The Final Push!

And so the final push, little sleep really due to the ferry but think I made a couple of hours.

Finally on French soil and what a cycle path. It’s basically an old railway line, like so many. The difference is the surface, wide, flat, very very few roots, trees are mostly set back to prevent this, cafes, bars, bbq spots and picnic areas line the route. Works really well. Most interesting was the no e-bike sign on it. Asking a local basically they got banned as people were being Muppets and de-restricting them, it was becoming lethal on the route with them flying up and down when it comes to busy times. Idiots spoiling the fun of others always a shame.

Pressing on the heat was really becoming a problem. The forecast said about 25C but riding I was baked. Insulin off and shoveling in fuel want helping and levels were being a pain (pump is off but levels are being drained like silly things). Blood meter kept overheating and hiding it in a pannier helped a bit… No so easy to access though. Even the phone went crazy with temperature warnings and refusing to run more than one app at a time due to heat and even shutting down for a while. It was hot. I needed more drinks and food as I had depleted my supply of gels, Shotblocks, and Cliff Bars. So I followed the signs for a Carrefour and restocked filling the bags with chocolate brownies, it’s the same as an energy bar right? And a load of bananas and Pringles, need the salt of course! Sitting in the car park under a tree refilling my bottles and getting some lunch in. Was nice actually if it raised a few eyebrows.

Well, that’s half way to Paris (from the ferry) and the heat is a killer (25C). Pumps off but levels are being drained like silly things. So having lunch in a Carrefour and filling the bags with chocolate brownies, it’s the same as an energy bar right? And a load of bananas and Pringles, need the salt of course!

Venturing on the route for very weird, thank you again Google! It started off fine avoiding main roads, then through back roads which were nice, then through little tracks which started to feel like yesterday going all cyclocross again, before it ends in a middle of a field with nothing but wheat for miles and three tractor tracks. Google note maps tractor tracks and uses them as cycle routes?! Alternative route offered by the Garmin was a further 50 odd miles so that was out. Rattle, rattle, rattle this isn’t fun, rattle, BOOM, what the!! Some blinkin’ yakka (for those who don’t speak Cumbrian a yakka is another term for farmer) was taking pot shots, feck, feck, feck, did set a Strava time if seems, phew!

So I finally reach Clergy, on the doorstep of Paris. The wonders of Googles, I’ll find a faster way through here was a slight snag (not like it wasn’t earlier). As ever it did it’s best to find a route which doesn’t put you on roads. Great!? Not so much when it sends you on diversions through a total warren of tunnels in a tower block nightmare. Up and down ramps and places, at least I blended in so well in this surrounding no one noticed me 😛

Upon escaping using the Garmin find the Eiffel Tower search it found a nice road route away from the tower blocks. Paris traffic is interesting, you get cars, bikes, buses, scooters, lorries and pedestrians seemingly just making things up as they go. But oddly no one seems to get hurt. The more you ride it, the more it kind of makes sense. Red lights are optional for all, but if someone stops you all must. Bus and bike lanes can be used by anyone. And bikes can use anywhere they feel like, just as can pedestrians. Total sense!

Eventually, I made my way to the tower and got a few pics. Say for an hour almost just admiring the view and the long fight to get here on the trip. But I best get to the hotel… *facepalm* it’s 12km away!

On the way to the hotel, when sitting in a bike lane with actual bikes in it, I get chatting to a lad who Kickstartered his own bike brand. He designs the frames, then ordered in from abroad to be built in France. All city bikes mind, but interesting to hear how he started it. Then we got onto Lancet and we were still blocking traffic 20mins later.

