Every Single Mile

Kendal to Ecclefechan – 75 miles

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Today was the hardest day for most of the team. We thought the hills in Devon were tough. Add in a few very, very long climbs, torrential, driving rain, for most of the day, a long cycle along the extremely busy A6 and you might begin to imagine how tough we found it. Too difficult to stay as one group, we quickly found ourselves in smaller groups. Today’s story was very much one story, there will be many more perspectives amongst the group.

At 17 hilly miles, soaked to the skin and being blown about on the very busy A6, freezing cold, shaking all over, I decided I couldn’t continue the next nine miles to our planned stop in Penrith. Julia and Paula to the rescue and ten minutes later we were sitting in Shap village hall with a hot chocolate and bowl of soup served by the ladies of the local WI and young Jack, one of their grandsons. Chris and Chris, our support team brought the bus and with heating on full blast we accepted a lift to Penrith, ready to pick up any others along the way. We were already experiencing a huge sense of failure that we accepted a lift for those nine miles and so after an hour of warming up, a change of clothes, a few extra layers, with offers of support from Caroline and John to cycle with us, we asked to be driven back to Shap to complete those nine miles plus as many of the remaining 49 miles after that. Far too many miles to really believe we could complete in such awful conditions, so we set ourselves small goals:

  •   9 miles to Penrith
  • 14 miles until a roadside drink and energy replacement stop
  • 15 miles to a cafe break for food, rest and warmth
  •   8 miles to Scotland
  • 12 miles to our hotel

And slowly, step by step we met our targets. The rain was relentless, the hills unforgiving, the wind much stronger than anticipated, our feet sitting in pools of cold water within our shoes, our clothing soaked to the skin, our hands numb with the cold, we waded through every single tough mile arriving back at our hotel with only a few more minutes of daylight to spare.

All of the group have done every single one of the 620 miles so far. What a fantastic team effort!


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13 thoughts on “Every Single Mile”

  1. Oh wow. Having read this I was happily surprised to see it followed up with happy smiling faces! You are a fantastic bunch. Resilient and cheerfully determined! Keep going.


  2. Wow. Inspiring stuff (he says from the comfort of his bed…). Defiantly above and beyond to go back and do those miles – Breaking it down into micro goals was a good plan. Hope you get better weather and a tail wind today


  3. Wow, well done to you all….especially for being so determined and going back to do those miles! What an achievement so far, and stay strong…hopefully today will be better! Karen


  4. Wow what an Amazing effort from
    You all. Totally in awe of you, keep going you are all incredible. 🚲🚴🏽‍♀️🚵🏾‍♀️🚵🏿‍♂️Xxxx


  5. Brrrr. That sounds like a tough day! Hopefully the worst is behind you and you’re ready to motor on (that’s “continue” in California speak) to better weather and riding conditions tomorrow. Awesome effort!


  6. Incredible!! Well done to you all especially to Alison, Julia and Paula. Your sheer determination is inspiring to say the least! Well done everyone xx


  7. What an extraordinary achievement. You are an inspiration! (and I’m just talking about Famous Grouse at the border….!)
    Wish I could have been with you (no, really…)
    Keep going. You can do it!


  8. A brief summary of Monday Sept 3rd – Kendal to Carlisle – by Karen Tiffin
    Pete and I joined the LEJOG Cyclopaths for 1 day and what a day! We departed from Kendal in the pouring rain and the group was quickly split up after some confusion over which side of the river to follow. I ended up in the front group, which Marianne described as the ‘mountain goats’. Shit! The first 10 miles were brutal – I growled and swore up the inclines and imagined the stunning scenery that was surely there, somewhere behind the clouds. It was still raining. We passed a farm with some furiously barking sheepdogs, which roughly translated to ‘what on earth are you mad humans doing?’. My calves started to cramp and Nigel (hero no. 1) nursed me up to Shap, despite the pain he was obviously in himself. It was still raining. We could get up some speed now and I hung onto Marianne’s back wheel like my life depended on it for the next 10 miles, until we stopped for a snack under some trees. Nigel and Hiro joined us. As we set off again my sodden shorts got stuck under my saddle and the next thing I knew I was on the floor! I looked up to see Hiro (hero no. 2), a vision of yellow, standing over me. With divine like strength he lifted the bike off me. He did some remedial repairs to my misshapen handlebars and off we went again. It was still raining. After another 10 miles we reached an oasis called Sainsburys – onlookers stared in disbelief as we sat shaking and stuffing hot food into our frozen bodies. This was fun! Marianne (hero no. 3) gave me some dry clothes to put on and we set off again. Unbelievably the group got split up at the first set of traffic lights! That’s probably because it was still raining. So, as a group of 5, we forged on to Carlisle. This was where Pete and I left the Cyclopaths – to continue their epic journey to Scotland – what a wonderful and truly selfless and inspirational group of people they are. They are all heroes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Karen, wonderful to have your perspective on things. Would you mind if i post this as a blog page of its own to ensure that everyone sees it? If so, could you also send a photo please? Thanks Alison x


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