Day Five: Hereford to Chester

or, The One Where Tony Gets Lubed and Sticks It In The Little Ring For The Day*

Up reasonably early and got over to Coombes Cycles by 09.15 to try and sort out the incessant squeaking. The guy working there, Mark, was also a user of LOOK pedals and had a chuckle as he sorted out my problem with a bit of grease. He also kindly tightened up my bottom bracket (ooo-er!) and pedals which had worked themselves a little loose. What a guy!

Bit of a dull day scenery wise, but then what more can you expect when the route consists of a sixty five miles on the A49, a bit of the A5, back onto the A49 and then a few other smaller A-roads into Chester itself?

So yeah, boring in terms of views but seduce a mallard it was a quick one – helped no end by the fact there were no silly climbs and the road undulated perfectly for the majority of the trip. Here comes the science bit, concentrate…

undulating (un-joo-lay-ting); adj.
1.Moving up and down like waves; wavy
2.Forming a series of regular curves

Now…whilst I was doing my preparation for the marathon (ha…listen to me, the ‘athlete’!), hearing a route described as this was the last thing I wanted. Slight inclines are hard when you’re running, but ideal on a bike. Bear with me…

Steep hills are bad, obviously; and quick descents, although fun, are over far too quickly. A flat surface may sound ideal, but requires constant effort so is more tiring than it appears…which leaves undulating. This gives you a chance to work on the slight inclines and relax on the downward sloping bits. And if you could have taken the traffic off the roads today, it would gave been cycling nirvana…!

With my leg and knee giving me some gyp the day before I spent the day with my knee brace on and concentrated on ensuring I was ‘spinning’ the gears as opposed to ‘mashing’ them – spinning means keeping the gears in the lower chainring and therefore getting more revolutions in at a higher speed. If you ‘mash’ the gears you usually have the gears on the big chainring and really push through…putting much more pressure on your knees and legs.

So I stayed in the little chainring all day and my knee felt a lot better for it, which is a good thing!

With favourable conditions and a decent route for the day I arrived into Chester at 18.30…woo, early for once!

I booked myself into the hostel for the night (just me and one other this time, very quiet!) and nipped out to grab some tea. Once again there was a kitchen available to use so I decided to be a bit more adventurous this time and opted for chicken pizza (Poultry? On a pizza?! Crazy!), some jam doughnuts and banana milk for a change…it’s like being a child again this trip!

Quick update to finish off, as I’ve been asked a few questions to date…

‘How’s the arse?’ – I can happily report no chafing issues to date (Assos Chamois Cream. Mmm…tingly!), although my sit bones are starting to complain if the road surface deteriorates…who’d have thought that would happen, hey?!

‘Got a silly tan yet?’ – yep, it’s started. Nice lines where the cycling top sleeves end and nice white hands where the gloves are. Amusingly, it’s more noticeable on the right arm, but then I guess that’s where the sun is as I’m cycling. Not burnt though…hurrah!

‘Did you pay a toll at the Severn Bridge?’ – nope, bikes are free. Wouldn’t recommend it though. Especially if you don’t like heights…!

‘How are you securing your bike?’ – I actually think you’d be okay without one, as I’m rarely more than ten yards away, but I did pack a coil lock. Will update the kit list later.

‘Have you met any other cyclists?’ – going my way, until Bristol, no. Even then they were only out on a short run or commuting. Today though I saw my first group of LEJOG-ers, a small peleton of four first of all passed me as I was on my phone on the side of the climb out of Hereford. We obviously took different routes as, sixty five miles later as I was on the side of the road on my phone, they passed me again…who knows what they think of me! Anyway, I chatted to their support vehicle and found out they’re due in John O’Groats late next week (Their blog is at if you fancy seeing how a group does it). Good luck guys!

‘How are you feeling?’ – pretty positive actually. It’s a bit odd only having one thing to focus on for the day and as bizarre as it sounds, knowing you’ve ‘only’ got to cover ‘x’ miles before the sun sets is strangely relaxing. I’ve had a lot of time to think!

Thanks for reading so far. I know Ive said it before, but it really is nice to know that I’m not simply rambling for no reason (does a blog with no readers make a sound?!).

Off to Morecambe tomorrow. Seaside fish and chips and a photo with that statue methinks…!

* Snigger. Oh, come on…you must have at least smirked?!

Stats for the day

Distance for the day: 94 miles (again!)
Time in saddle for the day: 6hrs 28mins
Average speed for the day: 14.5mph
Maximum speed for the day: 36.4mph

Total distance to date: 422 miles
Total time in saddle to date: 31hrs 26mins
Average speed for trip to date: 13.4mph

Route for the day…

Day Five: Route

Route profile for the day…

Day Five: Route Profile


46 Responses to “Day Five: Hereford to Chester”

  1. Clayts Says:

    If your average speed for the day gets to 15mph (or above), there’s another £10 for the Stroke Association.

    If your maximum speed for the day tops 45mph, then there’s another £20! There’s a little bit of risk/reward for you… ;o)

  2. Big G Says:

    Now you’re leaving SAS territory I assume you’re now cycling in just underpants and a bowie knife for the rest of the journey. You’ve been in the comfort zone for far too long….

    Incidentally I hope you kept that rucksack you bought…..cycling with that knife in your pants could lead to some serious chafing !!

  3. Deej Says:

    Cheers for answering my q. I use a coil too (oo-er!), so that’s pleasing to know. Did used to use one of those bulky d-locks.

    I managed to hit 28mph on a brief decline on a ten minute journey (woo!)back from the library yesterday evening, which I was chuffed with as I haven’t done those sort of speeds for ages. Ran out of gears though so peddaling became ineffective and I had to drop off – could’ve done with a 25th. I could check your link, but what does the Bianchi have? I expect your set is much smaller than mine (in size not number), and so more efficient at the top end. It’s nice to know I can quite comfortably do your averages but it’s just not hilly enough in Norfolk (and my bike isn’t racing-spec enough) to be hitting your maxs!

  4. Tony Says:

    Deej – the Bianchi’s a compact. Two chainrings 34/52 (I think) and a ten speed cassette, so twenty gears.

    Thin tires help…as do nice descents; did the 46mph without pedalling…! 😮

  5. Deej Says:

    Cheers Ant,
    Yeah I looked at the pic and can see there’s just two at the front (as opposed my three), but as you say, you have a better range at the back with two more gears to push further.
    Yeah I have racing tyres, certainly not the razor-sharp ones, but not the fatter hybrid ones either. Continentals. Should have a look at the names of the bits of kits I have (I have a Claud Butler, but don’t know the full model name off-hand) so that you can laugh at me/tell me ‘oh, yeah that’s not too bad for a novice’…
    Blimey; as I type you’re probably crossing the Scottish border – top work fella!

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    Errr no Isabella you’re not! Obviously you have some page loading fault as you’re replying underneath five comments that were posted the day this blog entry was published (well, excluding my last one a couple of days later)!

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