The Monday “Plan”

So Monday. I had a plan, a good lie in. Did that. A good breakfast did that. A bit of maintenance Monday to keep everything bike related nice and happy, done that. All nice and good… Well right up to I told the Garmin to take me to Brighton, it was spinning and spinning and eventually found Brighton Hill, ah close enough, so off I went. Slight snag, Brighton Hill isn’t anywhere near

Slight snag, Brighton Hill isn’t anywhere near Brighton and 18 miles in the wrong direction. By mid afternoon I was a tad ticked off with myself. The Garmin had a route to the ferry at 86 miles, Google had it at 48 miles. Like, come on, what’s going on?! Here began a massive learning experience if the differences. The Garmin didn’t really bother about cycle paths or bridleways, Google threw in any way possible. So this was 48 miles off road verses 86 on. With this load out I’m slow enough on the road so why not! Time to see if any of Lancet’s cyclocross design make up actually worked.
Today we did something resembling the Monster Miles, we had deep mud, gravel, flint, roots, slabs, steps, broken paths, but even fully loaded it actually became great fun throwing through corners and climbs. The background mountain bike elements came to the fore with the Hope Technology Ltd RX4’s and the incredible 20 Fives, with the razor saw sound effect of the Pro 4 hubs cutting up the trails. The XTR rear end and the awesome 10-42 cassette made easy work of everything. Makes me really want to see how she handles off road without these bags on and some proper CX tyres. Can’t wait to try some Sammy Slicks on and a bit of ragging it around Whinlatter. Anyhow, I was panicking, I’m seriously late, can’t stop, no more

Anyhow, I was panicking, I’m seriously late, can’t stop, no more sightseeing, need to get to a ferry… The good news is I did. Now sitting past security waiting to board. Next stop Dieppe then onto Paris!

Messy Day

A messy day today. The “original plan”, dreamed up last night, was to wake up super early and blast (yes that might be also a slight issue when riding the bicycle equivalent of a super tanker) down the “empty” main roads. Lights charged, all set for it. Slept in! So that utterly went out the window. Eventually got going and decided on the lovely cycle path down the canal…It was a foot wide single-track! Think next time I’ll use the Marathon Touring Plus tyres as they have some side knobblies and deeper tread which could of been handy today. With the weight of my kit it was a very dicey ride and it was nice to get onto National Route 6. Wow, it’s amazing (well this bit was but later learned it was just a good bit of it) wide, smooth, lines of trees both sides of the route perfectly placed. While a beautiful ride it was really destroying my progress and I needed to get on with things. Although the whole getting going thing wasn’t wanting to happen much as felt very fatigued. Although it may of been more related to the next issue.

Eventually got going and decided on the lovely cycle path down the canal…It was a foot wide single-track! Think next time I’ll use the Marathon Touring Plus tyres as they have some side knobblies and deeper tread which could of been handy today. With the weight of my kit it was a very dicey ride and it was nice to get onto National Route 6. Wow, it’s amazing (well this bit was but later learned it was just a good bit of it) wide, smooth, lines of trees both sides of the route perfectly placed. While a beautiful ride it was really destroying my progress and I needed to get on with things. Although the whole getting going thing wasn’t wanting to happen much as felt very fatigued. Although it may of been more related to the next issue. Bloods decided to play silly things, sky high all day and throwing insulin at it to no avail. Became more a case of wack-a-mole with BGs. 2x, 3x, 4x the insulin and the sods wouldn’t get into single figures. Not even needing to throw any food into the mix, I knew I needed food, but couldn’t with the

Bloods decided to play silly things, sky high all day and throwing insulin at it to no avail. Became more a case of whack-a-mole with BGs. 2x, 3x, 4x the insulin and the sods wouldn’t get into single figures. Not even needing to throw any food into the mix, I knew I needed food, but couldn’t with the bloods up there. So find a nice spot for a roadside infusion set change. Sorted!

Next problem, food! Saw a pub so thought great. Pubs seem to be a huge rarity down here. Seen more closed ones, for sale ones, or looking for lease ones than open pubs! So dropped in and out was packed, huge beer garden, barbecue bar (think a shed that had been creatively modified to cook food outside with a good selection of drinks), or the bar itself which had beams which scraped my head on! The barman was huge, well over 6 foot and was crawling around the place. Great lunch! Back on with the afternoon I may have got involved in a Sportive somehow. Was clattering my way downhill and got on the back of a small group just add we went through the camera… So somewhere there’s going to be pics of a loon on the back of this group… Will have to work out which it was!

