Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Day 10 - Another turning point

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road,
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go,
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why,
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time,
It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,
I hope you had the time of your life.
Green Day

803 miles down / 154 to go
38,297 feet of climbs, equivalent to 132% of Mount Everest (at 29,096 feet)

Have you ever just enjoyed a hot shower so much you don't want to leave it, you could stay under the cascade of hot fresh water forever, it feels fantastic. It certainly felt like that tonight, despite there being barely any power in the shower and having to push a button every few minutes to turn it back on! Not the best shower system ever, but it still felt like a dream!

In some ways it was a shame to leave Inverary this morning, a beautiful place and The Argyll Campsite was a stunning place overlooking Loch Fyne, but we packed up and were ready to go at 0930. The rain had returned so it was another wet start, things were grotty for the first few hours.

Nevertheless, we made good progress as we tracked up towards Oban, covering the first 30 miles in a little over two hours.  If you've never been up the west coast, you really ought to make a trip, the scenery is so stunning it can almost distract you from the aches and pains of riding to it from Cornwall. 



We snaked up the coast, the road skirting various sea lochs and inlets, a bit of a windy route, but fantastically enjoyable. It seems the local traffic don't enjoy cyclists as much, so we got the odd bit of abuse hurled at us from passing cars - nice!



We arrived at the first feed stop ahead of the girls, it's quite nice to actually be riding well enough to be ahead of the game, so we continued on another 5 miles to a small village shop at Onich where we stopped for a few minutes before the girls arrived.  I couldn't go on any further, my quads had cramped up terribly and I was finding it difficult to pedal, Carla came to the rescue with a leg massage! On a brighter note, having moved the position of my cleats the pains in my achillies did not seem to interfere, so despite the intense cramp, I was in a better place physically and able to enjoy the scenery.

Having pedalled further on the first leg it was only another 20 miles until our next feed stop! What a bonus.  We cycled the 10 miles or so to Fort William which is practically at the feet of Ben Nevis, then headed along the Nevis range towards Spean Bridge and the Commando Monument which looks back all g the valley towards the Nevis Range. Amazing scenery, perhaps just reward for our cycling to date.  



After about 10 miles or so my legs cramped up again. It was a real struggle to pedal, I could actually feel the tight muscle in my left leg creaking against the movement I was trying to make.  There was a long climb up to the Commando Monument where we were able to sit for a whole and look back at the Nevis Range and absorb the view. I worked on my quads whilst we waited for the girls - we'd managed to beat them to the second feed stop too.

The last leg was another 20 mile stint to Fort Augustus, at the foot of Loch Ness.  The route was mainly downhill, followed by a few miles of canal path to our campsite.  The much maligned midges we there to greet us, clouds of them were along the canal side and their favourite trick was to fly into my eyes as we cycled along!


A big bonus was that our friend, Rob Shelswell, had flown up from Southampton and driven a hire car from Glasgow for 3 hours to spend the rest of the trip with us! Great to see him and he gets hero of the day for making the effort.

Happy cycling

Mike