Stage 5

"Rain in the Lake district ? How odd !!."

Stage Stats

Distance 157.5 km
Time 6 hours 51 mins
Elevation 1542m
Pain Factor 8/10

Ahh the lake district, the serene and peaceful place of quiet reflection in nature… reflecting on the pain in their asses (check out the Biffin Bridge status today) as they realise that lakes are formed between hills. The duo set off this morning expecting an easy ride over flat ground since leaving the highlands. 1500 meters of climbing time in the saddle later they had paid the penalty for their hubris. Hubris indeed, as the butt butter had lain unused since a rather unfortunate experiment for us all early on in the trip. now with five coats applied each they can barely manage to sit and drink a beer and eat a steak or in Paul’s case a salad –a green leafy salad so he could watch his figure. For those of you gambling at home the over/under on his km for tomorrow is +/-85 before his body rebels and demands that he sacrifice a sheep. But for those of you interested in the actual people cycling well they are bathing in the joy that is their much anticipated return to England — Say Cheese. 

We left lockerbie with a dry set of clothes (after yesterdays drenching). Thanks to the kind hotel owners who did a wash for us and let us hang everything up in the their dry room. I was down to my last set of kit and you can see from the rather awful clash of colours I was not bothered as long as it was dry. We leave Lockerbie as the town prepares for the "Riding of the Marches" everyone was out and the streets were full of horses, big ones too. We watched for a bit and then took a quiet route out of town, to avoid getting tangled up with a shire horse.

My body and legs have taken a battering so far and things are starting to hurt. Muscles I didn't even know I had, scream every morning as I get on the bike and start off.  The first 20km I take at a very reserved pace, todays stage is fairly flat for the first part of the day, the big climbs of the Lake District are about 60km in. At Carlisle we stop for early brunch to stretch out and top up with coffee and cake. (Velo et Gateaux) 

The road out of Carlisle soon starts to ramp up, once you cross the cattle grids you know you are in the Lake District. Of course as soon as we enter the national park, the rain starts. It would be a lovely ride apart from the persistant rain which along with the wind chill was freezing. The worst bit about getting drenched through is the wet feet. Yeah, I have all the stuff to try keeping everything dry, but some how the rain finds a way. It is also so depressing to be banging your head against the weather. 

Eventually we pull into Keswick and stop for some respite from the rain. Massive burger and side chips are exactly what is required in these situations, and it was ordered with side orders of hot chocolate. The rain wasn't going to give up but it had slowed to a drizzle, Lands End was not getting any closer so we geared up and back on the bikes. The longer lunch stop was gonna prove to hurt. Straight out the back of Keswick the road to Ambleside is a beast along with the tourist traffic it was a real leg killer.

Quick water stop in Ambleside and then onto Windermere where we encounter a tailback of cars. We sneaked through down the centre to find the cause of the blockage. An open water swim race in Windermere Lake, suddenly I didn't feel so cold. One more climb just after Windermere and then its mostly downhill through Kendal and onto Burton-in-Kendal, where 2km from the finish I puncture a rear wheel (first one of the trip). I also discover that cannibalising my pump to provide spares for his lordships a few days back has rendered it useless. After 30 mins of screwing about by the side of the road I give in and call for support. There are not enough hours in the day to fix everything and drink beer, so one thing had to give.


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Next Stage: Stage 6