Back on with the afternoon I may have got involved in a Sportive somehow. Was clattering my way downhill and got on the back of a small group just add we went through the camera… So somewhere there’s going to be pics of a loon on the back of this group… Will have to work out which it was! Interesting thing (and yes very odd to comment on) for the day, the drains in Windsor are recessed into the kerbs. Not into the road at all. Very American in style and not sure if they do it for the horses here, lots of deposits left by them on the roads, but it makes for a car better road surface for everyone, cars, and bikes as there’s no sinking wheel breaking death pits in the road. Wish all our roads used them.

The interesting thing (and yes very odd to comment on) for the day, the drains in Windsor are recessed into the kerbs. Not into the road at all. Very American in style and not sure if they do it for the horses here, lots of deposits left by them on the roads, but it makes for a car better road surface for everyone, cars, and bikes as there’s no sinking wheel breaking death pits in the road. Wish all our roads used them. Had some nice chats with people, was this old grandad Sikh

Had some nice chats with people, was this old grandad Sikh with with niece in Slough. We got chatting about the ride and all the tech. He was fascinated by a bike having a “Tomtom” and was amazed by the radar. I skipped on the other bits as I could still be there. Also met another Chris. This one came alongside while riding through a forest and had a chat about the kit and the charity. Tomorrow is

Tomorrow is rest day…Yay! By that I mean I only have to ride 48 miles and have to get to the ferry for 11pm. So should have plenty of time to have a mooch in the Evans I saw nearby (if it’s like the one in Glasgow I spent 15mins roaming the place and no one even said hello), this is totally out of checking out the competition you understand, and also get a good breakfast in I also noticed nearby. Then off to Brighton to nose around for the afternoon, early evening before the boat and leaving Blighty.

Odd Day.

All started well, was making pretty good time and even planning how much further I could push things and maybe eat a bit out of tomorrow’s ride. By the time I got through Rugby I was totally cocking around and had found a new game, instead of saying hi to people say something else, so after a few verses of Klingon and a bit of Sindarin I think I’ve left Rugby baffled 😀

So I decided on some breakfast and made do with some things I picked up earlier in my travels… Not such a good idea rapidly can’t to mind. Terrible stomach cramps, blood levels going crazy, wanting to throw up. Ugh not good! This went on well into the afternoon and all the stopping and starting it was causing really scuppered progress.
By Northampton the Garmin decided it would be for the best to put me on the A5 AGAIN. What’s with the thing?! I’m beginning to think it’s deliberately trying to kill me! Saw some cycle paths so took off down them. Sorted much to its annoyance. Soon I was on the CMK, a smooth wide track for bikes into Milton Keynes, which connects to a brilliant bike path structure going everywhere and keeping well away from the roads. It’s how all bike path systems should be!

Soon I was on the CMK, a smooth wide track for bikes into Milton Keynes, which connects to a brilliant bike path structure going everywhere and keeping well away from the roads. It’s how all bike path systems should be!
Lancet developed an off pssh sound coming from something drive train related. Not sure what but the amount of crud on everything can’t be helping. So that will be tonight’s plan! The rain which had been on and off with quick showers since mid morning then went full on Keswick. Lovely, to went and hid for a bit under some trees and find this lass with a puncture so loaned her some proper tools. The

The rain which had been on and off with quick showers since mid morning then went full on Keswick. Lovely, to went and hid for a bit under some trees and find this lass with a puncture so loaned her some proper tools. The tyre levers she had were part of a multi tool so utterly a waste of time. Pedro’s to the rescue! And a proper pump too.

So given in for the night, early finish for once and decided to rest my stomach and prep for a good ride tomorrow.

Hills, Horses, and Garmin Gremlins.

Early morning ride to make up for yesterday. In the Keswick Bikes green jersey this morning, not quite the sprinters jersey but hoping that it will help make up plenty of time!

With the disastrous start yesterday I needed to make up some ground so set off at early hours on the back roads of Cheshire which felt very much like home which was a huge bonus. Even paid a quick visit to Jodrell Bank which is HUUUGE! I would say WOW but might get that’s probably really playing with words 😛 Sadly I couldn’t stay long to get a proper nose around as it was early hours, and I needed to get some miles in.

