321 miles down / 635 to go
19,996ft of climbs (69% of Mt Everest at 29 096ft)
We started off earlier today, 0730 from the campsite just south of Bristol Airport. A steep climb awaited us before we headed towards The River Severn and under The Clifton Suspension - a scenic start!
Shortly after on 12.5 miles there was a loud pop from Brendon's rear tyre as a piece of glass shredded it. A bit of a setback. Fortunately a cycle shop was 2 miles away so Brendon started walking there and I rode on ahead to make sure it was open. Luckily for Brendon a kind man in a transit van picked him up and dropped him at the cycle shop, it maybe because he thought Brendon was cute in his Lycra, but nevertheless, he's our Hero of The Day. The bike shop was able to sort out my buckled wheel and jumping gears too, so the stop turned out to be a bit of a bonus.
We then headed through several industrial estates before crossing The Severn Bridge, an amazing sight- here's the view:
We then tracked up to Chepstow before I got my first puncture of LEJOG to make the scores 2-1 to Brendon. I ignored the best advice of Brendon which meant fixing te puncture took longer than it needed, consequently I'm the Dipstick of the Day - we had now lost a hell of a lot of time!
My knee started giving me hassle again, but I decided to grit my teeth and just put up with it until we reached Monmouth at around 45 miles. We passed through The Wye Valley and sailed past Tintern Abbey, beautiful sights.
Monmouth couldn't arrive soon enough and thankfully we found a park bench where I could stretch out my troublesome right leg - I felt the benefit for quite some time after.
The first feed stop was just south of Hereford in a Tesco car park, by then it was baking hot, we'd been through all of our drinks and we're desperate for more liquid refreshment. We'd arrived by 1530, 7 hours after we'd set off and we'd only covered 62 miles of the route!!
We set off again to cover 25 miles before the next feed stop and kicked on pretty well, covering it in just over 1.5 hours. It began to feel like we might claw back some of the lost time and get finished around 8pm. Our second encounter with a dog occurred enroute, this time a Jack Russell, I was too tired to cycle faster so instead, as it came nearer I let out my best lion roar which did the trick, it seemed to jump in mid-air and then didn't seem to know what to do with itself!
The last leg of the ride was by far the toughest and by this time both my knee and achillies were hurting quite a lot. We headed to Church Stratton and banked right and up into some huge hills, after such a long day it sapped all the emery from my legs, the views from the top were amazing, but it really took it's toll.
We then pedalled on for what seemed like an age down country lanes for 17 miles until we reached the campsite 13.5 hours after we set off! What a tough day!
Tomorrow is a shorter ride (95 miles) before our first rest day, I'm looking forward to a day of rest more than anything in the world!
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