Saturday, July 18, 2015


Morning rituals are a little different on tour. Sandwiched in-between the usual teeth brushing, stretching, yawning, and indulgent breakfast eating, are a whole host of new activities. For instance, the mushing of a handful of Savlon into the area where my genitals used to be. Also, the excessive use of Deep Heat. As six consecutive days of cycling over one hundred km's take their toll, aches and pains set in, and various parts of the body need to be smothered and massaged in the magic heat rub. This, and the fact we haven't washed our cycle kit all week, means another ritual is apologising for the smell which follows us into the breakfast room. We then find ourselves fielding several questions following on from our explanations. Questions such as, why? Another breakfast-related ritual is the discreet and mild theft of perishable goods from the buffet table. Cereal bars, fruit, yoghurt, biscuits, if they'll fit in the jersey pockets, they're ours. Finally, after settling up the bill, we ask to fill our water bottles up with fresh, and hopefully cold, water. 

Pauline is the quintessential bed and breakfast proprietor. Almost perfectly spherical, with an obvious heart of gold, she's in her element as Queen of her own castle, and ordering her King, Fran - an agreeable husband in the kitchen and/or shed, around. We ask her for water, and she insists on giving us a drop of cordial in there, for some extra taste. After vanishing with the bottles, she returns with two cordial options, orange and pink grapefruit. I go for orange, and Em for the pink grapefruit. Throughout the past week we've briefly got to know many of these kind and motherly b&b owning folk, and alongside the usual thoughts of making us want to own our own b&b someday, it made me want to gather them all together, and have a civilised afternoon tea at Lands End.

The flavoursome fuel was needed today. Though a Google Maps prediction of 92km sounds somewhat mild in comparison to yesterdays expenditure, we'd factored in the Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District. At 460m above sea level, it would be the highest we'd been since leaving Amsterdam, and the final climb of a day full of climbs.

In accompaniment to the liquid fuel, and need to re-stock on our chosen sweets - Jelly Babies for Em, and Fruit Sports Mix for me - we found ourselves out of Scotland and in Carlisle Sainsbury's for their check-out opening time of 10.30am. From there we rose, and rose along the B5299 all the way to the Lake District, and stopped for coffee in Caldbeck. Cappuccino and tea, a apricot slice and a caramel mars bar cake, not shared. Having tipped the balance in calories burned vs consumed, we winded along the A591 until it became a small, single-track lane. The views were stunning as the weather changed from stormy November clouds, to a brisk spring afternoon. Not bad for a summers day in mid-July. The A591 became the A592 and skirted along the stunning shoreline of Ullswater Lake, home of a shared lunch platter of cheese and pickle sandwiches. After winding and climbing through a few more picture postcard villages, the A592 became the Kirkstone Pass, and a brisk 92km tour leg, became a severe physical test. A test we passed, eventually. Strava tells of a moving time of 5hrs and 6mins, but an elapsed time of 9hrs and 6mins, which means that we spent 4hrs of today static. Though a supermarket visit, a coffee stop, and a lunch stop made up most of those minutes, the bulk came from catching our breath, and trying to do the scenery justice with phone cameras. Of those last two, we did plenty along the pass. 

With a celebratory beer and G&T at the summit under our belts, it was a brief downhill into home town for the night, Bowness-on-Windermere. The website of tonights guesthouse hinted at guest passes for a local spa, and check-in confirmed this. So, following the heady mix of the ice-room, therapeutic steam room, 85degree sauna, and a wonderfully authentic Italian restaurant, we decided that tomorrow will be our first full rest-day.

Tomorrows breakfast wont require theft or Savlon.

The daily digits...

Distance: 91.5km (786.3km so far)
Moving time: 5:06hrs
Calories burned: 2393
Average speed: 17.9km/h
Top speed: 58km/h
Metres climbed: 1333m

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