Eventually reached the town I was meant to stay in last night, Mow Cap. I’m pretty glad I didn’t get here last night as it would have killed me. A real swine of a climb right from home with a heart and lungs busting killer 25% summit. As some of the mHealth folks know I tend to have two modes with climbs, the grind and mutter, or the full on Jensie mode calling the hill every insult in the book! Will let you guess which this one was 😛 Total agony but at the top was an amazing tower ruin. On a clear day, the view is fantastic.

The descent gave my brakes a good workout with the load but still feel they could easily do far more. Starting zapping through towns and also taking a few pics of the various churches and old buildings. Reached Stoke in no time and a silly 6 lane A-road in the middle of town really wound up. So, in the end, thought sod it and took off down a cycle path which upset the Garmin no end. The path was great, right through the centre and I just kept on it. The Garmin kept attempting to correct me and go back to weaving though no end of back roads and traffic jams! Pfft to that!

Soon after the Garmin decides the route we are on is incorrect, so it attempts to divert me to Derby! OK, it might be fine to drop in and see my Aunt but not by adding an 80-mile diversion! So after losing a few miles to it besides figuring it out it was very annoying. Seems good old turning it off and on again fixed it though. Solution to all tech problems!

Passed the JCB factory, exactly at 12.30 as lines of cars, bikes, and everything exited the place filling the road. They had a huge toy sandpit, as in 6+ football pitch sized filled with people playing with all of JCB’s toy collection. Very impressive!

The day progressed along nicely. Found a nice lil Pinarello shop for a quick nosey. Later on, a group from it went flying past which I couldn’t stick with at all with me at my pedestrian pace. I did meet up with them down the road, and they have a shop ride out in middle of a Friday afternoon and the company van comes out to a pub they’ve ridden to and gives them the lift back to the shop. An interesting concept it seems.

Soon after met another group out, felt sorry for the poor guys at the back getting passed by someone with panniers on though. Was a bit of a shame the rest turned off as I was really looking forward to introducing them to the 10 cog on the next descent 😀

Eventually neared Nuneaton. Uttoxeter was great, very bike friendly to get through so was expecting similar. But sheesh no. Not even a handy pavement to hop on when trying to navigate the A5. The road has a 50 cap, not like anyone used it! Scared me witless and I had to get off the road almost instantly. Daft thing was I needed to get preferably 5 miles down it, but couldn’t see that happening without getting killed! Jam packed with traffic all going 70+. Terrifying! In the end though I had no option, it was the only way. Considered sitting or out till like 10pm and hope it got quiet. In the end found by dayglo’s, fitted my amazing Bontrager Flare RT to the rear, charged the radar, and dived into the maelstrom. Dove down the first exit road I could much too the annoyance of the Garmin but I didn’t care, I was off that road! Tomorrow wise I’m looking for another early start to get well away from the traffic chaos of Nuneaton and to give me plenty of time to deal with Milton Keynes and hopefully get a chance to visit Bletchley Park.

Tomorrow wise I’m looking for another early start to get well away from the traffic chaos of Nuneaton and to give me plenty of time to deal with Milton Keynes and hopefully get a chance to visit Bletchley Park.

A hard first day!

First off it took forever to escape the hospital. Yes, I had a “normal” checkup before leaving before the good ol’ handshakes and best wishes as this lunatic setoff. Think I wasted a good 90mins in the Hospital before getting going *sigh*.

Green Lane Garage, Garstang

Ten miles down the road in Garstang, my front rack failed… Not a happy bunny! But also all my own fault for not being thorough enough on checking every last nut and bolt. Thankfully not far off though was Green Lane Garage, and Chris there was an utter star and helped me out to get something together. Without him, I would of probably just got a taxi back to Lancaster and thought sod it all! I was really getting pretty downbeat by this time, and even more so when looking at the clock and I was two and half hours in and I had only done ten miles.

Eventually, I did get going and heading south and was soon in Preston and having no end of hassles both navigating the city and so many of places around it. It felt like being trapped in the backend of West Cumbria and unable to escape, but without the scenic areas to escape into. Scary! Also found it to be one of those places filled with bike hating jackasses who had no time for any other road user other than themselves in their metal boxes.

