Barwick getting some air time
Before anything else, Dan’s mum needs a mention. Debbie Isitt spent hours and hours cooking us cakes, flapjacks, muffins, rock buns and cookies to supplement our meals. They have been an absolute godsend and we are hugely grateful for them.
Day 3 - we were down for breakfast at half 6 and the atmosphere was anything but chirpy. To put it lightly, we weren’t looking forward to the day ahead. After eating plenty of muesli and granola provided by Chiltern Natural Foods (plug!) and showers needed to wake some of us up, we managed to set off at 8.15 ready for the first 30 mile stint. 25 miles - a bike shop! Mike managed to get his bike fixed after yesterdays broken spoke as the others trudged on to our first break point. Max got the first puncture since Day 1 just as the group stopped to refuel. With the help of some hard work and a few miles in the van to catch up, Mike rejoined the team at 40 miles. We stormed it to lunch and only Harry completely stacking it and falling off his bike broke the rhythm we were in.
Just before lunch came our biggest test. We went up a mountain. The toughest thing any of us have cycled winding up and up and really motivating each other on! Satisfied at our hard work, we entered Montmirail where we were due to eat lunch and even though the van set up outside of the village, the team were not enthused to do the extra 2 miles to reach them. Lunch was awesome, plenty of pasta, tuna and snacks. We even managed to have some hot brews! A second spoke had broke on Mike’s bike so we decided to just snap it off and carry on.
At 3pm we started the second half of our day. Another huge hill was upon us straight away with no time to warm back up again. We are definitely growing stronger with every passing mile but the hills today were a real killer. The niggles and injuries were becoming more apparent and the terrain we covered was taking its toll. Brendan’s knees, George’s knees, Dan’s ankle and Harry’s shin splints were only some of the injuries hampering our speed. Saying that, we were making incredible progress and averaging well over 16mph on rolling hills.
Joe went all Fatima Whitbread on us after a fly decided to go up his nose. Every time we hit a poor road surface a collective moan filled the air. Brendan’s moaning was a source of enjoyment, Joe had another day of attempting to hit the high notes and Heesom going crazy up each hill were notable features of the afternoon.
Apologies for the Tracker stopping for a couple of hours. It won’t happen again.
One more stop before dinner time. We were really pushing ourselves to our limits. It really helps when cars and motorbikes go past joyfully tooting and waving.
After finally finding the hotel which had showers and toilets in the corridors, we had dinner where the waiter tried to fob us off with dinners we didn’t order.
Upwards and onwards to Day 4!!
Chiltern Natural Food for breakfast
After an awful day 1 everyone was awake and down for breakfast at 7 45, as you can probably imagine, there were some glum faces! Reluctantly we set off after our breakfast. With an ambitious target of reaching 40 miles for our first break, we trudged on with Barwick’s awful singing filling the air.
Everything was going pretty well apart from a few slight injuries, George’s knee, Dan’s heel and weirdly…… Brendan’s nipples! But problems were just around the corner. We cycled up a pretty steep hill and everyone seemed good after it, then we noticed that one of Mike’s spokes had broken. So we stopped at a closed bike store. This was our first stop and Brendan managed to sort his nipples by getting Nicky to put some plasters on them! After a long break we carried on with plenty of food in our bellies and Mike with one less spoke on his wheel.
The remaining miles were quick but were with some incidents. Max managed to do a bit of off roading and nearly kill himself. There was a 3 man collision between George, Max and Dan happily with no injuries. But later on, accident prone Dan managed to have another collision with Barwick and fell off his bike into the middle the road….. what an absolute muppet!
Despite a few hard hills and a few wrong turnings we got to the hotel in Noyon at a decent time and went and enjoyed a buffalo grill. One fact that Max and Heesom have agreed on is that French dogs are very angry, as every time we cycled pass one they looked like they wanted to bite our heads off!
Dick of the day - Brendan, anyone who has to put plasters on his nipples deserves it!
6.15 wake up on Day 3 for a big, big effort.
35 miles in