The all singing, all dancing blog of Alex Guite

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Day 10: Tain to John o'Groats

Distance: 154.1km
Total: 1690.4km
Time: 7hrs 11mins
Average: 21.4kph
Maximum: 60.6kph

I guess it was right that the final day should be tough: a reminder that getting from end to end shouldn't be as easy as yesterday's ride. I had the wind in my face again today and some tough climbs along the coast road. Ken P texted me in the morning to warn me about the hills out of Berriedale and it turned out rightly so: it was a steep climb.

As I pushed further north the gradients decreased but the wind increased and I found it harder and harder against the 25mph gusts. I can't complain much about rain since somehow I didn't get a full day of rain in one of the wettest summers on record, but the sharp showers today were very heavy.

I stopped in Wick and seriously considered just getting a B&B and cycling the final 25km tommorrow instead of continuing in the wind and the rain. For some reason I persuaded myself to carry on: the rain eased up although somehow the wind got even stronger.

Those last kilometres seemed incredibly long. This isn't some abstract comment about the last part of a long journey always feeling like the longest: it was simply exceptionally difficult to make progress against the wind. Out of my saddle and in the lowest gear I was able to creep up to around 15kph.

My arrival into John o'Groats was a bit of an anti-climax. I wasn't expecting cheering crowds, but really, there is nothing there. I got my log book stampted in the hotel, took a picture in front of the sign and then headed the final five kilometres to the hostel. To be honest I was more relieved to get into the warmth than I was to have finished.

With no pubs near the hostel and not fancying venturing back out into the cold night I celebrated with several plates of pasta and no beer.



At Tuesday, September 04, 2007 8:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done that boy. One Great Cycle Ride completed on schedule against the wind. Grandma kindly reminds me of my great Cambridge to Sheffield cycle ride, Dec.1951. With only top and bottom gears working and a Northerly wind I hitched a lift somewhere around Peterborough. Today's generation is made of sterner stuff, she says.
Congratulations. Grandpa.

At Wednesday, September 05, 2007 8:32:00 AM, Anonymous ubersupermum said...

Yes, well done Alex, the entire office has been following your progress in my pocket A-Z of the whole UK bought specifically for the purpose. I was going to tell you that your Dad did the same ride on a penny farthing in 1896 but he says it was 1976 in a Morris Minor and he started at Newcastle upon Tyne!
That's my Boy


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