Escaping Preston and getting moving I was finding time slipping away badly and I was making very slow progress. In the end, I simply thought I had had enough for the day and needed to find a place to hide for the night and get rid of this day as soon as possible. I was about 13 miles away from my destination for the day from my initial plans but that could have been much worse. Tomorrow I hope to get an early start and if the roads keep like the ones here in Cheshire it should be pretty easy to get some decent miles in. Better luck tomorrow I hope!

Zwift!

A new year is with us, and with the floods, bashed ribs and other craziness it’s really time to hit the training again. The roads are still pot hole hell, and the weather can be classed simply as atrocious so I need an alternative.

Before my JOGLE ride I trained heavily over the winter on a turbo trainer and used the Sufferfest videos. All very good but I had been reading only and had a friend mention how good Zwift was. Always up to play with something bike related, and even more so when it fires up my nerdy gaming side as well I downloaded it, sorted out the wiring and dived right in.

A couple of things though to remember about me, and a fair few of them seem to be something which many of us Type 1’s tend to get. That annoying habit of not giving up, and always trying to fight something. That must beat it attitude. Those can be good things, but sometimes it can get rather competitive, which was one of those reasons I’ve been trying to avoid Strava for many years as I know it won’t end well, and I’ll get drawn into something that will drive me up the wall until I’ve beaten everyone on it or fallen off a mountain pass trying.

So here I am, diving into this computer game come turbo training session…”Ohh a bike in front of me” I can’t have that, and another, and another and another…It soon get’s rather urmm firing on my competitive side and head down going for it. Sweating like a crazy thing, soaking the towel on the floor, fan cranked up to max attempting to cool me and me ploughing on and on into this.

Come the next day I tear into it straight after work. Lap after lap, back heavily into it but this time grabbing the GC’s Orange Jersey (for the none cyclists wondering this is the General Classification and the equivalent of the Tour de France’s yellow jersey, meaning I’m not the fastest hill climber, or sprinter, but I am fastest around the virtualised island). The next day, back in Orange again. The next day in Orange again. The next….Oi! they changed the track! And hmph! can’t get close to the jersey again grr!

Yes I know, utterly crazy and far too nuts for a “game”. But must admit the training I am loving. One of the best things I’ve ever played with. Good ol’ ACDC loud on the speakers, fan in the face, and head down charging up a mountain. Brilliant training tool!

mHealth Rider Dinner…ish

It’s the rider dinner for those who did the mHealth GT in September today. Sadly though due to the security situation Orange has decided to hold off at the moment on allowing their staff to attend which is a huge shame. While I understand how a company has to think on things such as this another part of it does make it feel almost as allowing the terrorists to win through allowing them to alter what you want to do. But out of these issues we can but strive forward and come up with a solition! And thus one crazy nerd with a chat with (the fantastic) Caroline from Orange (as in the one who saved me last month on my London to Paris ride) we hatched up a little solution.

Laptop in toe, Skype all setup and ready to roll. Camera and microphone checked and ready. And cardboard cut outs made of Caroline and Maria (I sadly ran out of strong cardboard to make one of Viet and Liesbeth or I would of made more, ready so they can attend the dinner in cardboard and digital if not in person. I must admit though, getting on a bus, and train carrying cardboard women definatly raises a few eyebrows!

When Great Ideas End Up In Utter Failure!

It’s going to be a very memorable birthday (and yes it was a big one) is probably the best way to describe it. The plan, midnight to midnight, Big Ben to Eiffel Tower in under 24hours. 313.3km in total, 1 diabetic, 1 bike, 1 day (I like the use of one’s you might of noticed last time). It all started well enough, rode to the station, train down no real problems. Thinking back though it was probably my first error as lunch was my last proper meal and only snaked for dinner and before the ride. Got to Euston and got utterly lost trying to get to Big Ben. Was having a few issue with the GPS trying to “help” by using alternative routes not the one it was meant to use. In the end I did get there with half an hour spare. Ended up getting bothered by Romanian beggars though which is difficult to cope with.

Once going in central London with even at that time of night a lot of traffic the GPS continued to be a pain until good ol’ turn it off and on again and all sorted. Then made good time escaping the city. It was quiet surprising seeing so many foxes. Counted 9 of them which is so odd when up here I’ve only seen 1 in the last couple of years. The first 50km or so was foggy out of the city, and it proved a very sticky kind of damp and was also quiet hard to cope with the reduced visibility down to under 5m or so.

