Day 5 Haydock to Penrith

This is a very different post to the one I did think I would write before starting off from Haydock Park Racecourse.

In one incident 24 miles into the day:

  • A cycle helmet probably saved my life
  • I thought my Deloitte Ride Across Britain journey could be over

This all sounds rather dramatic but it felt very real at the time and possibly why I am writing this post at 3 in the morning when I should be sleeping ready for the 115 mile ride to Edinburgh in Day 6.

The route took us across a little used railway crossing. We had been warned to take extra care in the rider briefing the night before, particularly if it was wet. It had been raining the night before (thank goodness I chose the “Plus” hotel package rather than the “Classic” camping option!). Even though I took the crossing very gingerly I still crashed down with a great thump, landing in the same place on the same thigh as Day 1 – ouch!

My initial reaction, after “That hurts!”, was “Is the bike OK?”. It looked like the rear derailleur was knackered so a call to mechanical support was required. My second reaction was “my helmet feels very loose” and I saw that the internal sizing mechanism had come undone.

First things first, get the bike off the road and try to ensure that not too many riders had the same fall; some success but there were still a fair number of fallers, all uninjured but probably with some nice bruises.

The Threshold Sports mobile mechanical support team turned up, checked the bike and said it was OK – “Phew”. The helmet was a different matter as it had a crack in the polystyrene where it had hit the road. I hadn’t felt a thing regarding my head. A call to a mechanic picking up spares in a local bike shop and a new Kasc helmet was on its way to the first pit stop, so I got a ride in the mechanics car for 10 miles or so (couldn’t ride without a helmet). Fantastic support from the mechanical team.

The rest of the day was uneventful. We had the climb up Shap Fell (the highest point of the route) – long but primarily with a tail wind. Fantastic views through the countryside in sunny weather and some brilliant descents. I just felt relieved to be riding and continuing the Land’s End to John O’Groats experience.

Day 6 sees us leave England and enter Scotland on a 115 mile ride to Edinburgh. Lots of teasing the foreign riders in camp that they’ll need to show their passports at the border! I’m pretty sure there will be a huge “Welcome to Scotland” sign.

Why am I doing all this, riding while the bruises turn a fetching shade of yellow and I take more skin off my right arm? Yes, it’s a personal challenge, but I really want to raise as much money as possible for Dementia UK to allow them to support families coping with dementia. See my post on 26 June for my personal reasons for choosing Dementia UK. You can help me raise money by donating on my Virgin Money Giving page here

Oh, my highlight of the day, very easy, being able to get back on my bike at pit stop 1.

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