the chilly day and made good if steady progress.  Oh, I forgot to mention that we managed to ride in a complete circle through a random housing estate in Worcester with me leading, which really impressed the  others.

We stopped at a coffee house in Bewdley, Piccolo's, and had a great sandwich on focaccia bread and then onwards for the final drag to Bridgnorth, Ironbridge and finally Telford.

The route Ian chose was in the main excellent and in this section we rode through roads where the trees made a living green tunnel.  There were plenty of hills but mainly not very long and we took them in our stride.

Our planned route had changed as I thought from Bridgnorth, it would be much nicer to go via Ironbridge and miss the heavily trafficked A442.  Of course, I took several wrong turns before finally spotting the road through Broseley to Ironbridge.  We descended the hill into Ironbridge and Mike took our photo with
the famous bridge in the background.  

I've forgotten to say that about two thirds into this ride, the lactic acid seemed to wash out of my legs ("my legs are back" I said) and I got a surge of new energy.  Very weird.

Being sensible, we rode up one of the hills in the 100 Best Cycling Climbs book (see pic in this webpage header) called Jigger's Bank.  Actually, it was nothing compared to some that we'd ridden this week.  As I waited at the top, who did I see coming up the road from the lft, but Darlington Dave again!  We
briefly said hello and then rode off to the Park Inn in Telford where we are staying.  We had covered 80.5 miles which is the longest single day ride either Ian or I have ever done.

The manager, Lucja Leonard, was there to greet us and took our photos.  Very generously, Lucja had given us a free room each and free meals as a donation to our cause.  We are very grateful for this, and hadn't expected a room each.

Finally, I think this has been a hard day for Ian.  He was really pleased to be going home yesterday to see Nats and his lovely children, but I think he found it hard leaving them again today.  He's done brilliantly though and thankfully his knee seems to at least be getting no worse and maybe even improving.  Big
thanks to Nats for our chicken stew, washing etc etc yesterday.  Hope this week goes ok for you.

So lots of words but not many pictures today.

Tomorrow we are off to Leigh.

26/4/2011 08:11:10 am

Are you going to release an album of all these songs when you've completed LEJoG???

26/4/2011 08:22:19 am

I hate wasting fuel in the car by taking wrong turns. I would be even more annoyed if I was cycling! Get a grip, stay on the straight & narrow.
Very well done though in completing over 80 miles in 1 day.

Chris Aitchison
26/4/2011 06:18:05 pm

Chris "feelin your pain, been there and got the t-shirt and I managed to save it when we emigrated! What a lot of people don't understand is, you get through the day ok, but then have to find the motivation all over again the next day for another lot of miles.....keep goin though, its a great achievement at the end"

Martin Paxton
26/4/2011 07:44:21 pm

Great read Martin. Hope it continues to go well.

Debbie Tartaglia
26/4/2011 08:58:36 pm

welldone. Love the blogs :-). Looking forward to my night-time blog read in bed tonight!! Xx

27/4/2011 09:14:35 pm

Good Luck for the rest of the ride

I will raise a glass in celebration in honour of you finishing while I on the beach in Turkey!


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