This was my first multi-day bike packing rally and the experience of years of bike racing was replaced with the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.
Day 1 – we’re off
Opted for a late start to get a bit of extra time with Jo and Ruby before we would spend a few days apart. Started well and had some awesome conversations with some of the other riders, bumped into team mate Kitty & the Steezy crew at about 40km in had a lovely chat and got rather jealous of the coffee and noodles that they were professionally cooking up on their stoves. First puncture at around 80km, side wall had split so I booted and tubed it. Got me to the end of the day.
Found a nice sheltered spot at around 115km in and pitched up for the night, made some dinner and slept really well.
Day 2 – A wet one
Woke up at the crack of dawn to get an early start, everything was wet as sign of the how the day would be I was also low water, so planned to get the H van for some breakfast and a top up. After around 20k’s I was starving so pulled into next to a fast flowing stream and made some porridge and coffee.
Got to the ‘H’ van early, about 7am and stopped for a couple of coffees and a wonderful chat with the chap running the show (sorry I missed his name) and some other riders, most of the talk was about the damp evening and wet day ahead. I pushed on to Kielder and stopped for a late breakfast with a couple of other riders in a café by the lake, it was lush! Left after about an hour but these guys were too fast for me on the hills, noticed that I couldn’t unclip my left foot for the day and my foot was flapping around. Pulled in to Alston about 8am and checked-in to a pre-booked b&b.
Day 3 – Fix me up
Left the hotel around 8am after a light breakfast feeling refreshed. Got to the CP2 being run by Canyon around 9:00am and met Issy Hill and Rose Osborne having their gears sorted by the first class mechanics. The guys sorted my cleat out with a random spare bolt and a good old fashioned bastard file, thanks chaps. Arrived at Tan Inn with Ross and Catherine, and enjoyed some lunch with a pint of draught coke. After Tan Inn I pushed on to Ingleton and pitched up at a lovely farm campsite I had pre-booked.
Day 4 – The long Day
Started the day feeling really empty, definitely not eaten enough the night before. Got into Ingleton and raided the Coop for snacks and supplies. Set off and decided today was going to be the day I would finish, so booked a premier inn in Manchester. With 60k to go I looked at a few messages for some cheering up as I was feeling exhausted, thank you to everyone who went them it worked! It was getting late when I hit Rochdale I realised that I would have to navigate the canal in the dark, definitely the scariest time of the rally. Made it to Rapha Manchester @ 11pm. Done it mate!
What’s next… got the 24hr time trial next month then hopefully more of this stuff, it is so fun. Hopefully @radrace #RR96HRS on August 3-7, COVID-19 permitting
Thank you to @raphauk and @outdoorprovisions for putting an epic adventure together.
Thank you to all our sponsors that keep us rolling
Rapha UK, Laka, 100 Percent, Stayer, Weldtite, Panaracer UK