Day 10 – 16th August
Faringdon – Swindon – Devises – Trowbridge – Frome – Glastonbury – Street – Bridgewater
Personally I had always identified today as a difficult one. Long distance, 103 miles, lumpy terrain and the day after the emotional evening before. I was never going to even contemplate start counting my chickens (where does that phrase come from?) until I had today bagged.
For those of you reading this thinking you have missed the entry for day 9 you haven’t. Yesterday was such a special day that it deserves special mention and there will be a longer than usual entry (probably on Wednesday) to do it proper justice. Suffice to say yesterday was a wonderful success when we were joined by 20 riders to complete the 77 mile leg from Sutton Coldfield to Abingdon in what was the best weather of the trip so far. The cycling was relatively easy but the day was emotionally draining. More on this later.
Today we were joined by Owen a firefighting friend of Bobs. Owen would have joined us yesterday but was returning from holiday. It turned out for the best however because his company today was invaluable.
The countryside of the last three days had been the least interesting of the entire trip but today was another treat. The counties of Wiltshire and Somerset roll like beautiful melodies with a rhythm and a beat that induces calm and whilst the terrain is hard work it is never tedious. Over the Wiltshire Downs was one of the highlights and we made good pace over this section with Owen manfully leading the way, then as journey’s end beckoned the distant view of Glastonbury Tor drew us like a magnet pulling us over the finish line. Another wonderful days cycling in perfect cycling weather, warm, slightly overcast and only occasional wind. It was a far better day than I could have hoped for when waking this morning feeling weary and stiff despite having had the best and longest nights sleep of the trip.
We didn’t manage the support today as well as we could, again ‘losing’ Trev at a point when we were hungry, in need of a break and getting low on water. We considered a coffee shop break in Glastonbury but it was getting late so Owen came to the rescue. He had an old (in the sense that he had known her a long time 😃) friend who lived in Street. So he phoned Helen and 20 minutes later we were sat on her patio have a much needed rest and a hot drink. Perfect. It transpired that she was in bed when we rang not feeling 100% so apologies Helen for disturbing your rest but thank you for coming to our rescue.
We finally made camp (little more than a farmers field with the most basic facilities) at 8:00, our latest arrival.
We do have a TV for entertainment in the evening and only once has the reception been poor. We also spend a lot of our downtime posting messages, sending emails and chasing sponsors. On a practice run earlier in the year when Bob and I hit the road for a couple of days with Trev and camper van in support we somehow managed to discover that all three of us were closet Norman Wisdom fans. So Trev brought his box set on the trip and so far we have watched The Square Peg, A Stitch in Time and the Bulldog Breed. All three are classics although I am not sure Owen agreed. You’re too young mate to appreciate our Norman.
Tomorrow we head for Bude and the sea – our first sighting since day 1 – and we are being joined by our wives this evening for the final leg to Lands End.
The weather looks set fair.
Miles to go 170