Day Four: Bridgwater to Hereford

or, The One Where It All Started Creaking

A less stressful start to the day, although I didn’t get out of the B&B until gone ten o’clock – I’ve settled into the habit of jotting down notes about the day for the blog in the evening and then writing it up properly in the morning. In theory this should stop you having to read a blog strewn with errors caused by drowsiness!

Anyway, once on the road I made good progress with a well-surfaced undulating thirty miles or so to start the day. I stopped half way into this stretch to pick up some supplies, and having noticed a slight niggle in my inner right thigh, got some stretches in.

As the road started climbing for the first time I passed a pub with a board outside offering a mid-week meal deal for a fiver…

…forty minutes and a cheeseburger, apple pie and custard and a Pepsi later and I was back on the road. Sixty miles to go and it was 14.00. In my head I gave myself a ‘deadline’ of eight o’clock to get to the B&B and gave them a call to let them know my planned arrival time (well, it’s only good manners isn’t it?!).

I noticed as I set on my way that my left pedal was creaking slightly – nothing to worry about really, anyone that uses LOOK pedals will know they have a tendency to do this. I made a note to get it sorted when I passed a bike shop…bit of grease will do it.

The miles were passing steadily and although the surfaces were no where near as good as I’d experienced to date, I made my way through Bristol; the cycleway following along the gorgeous Avon Gorge which looked incredible in the late-May sunshine.

Bristol came and went and I carried along the approach to the Severn Bridge. After what seemed like miles and miles I made it to the bridge and set about crossing it – cycles allowed down the side of the bridge on what’s also used as a maintenance roadway. Got to be honest…I didn’t like it. I’m not a huge fan of heights and, as I stopped to take a photo, the way in which it bounces as trucks rumble past is really unnerving!

Back on terra firma and a slight misreading of the map took me about a quarter of a mile off course, up a road and towards a Tesco Express. Whilst this gave me a chance to stock up, I also had the opportunity to treat myself to a spell of time in what’s easily the ‘scummiest’ area I’ve seen so far!

Leaving behind the kids in their Corsas and their groupies in the Tesco car park was a tough thing to do, but I had to crack on…sorry guys.

Remember that creaking pedal? Well it had got worse. It’s not a nice ‘eek eek’ mousy squeak either. Oh no, it’s a full on plastic-y ‘crrk crrk’ and I reckon I can be heard for a good half mile or so as I, literally, grind myself onwards – must find a bike shop…

The latter part of the day is where the hills start. There’s a few peaks which, although no where near as bad as that one yesterday, are still testing and that niggle in my leg was getting more noticeable and seemingly spreading around the leg.

Fifteen miles to go and I pulled out the knee brace that I’d packed last minute and put that on the troublesome leg – I’m not a huge fan of supports, and firmly believe they should be a last resort…but needs must. It did the trick and the pain eased enough to carry on at a reasonable pace.

The final four miles or so was a lovely downhill stretch and was needed after what had turned into a bit of a slog. I eventually found the B&B at nine o’clock, having first of all gone completely the wrong way (bloody GPS had been set incorrectly!).

A wander to nearby Sainsbury’s to pick up some tea (honey and mustard chicken pasta, orange juice and a For Goodness Shakes milkshake) and some frozen veg to use as an ice pack on my right leg (classy!).

A quick google has thrown up a bike shop nearby that looks good, a proper local one – so a trip there early doors tomorrow to sort out the creaking, then on my way to Chester. A hundred
miles, reckon that’s a good ten hours…

Finally, a big thank you to everyone that’s been in touch (be it by text, phone or online) – it’s nice to know that there’s someone out there reading my ramblings. Thanks also to everybody that’s sponsored me so far, it really is appreciated and is another factor that’s keeping me motivated.

Stats for the day

Distance for the day: 94 miles
Time in saddle for the day: 7hrs 9mins
Average speed for the day: 13.0mph
Maximum speed for the day: 46.0mph (eek!)

Total distance to date: 328 miles
Total time in saddle to date: 24hrs 58mins
Average speed for trip to date: 13.1mph

Route for the day…

Day Four: Route

Route profile for the day…

Day Four: Route Profile

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