This is the video taken at the hotel on the first morning before departure.
After we left the hotel we cycled down to the C2C start point at the shoreline of Whitehaven, where the obligatory group photo was taken. There was already a number of cycling groups queuing for the same photo opportunity, so we waited our turn.
Then we followed the signs out of Whitehaven. I was extremely apprehensive. If you’d watched any of my training videos you will know I had an extra setback in the weeks running up to the ride, and I wasn’t sure how well I would keep up with others or how long I would be able to cycle for.
As we followed the cycle paths out of town every pedestrian, usually with a dog, said good morning wished us good luck. There were so many friendly people walking along the cycle paths it felt like they’d been sponsored by the local tourist board to meet and greet us. It was such a contrast to cycling in London.
You’d look up, see hills way off in the distance and gulp as you realise that you’re aiming to cycle up them later on that day. I will never call the slope to High Beach, or anything in London, a hill ever again. I also instantly improved my cycling technique. I learnt that on an incline, no matter how tough it is to pedal, however slow you are going, however much you need to catch your breath, do NOT stop. Once you stop it is almost impossible to regain any balance or traction.
It was around the 26 km point that the fitties in the group started to break away from us slowies at the back – me and a great guy called Pete, who had cycled the C2C before.
But it didn’t matter. I was enjoying the ride so much. Being in the fresh air, looking at the scenery and turning the wheels. I wish every cycle ride could be that good.
I was in the saddle for 6 hours on the first day and completed a total of 55km before my legs gave up during the climb out of Castlerigg. During all of the training you will have seen me complaining that I was so slow, and this is why speed does matter. In the time it took me to cycle 55km the fitties had completed 80km, reached our overnight stop at Penrith and had lots of tea breaks and a full lunch stop. When you’re slow you can’t take the same number of tea stops as you need to catch up, nor do you get a long lunch break, meaning you don’t get enough rest time. Ironic really, as you probably need more stops than the fitties.
When I did stop I was refuelled with homemade ginger cake made from a secret recipe made by Richard’s Granny (Velocene Adventures). I think the secret is lots of black treacle. It was delicious and definitely helped keep the energy levels up.
This is the video from the afternoon.
The Strava profiles from day 1.