Distance: 92 miles
Weather: mostly sunny
Despite the beauty of the surroundings and the much missed feeling of accomplishment from a long ride, last night was pretty awful. I know what to expect from these punishing rides by now and so I should have drank more water – it was a terrible mistake.
Cycling through the punishing heat of Asia, stopping for water became second nature. We were in many ways bound by it. Over here it almost loses significance – it is stupidly complacent. I spent the night with the feeling of my heart beating through my chest – I was dehydrated. I ended up drinking a few pints of water and then waking with a start as I was quite clearly about to piss myself. And so the vicious cycle continued for most of the night.
Still, ignoring all of that I woke to the simmering smells of cooked pork products and so threw on some clothes and headed downstairs. As the only guest in the b&b I was met by a long table with a place set just for me surrounded by every single breakfast product in existence. As a breakfast fanatic I was in gastronomic heaven. I ate like a wolf on a rotting carcass.
Before long I had said my goodbyes and hit the road in high spirits with the sun shining and surrounding by stunning countryside.
It’s actually the part of the world where my lovely other half hails from and I couldn’t help but feel a bit comforted by that as I sped from handsome village to the next.
Up above, like a constantly reassuring presence was a number of Red Kites. These beautiful birds of prey are synonymous with the area and provided a stunning sideshow from the long roads.
It was a quick morning, falling very easily into that routine of hiding within surrounded by monotonous thought and the same song on loop. In Asia I had idle conversation with Morgan to snap me out of it but on my own I was drifting in and out of some peculiar semi-consciousness.
After 45 miles, and roughly half way I approached Silverstone and recognised instantly the sound of really boring people driving fast cars around the circuit. Apparently it was track day and a few cars were hurtling around the circuit. I’m guessing this is where city boys get to thrash their McLaren GT’s and then tell their hideously bland friends that they ‘did Silverstone’. It sure looked like it as I spied through the hole in the fence. I’m not bitter at all.
Another few miles along the route I started to approach Northampton. I’ve never been to this south Midlands metropolis before and if my time there is anything to go by, you couldn’t pay me to return. I won’t say too much but in my mind it is the Crewe of the south. Like a giant makeshift ghetto.
After many wrong turns and after spending an hour cycling along a canal path I was finally out and on national cycle route number 6. Up till today I’ve ignored these routes and tended to make by own way using Google Maps. However, this particular route promised a straight path all the way to Market Harborough, 25 miles to the north. It was utterly brilliant. For two hours I just cycled in a straight line without stopping surrounded on both sides by fields and countryside that felt as untouched as anywhere in the country.
The path finally led to the Kelmarsh tunnels. These two tunnels are a mile long each and once inside I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. I quickly turned around, fixed my front light and pedalled as hard as I could. It was a freaky ride to say the least but at least I’ll know where to bring the family on the event of nuclear winter.
And so 96 miles after leaving the b&b this morning I arrived on the outskirts of Leicester shattered, hungry and in need of a conversation with someone other than myself.
Still, last leg tomorrow. And then I get to rifle through my mum and dad’s fridge.