I knew that things would get hard at some point on this adventure, and I arrived at that point today. We left Carlisle in a light drizzle, and headed into the Lake District. Today's profile went up right from the beginning, peaking over Shap Fell. The climb was long, but not really steep - kind of like Gates Pass in Tucson - but we were climbing into the clouds, so there weren't any good views.
Over the top onto an 8 mile descent down into the Lake District. We dropped down below the clouds into Beatrix Potter's England - stone walls, sheep, green fields, wildflowers and birds singing. The rain lifted, the sun broke through and we rolled along. We're getting into the stereotypical English country lanes - they are gorgeous to ride, but they tend to go up and down pretty sharply. If you don't keep some momentum going, it gets rough. The last 20 miles were in a very urban area, which took a bit more concentration. A tough way to finish.
So the toughest part today was mental rather then physical. I've been breaking each day down into pieces of approximately thirty odd miles - to the first pit stop, the middle bit, and the last section after the second pit stop. The problem today was that the first stop was at 28 miles. The day's big climb was finished by 40 miles. So I got to the bottom of Shap Fell, and thought "Right, that's it". Actually, there were 75 more miles to go. Oof! The last 30 were really rough - it started raining again, we were going through rush hour traffic and one knee and the other Achilles were acting up. Oof again. I am so grateful that I had people to ride with - it would be so much harder alone!
Now I've been fed, massaged and physio-d for my various issues. Apparently I have very special hamstrings - it took the physio with 30+ years experience ten minutes to figure out what was going on, and I will soon be sporting thumb sized bruises in the back of my leg where she detached the head of my hamstring from the bone (about as much fun as it sounds, believe me). Hopefully that will sort things out for tomorrow's trip to Ludlow.
Thanks to everyone reading and leaving comments - I do get them, even if I'm not responding. So please do leave a message if you get inspired! As for me, I'm off to bed.
Day 5: 115/544/~953 - over the hump!