By the time I reached Lowes I was feeling quiet sickly and ended up vomiting beside the road. I blamed the very rich mix I had chosen to use on my drinks to try and cover the lack of having anywhere to get food stops really and also the strange salted and herb flapjack I had been nibbling. Possibly more the early stages of dehydration as I had only drunk about a litre. I make it into Newhaven just after 5am which wasn’t bad going, at just under 20km/h which is the kind of speed I would need come France so that was good and I was keeping it pretty gentle also.

Stopped at the McDonald’s near the ferry port and got plenty of protein in for breakfast and a couple of water bottles and a nice warm cuppa. Raised a few eyebrows this loony cyclist wondering in at that kind of time. Sat there till about 7am after having a couple more bottles of water before venturing down to the ferry port to see it all closed up and having nothing but two huts for passport checking and not even a waiting room. So utterly pointless that was I went back up to McDonald’s and got another couple bottles of water. Think my dehydration levels were starting to come back I hope although the lack of salt was probably still a problem but salt on the food helped I hope. Eventually left and bought a couple more bottles of water (yes that was 8 bottles!) and pootled down to the ferry port. And waited 2nd in line for them to open. In the process met a nice couple, Andrew and Jill on a tandem going to Paris also but doing it over 4 days. We had a good chat and discussed all kinds of things, D, bikes, and tours.

The ferry seemed to travel faster than I was expecting of it, yet also took a long time to get across the Channel. It was nice though and I got a decent lunch on board, although again in hide sight could of probably done with a lot more food really. I think I managed about an hours sleep and got the GPS and phone recharged which both were very nearly out of juice.

Once in Dieppe it was sunny as I got off the ferry but just as I reached the leaving gates it started to drizzle it down. Left my legs out but put my waterproof jacket back on and continued to try and get out of Dieppe. The roads were heavy at coming up to rush hour and it was hard with tailbacks everywhere but cutting through most of it well at a reasonable pace. Once on the quieter roads managed to turn things up a bit and got some distance it. It was nice seeing the signs for Paris though 170, 150, 130, 110km to go nicely coming down and also beginning to recognise the names of places from the mHealth Tour. I’m sure we didn’t go through many of them but I think we we’re in the same region again which was a nice feeling. The weather was getting much worse and I was getting pretty soaked and miserable at this stage so ended up hiding in a telephone box to get changed into more waterproof kit and also make up more energy drink using my two two of the bottles of water I had brought from McDonald’s that morning. Pressing on the distance was coming down nicely and I was still on schedule just about to make the tower in under 24 hours. Even setting off the slow down signs in towns which always gives me a nice grin when they flash “50 Rappel” at me.

I had just left the town of Gisors and was pressing on to Paris. In the middle of nowhere, pitch black, the full moon covered in clouds as the rain hammered it down my rear tyre goes. I get into a side road, which was nothing but a muddle track to avoid the main road and trucks on it which were the majority of transport at this time of night (9pm ish). I can barely see anything and eventually get my helmet light from my rucksack to help see. Couldn’t find anything in the tyre but with so much mud it wasn’t made easy. This was the first time I had changed these tyres which I got from the Tour and were originally fitted by the mechanics on that tour. Wired tyres argh a total fight, changed the tube, inflate it and BOOM, something must be in there still arrrgh!. Had to do it again and then couldn’t get the tyre back on at all! Spent 90mins getting more and more frustrated with it, getting more and more soaked. Getting more and more utterly ticked off at the time this was costing me. Eventually thought sod it and walked me and myself back to Gisors about 2km back now.

