Day 4: Oxford to Horsham

After a half day of rest we went to bed as early as we could to make sure we were refreshed for the day ahead. A quick look at the weather forecast told us it was set to be the hottest day of the year so far, so we wanted to set off early to get a good proportion of our cycling done before the high temperatures started.

As we set off from Oxford at 7.30am I was a little apprehensive about my knee as it still hurt a bit, but we took it slowly as we warmed up.

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Heading through a quiet Sunday morning Oxford

Before too long we were zooming down to Henley, with very little knee pain, and making excellent progress.

Today has really showed us how wonderful our support team is and how much we rely on them. We are so grateful for Chris and Richard, for setting up camp, cooking us dinner, driving all over the country after us to supply top ups of suncream and flapjack. We couldn’t do this without them!

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A quick stop with the support team to rest and ice my knee for a while

Just after lunch we managed to meet up with Pat and Tony (aka Grandma and Grandad) who with Daniel and Kaylie had been driving all over the South of England to try and catch up with us. We wish we could have spent more time with them, but we had to get going to make sure we met our target for the day. Thanks so much to them for coming to see us, and for the bag of treats, the raspberry doughnuts were greatly received

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A much needed treat

There were a few unexpected moments on today’s route, not least the two off road mountain biking moments…. thanks GPS for assuming all bike routes are equally suitable!

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A brief downhill section, right before I did a spectacular crash into a rock and fell off

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Cycle Route? Path? Field? It’s hard to tell!

As the day wore on we did get a bit slower, thanks to my knee which had its occasional momenta of pain. I’m just glad it wasn’t all day pain like yesterday, at least I had some relief for the occasional 20 minutes.

We made it to Lower Beeding, near Horsham which completed our 87 miles for the day. As the campsite we’re staying in is away from the route we didn’t need to cycle all the way there, so Richard picked us up and that was us done for the day.

We’re staying in the brilliant Blacklands campsite, which not only has fantastic facilities, but the lovely owner Keith, hearing of our ridiculous adventure, has made a donation to our charities, thank you!

So now everyone is busy running around preparing everything for tomorrows trip. We’ve planned a 76 mile route which will take us to Folkestone and our UK stint will be done.

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Our spiritual home?

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Day 3, to Oxford

Team Pedal Day 3 and we set off early to be driven back to yesterday’s finishing point in Ilmington to cover the remaining miles back to Oxford.  There is something mildly unsettling about being driven away from somewhere you then need to cycle back towards, but that is something we have to face up to on this journey, as we may not always be able to cycle to our destination every day.

Today the plan was to continue through Oxford and head towards Guildford but my knee had other plans.  After a painful day yesterday when I started getting knee pain towards the end of the day, I had hoped a good nights rest would solve it.  Unfortunately not as today’s 35 miles were excruciating.

This early in the trip we need to make the most of the additional days we have set aside for rest.  Whilst our bodies are adjusting to the sudden onslaught we’re putting on them, rest days during this time can be very beneficial for us all.  So we made it back to Oxford after making the Team decision to rest for the afternoon.

It’s important for us to always keep the bigger picture in mind. We have to make it all the way to Switzerland, so it makes little sense to push through injury and potentially make it worse.  If I pushed myself through injury and couldn’t even make it across France I would be very disappointed.  Currently my knee is drugged up, bandaged up, raised up and iced up – all this will hopefully make it better tomorrow and ready to do the next 80 miles.  We’re all optimistic that our afternoon of rest will refresh us all and allow the Team to push on further.  The last two days have been very hard, but we’re all still determined and committed, spurred on by the great support we’re receiving from everyone.

And finally, a little light relief, from today’s journey…

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I just couldn’t resist a photo opportunity when we cycled past

Day 2; Shrewsbury to Ilmington

So today , after adjusting to morning-campsite life, we set off cycling a little late. We got half way out of the campsite down a hill when I (Meg) found that one of my brakes was squealing alarmingly, i turned around to have them checked out. initial hiccup out of the way we had a few steep hills for breakfast. After a particularly long hill with a cheeky 14% incline popped into it, we had thoroughly woken up . The scenery has been beautiful today, its fair to say the rolling green hills and quaint towns of Shropshire are stunning to cycle through. England has actually blessed us with glorious summery weather with the sun has been beating down on us. It’s lovely weather and we couldn’t ask for better riding conditions however we welcomed the shade on our several pit stops. 

We cycled 75 miles today, nearing about a third of the way  of the U.K chunk of our adventure. We then drove a further 30 miles to stay at Jen’s house in Oxford. We will be returning to Ilmington bright and early to set off from there tomorrow. 

So what with Ryan’s puncture yesterday and Jen’s today..I guess tomorrow will be my turn. Let’ hope i avoid any deep potholes! 

My brain is now gradually turning off considering that we’ve been up since 7.30am, cycled 75 miles and eaten a portion of pasta suitable for a small family. So I may mention a few things, and post a few photos, but no coherent sentences from now. 

-we have passed 4 dead badgers on our travels, it’s very sad.

-we entered a sliproad onto a dual carriageway before realising the mistake, that was interesting.

-I have an uncanny knack for getting my kit covered in suncream and dead flies, and also my right calf gets covered in bike grease from the chain. Thus I am lovingly known as the scruffy one of the team. Let’s hope that I can try to look slightly cooler when arriving in Switzerland. 

Until tomorrow, here’s some pics from today. And tomorrow’s post will be done by Either Ryan or Jen so you wont have to read me rambling again ! 

There will also be a video posted tomorrow for your entertainment. 

 

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Day 1 – Bangor to Shrewsbury

So it’s the end of day one .
90 miles done from Bangor in North Wales to Shrewsbury in Shropshire.
We are currently sat around camp discussing tomorrow’s route and checking over the bikes .
We were very lucky with the weather today, aside from setting off in gloomy rain and strong winds this morning.
It started out a bit minging, and having not cycled in a whole week , the first hills were a little tough with the wind and rain to slow us down.
We headed down the A5 through Betws -y-coed and Pentrefoelas before reaching Whittington .
Apologies .. But hectic evening , settling into daily team pedal life has taken its toll. We’re all tented up and heading to sleep 10pm! Blogging will be more interesting , thorough and overall better in the days to come .
We’re all well. Optimistic and excited for the ride to Oxford tomorrow !
Goodnight !

Thanks, a last minute appeal, and GoPro testing

On Thursday we set off for our 1000 mile cycle to Switzerland. We’ve made good progress with sponsorship but we still need a bit more to reach our targets so spread the word and gently coerce everyone into helping out!

We’ve been helped along the way by too many people to list, and we haven’t even set off yet, so if you’ve provided technical assistance, gadgetry, donations, moral support or even just friendly banter: cheers! Your reward is getting to see me looking silly for a couple of minutes… enjoy: