Having had perhaps one of the worst stages of the tour on Day 8, Team ChainLUBE were significantly deflated, hot and tired in the early hours. A trip to the local cafe revealed some fellow Geordie cyclists who happened to be cycling their own end to end journey, from east to west of the country. As Rafe Watson rose to collect cutlery for the table, he was met by several of the party. “Fucking poofters.” one sneered belittlingly beneath his breath. The day had begun.
Having made the mistake of looking at the elevation and gradient charts we were slightly intimidated by the hills from the outset; the worst of which registered at levels of greater than 1,400ft. We began confidently enough as the roads began to climb. The road momentarily gave way into a gravelled disaster and we braced ourselves for the worst. Thankfully it rapidly recovered enough for Rafe Watson to request a picture of the nearby cattle, for which we promptly stopped. “Get the wall in.” he instructed. “That is a boom wall.” I smiled at the use of school age slang from an English teacher and did as requested. The wall was proper boom.
On our descent we were dramatically stopped in our tracks as Rafe Watson was attacked by the local wildlife, sustaining a wasp sting to the lip. Having applied steroidal cream to the inflamed area he queried whether this would make for useful blog fodder before deciding that it most definitely would and I should take a picture of the offending piece of anatomy, sticking it out in the most unusual of manners. “To make it look big.” he informed.
We made a timely arrival into Lancaster at 1700 being met by Yannick Manning and his two tearaway young hounds. Having barked and howled and sniffed and slobbered and scratched at everything in the vicinity, we decided to make our way home, where we collapsed onto the sofa to watch the rest of the tour.