Cold, soaked, the only good thing going was my bloods! Walking into town I see a police car so wonder over to have a chat in very broken French. Was there anywhere to find a hotel still open now, no. Is there any 24hr restaurant or anything, no. Would you mind if I come hide and dry out at the station please? No chance! Bloody wonderful! I eventually find a bus shelter with a small plastic canopy roof and a bench in it from where I was able to change my rear tyre again. Seemed to be keeping inflated. I pondered for ages do I press on, don’t I, what do I do! Do I phone a taxi to take me to my hotel in Paris, how much would that cost after midnight?! Would they still be open considering how nowhere in France seems to do 24hr opening. In the end I pulled my legs up next to my chest and wrapped my arms around them and made a small ball of myself to attempt to keep warm as the rain pounded down. I did get a couple hours sleep but woke up frozen. I don’t think I’ve ever been that cold. Shaking violently, teeth chattering, bloods good though! I check the back tyre and it was still inflated. The rain was still pouring down though! Feeling ill again I ran to the local bushed and threw up yet again. Not sure if it was dehydration still or a chill or something with the cold effecting me. Hid back under the shelter for a while but I wasn’t heating that much up and when the rain relented a little thought to hell with it and got back on the bike and pressed onwards!

It started to dry out which helped a little and I was back to setting off speed warnings on the road signs which always made me feel like I was progressing again. The 24hours was well gone now. But I can still get to my train on time though to get home! And then thud thud thud the back tyre again ARGGHHHH!!! Not again. My feeling of let’s get this over with and getting on with things soon becoming utter frustration and annoyance. Luckily it wasn’t a full flat and more a slow puncture so managed to get me to this roadside 24hr pizzeria place (only place I had seen open 24hrs in France!). It was actually a room with a pizza vending machine in it. But it had lights, and it was a dry room if a little chilly. I had half a pizza for breakfast, half as the other half was frozen cold by the time I got to it, and it’s actually pretty difficult to eat a pizza not cut into slices as one giant disc. Sulking and wringing out my clothes weren’t helping. Next door a patisserie was opening up and an hour later I was in a lovely warm place with a mountain of fresh warm bread and croissants (creme croissants mmm NOM) and a good warm brew.

I received a message off Caroline from the mHealth Tour after posting a picture from the muddle side road with bike in bits. She offered to come pick me up and get me a nice warm shower. Once picked up we drove over the hill from where I was hiding and could see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I was less than 2 hours from the finish. Dejected, defeated, utterly annoyed at wrong choices and mistakes. It was a hard lesson but learned lots. I never made it to the Tower but did see it. The Tower as a completion I knew that would have to be next time when I do this correctly with the correct equipment. So close :frowning:

Getting home also proved to be “fun” though. I wasn’t going to meet my train home so tried the website to change the ticket time and it was timing out. So ended up calling them, but the office wasn’t open for another hours arrgh. Eventually get through and ticket changed. Good! I get a nice warm drink, showered and cleaned up at Caroline’s before she gave me a lift to the station before she went to work. I owe her so much for helping me out, a total star! Unfortunately the bike wouldn’t of been able to make the train so I had to get the ticket changed again (thankfully they’ve didn’t charge a fortune for it like last time). The bike nicely get’s scheduled in to be back in London on the same train as me, great!

Back in London and no bike. They had decided to move to the following train! Which then became the train after that one. Now, I had originally planned that I had space for things like this between getting into London and my train home. Unfortunately with the bike delays my tickets home were now also useless. Eventually getting the bike and me to Euston I had this feeling of disaster waiting to happen as it takes usually a days notice to book a bike onto a train. Thankfully though the girl at the station was able to get me and a bike on a train home (ish), but couldn’t refund the ticket. Thus another massive charge! The ish in this being the train only went to either Preston or Glasgow. So Preston it was! My feet were cut to shreds by this time, blisters from the walking in wet cycling shoes I’m sure wasn’t good. I had picked up some blister plasters in the station to try and patch things together as best I can which gave something to do while waiting for the train home. These train fixes ended up costing over twice as much as the original ride was to of cost. Not good at all but getting home was more important really now.

Making it to the home station and getting the bike off I go to lock the bike up and I’ve gone and left my rucksack with helmet attached to it on the train. I get worse! I have a good chat to the folk in the station and they call around and retrieve it in Lockerbie. So a nice warm station and a good chat with the station staff as we watched the delays roll up on the schedules (seems someone was threatening to jump off a bridge so they had to turn the power lines and stop trains in Crewe) which was delaying trains up to 3 hours, or cancelling them out right (guess some people were coming off worse than me). 90mins later though I was reunited with my bag and kit and on my way home to a nice warm comfy bed. I’ve learned loads, and I will complete this next time!