Day One Whitehaven to Penrith
Day 1 of our C2C challenge started in Whitehaven. We were late setting off as my stomach problem was enraged at having to do 3 days of cycling and was doing everything it could to keep me off the bike but eventually we got away about 10.30am after we’d had our traditional rear wheel dip in the Irish Sea.
Following the signs out of Whitehaven you are soon on an old railway track that climbs gently through woodland for about 10 miles. Chris tapped out a gentle pace for us to follow as we climbed about 840ft in the first 12 miles. It was a good pace for everyone to warm up to and especially for people like me that go off too fast EVERY time. You don’t notice that you are climbing too much as the climb is gradual. It’s a lovely track and breaks you in gently for what’s to come!
I must, I am, getting fitter. I have just read at what I just said ….. 840ft of climbing over 12 miles and you don’t notice it too much ….
On Tuesday 12th January 2016, my first ride of ‘My year of Fitness’, it took me 10mins to cycle 1.2miles and climb 290ft at which point I thought I was going to keel over with exertion. This fatty IS improving.
After the climb up you get to go down, yippee! BUT why oh why do the downs seem much shorter than the ups! And there were definitely some ups to break up what would have been a fantastic down.
I am still hopeless at going uphill. Try as I may this standing up malarkey to give you a bit of an oomph up hill is not coming as easily as I’d hoped. I will perceiver. It’s my next challenge to master, standing up to pedal.
You drop down into Lorton before you start the long 4 mile climb up through Whinlatter Forest. It’ s a killer (for me anyway) up, up, up, up. I long for the day when I am fit enough to cycle and to be able to really appreciate my beautiful surrounds.
Every time I stopped (on every hill) whilst catching my breath I was able to view the stunning scenery of our beautiful English countryside.
I was determined that I wouldn’t give in as easily as last time and that meant not getting off and pushing. I knew there would be a time when I would have to BUT please don’t let it be on day 1!
It was a hot day and the cool of Whinlatter Pass was most welcome BUT what’s more welcoming? …. DOWNHILL …. Yipeee … 2.5 miles of it! And NO up in sight!!!
I know I want it all BUT I just wanted to let rip and go… well let go of the brakes and go. The roads are so twisty and narrow and in some section very steep that you have to be very weary of traffic. I am still getting used to handling my new ‘birthday bike’ so took it steadier than I would have liked.
Meet the Gang
Our C2C Team or as we like to call our little group ‘Team Inn’t Down’ (cos it always bloody well pees it down when we go out as a group) have been together for about 10 years now. We still have our core group with other people popping in and out over the years. We are made up of people that can properly cycle and people that would like to be able to cycle better (me). We are all triers and love cycling.
New this year to our little team are Tom & Jay H. Tom has a BMX bike, no brakes, no gears, not much of anything really and doesn’t cycle distances, bought a new ‘big bike’ couple of weeks prior to c2c.
Jay H loves cycling and has both rode and mountain bike and cycles quiet a few miles per week.
Neil, our driver and saviour. He carries everything, food, water, clothes, tools, the lot. We arrange meeting points along the route for us to meet up with him so we can refuel or if we have had enough for the day, get in the van. It’s our beacon of hope in the distance when you see that white van calling to you!
Steadfast members are Big D (Dennis), Seppe, Chris (Ginner), Cheryl, Jay A and me.
Chris (Ginner) is our wise owl, club cyclist who’s cycled for years and knows a thing or two and always thinks of the needs of the whole team. Salt of the earth guy. This time I believe the whole team rode with me in mind (remember I’m a selfish person, it’s always all about me!).
In the past we have cycled the c2c a couple of times, Hadrian’s Wall, Penrith to Derby and I am yet to complete one of these routes. Seppe and Big D went out with me as much as they could prior to this year’s adventure. Jay A has been like a completely different guy, he has had patience with me (not easy being patient with me believe me I know!). He has encouraged and guided and taken me and Seppe out a few times pacing us and encouraging us, especially trying to teach me to get up those bloody hills!!
I know I’ve broken off from describing our route but you can get a book by author Richard Peace that describes the Coast 2 Coast better than I can. (I’ve met Richard, lovely man, used to live near me).
For me our C2C trip was about challenging myself whilst enjoying time with friends. You have never met a more patient group than these guys. Every 2 minutes I was jumping off into the bushes. Every time I ‘hit’ a hill I came to an almost stop but the guys just kept stopping and waiting for me to catch up.
When we cycled into Penrith (end of day 1) I can’t begin to tell you the joy and elation I felt at completing a full day of cycling on the C2C. I was overwhelmed and fill with gratitude to all my friends for supporting me to get to the end of day one.
Most of ‘Team Inn’t Down’ would have completed the ride hours ago BUT they all waited and supported each other throughout the day. Me having a particularly bad time at the moment with my stomach issues was in and out of the bushes every 2 minutes but there was always someone there waiting (not a pleasant position to be in when you have windy miller squatting behind a bush just yards from you). We all arrived at Penrith as a team. Beautiful. Thankful.
What hurt at the end of day one? NOT where you think would hurt … NOT with a saddle like i have been gifted!! My backside was the only thing NOT hurting! Had back pain (but think that is to do with lump on back that’s been investigated), wrist and hand pain (dodgy right hand thumb due to previous injury) as I am not used to drop handle bars. I have been told to keep my elbows bent as your arms then work a bit like shock absorbers for your wrists but I keep locking my arms as my core muscles are pretty much none exsistant (must strengthen core!) and i end up holding myself up with my arms.
I would have liked to have added our little end of day video to the blog but you have to pay extra for adding video and you know me brassic!!
Thank you for reading and if you need a challenge
Coast 2 Coast is a good/bad one!