Friday, 20 September 2019

Bed and Breakfast Man...stage 1...Warton to Hamstall Ridware

Hello, good evening and welcome from a place that I'm fairly certain that you've never heard of: Hamstall Ridware...or more specifically, the dining room in The Shoulder Of Mutton inn. Carrot and coriander soup, followed by a steak avec le sauce peppercorn, since you ask. Plus the usual rehydration measures are being employed...

The ceiling of The Shoulder's dining room. Staffordshire, apparently...

Lucky for me that I was able to start a bit earlier than planned- in the event this was invaluable...time just slips away, doesn't it?
Still chilly for a while after the sun stirs.
There's no pretty or easy or pleasant way to get through can extend that sentiment to Wigan and its surroundings too, hah-hah! That said, progress was okay and it was a pleasure to eventually get out into Cheshire and some country roads.
The Warburton Bridge. Did well to cope with my weight, going by the looks of it!

There was a bit of company along the way...unbelievable I know but I overtook them!
All very picturesque, innit?
So we're all fine and dandy, relatively speaking...until Stoke. Nothing* against the place and all, but every time I cycle through, it's a flaming nightmare. Traffic, diversions, loony name it. Maybe I'm just a very slow learner, hah-hah!
(*Time for a Fleabag style look to camera, hah-hah!)
Raised a smile amongst the Friday chaos!
This is about where the wheels came-off, figuratively speaking. After mile 80, everything was laboured, stopping endlessly to check the route and re-plan it, and the effects of the headwind were felt. Diddums!

It was a classic own goal by me because I also neglected to eat: that way leads ruin, an embarrassingly slow century time or more accurately a later time at the bar than one would like!
In honour of PT, whilst I check if I've taken the right road...again!
I'm making this sound like a drama no doubt, but I had no mechanicals or close passes, so frankly I oughta be happy enough, long day or not. They'll be plenty more of them to come.
The one good thing about being slow is that you see the wonderful evening light. Not pictured here, mind. 
It's still a buzz when the odometer clicks over to show 100 miles, not least because you oughta be near to that day's finish line. Ho yus indeed!
Don't try and bluff me- I know that you've never heard of this place, hah-hah!
The cycling bit is only half of the deal: it's the post-ride admin and faff that is the difference between this caper and cycling at home, where you can flop down post-shower and generally loll about.

Checking in, storing the bike, panniers off, getting to your room, hand washing that day's clothes, sterilising your water bottles, washing yourself, trying to get the washing dry, and then getting down to dinner...and then relax. It's funny how you get back into the swing of things: Harry Hill was right, you've gotta have a system!

Okay then, we're almost out of time (I'm toast, more accurately) but I had a nice surprise via Twitter. I had tweeted brief deets of this venture to a few pro cyclists in the hope that they might re-circulate my challenge to their fan base, and there exists the slim possibility of donation.
I can't expand the photo, so thank your lucky stars.
Anyway, I did get a donation from someone who is not known to me...whether it's off the back of this or not I don't know. On a selfish note, it's a gee-up to get an acknowledgement from a headcase like TdeG, regardless. His 'not quite as mental' pal Tim Wellens did likewise...cheers guys!

Of course things wouldn't complete without a medium-hard sell. Thank you again...

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Getting into the swing of it again. They had some belters!

So where we today? This'll tell ya'...
Captain Slow rides again! There were a few more miles until the finish line...d'oh!
See you tomorrow?