Wednesday 4th April
I have been putting off writing this blog post as I do not want to relive this day but here it is. I woke up to pouring rain in Kirkbride and my host Ryan helped me get my trike out of my garage and we said goodbye. I met a lady called Helen along the road and we cycled together.
This part of the route was particularly flat, it followed the wetlands and marshes around the coast. It was quite exposed and there was very little shelter. Helen managed to endure the weather with me for 10 miles and then she turned around. It really was pouring but it wasn’t cold, I just had to keep turning my legs and wiping the rain off my glasses. I passed through a few little villages, I took this photo of a statue next to a pub in one of them and then continued onto Carlisle.
I had a slow puncture again so I stopped at a bike shop in Carlisle to ask for some help and to dry off a little. It was when I stood up that I realised I hadn’t done up the zip on my semi waterproof trousers so you can imagine where all of the water was! I stood in front of their heater and dried off a little. It was a problem with one of the repaired patches on the tyre and the bike shop put some more patches over it and sent me on my way.
I passed into Scotland and cycled through Gretna, the rain still as torrential as it has been from the start, I didn’t feel like stopping even to take any photographs. Entering Scotland was a massive achievement but I just wanted to get to my destination as quickly as possible. I got to about the 30 mile mark at Annan and as much as I wanted to press on I was really hungry so found a small cafe to stop in. I changed my clothes and sat down next to the radiator. They were very kind and didn’t mind that I was so wet and had so much water in my shoes that I created a puddle.
Back on the trike I was still managing to endure the weather, I cycled through more villages, past farms and past a museum called ‘The Devils Porridge’ which was a large munitions factory during the war. I spent most of my time avoiding pot holes and puddles in the road, about half of the vehicles realised that if they drove through a puddle it would soak me whilst the other half didn’t care, they probably thought I was wet enough already. About 15 miles from my destination in Mabie Forest the wind suddenly changed, it was now a very cold headwind. I could no longer just endure the weather and turn my legs, I had to start pushing pretty hard to make headway. I was shivering as I cycled and no matter how hard my body worked I just couldn’t warm up. I cut off a couple of miles on the corner and this landed me up on the Bypass – a dual carriageway. I stopped to contemplate what to do and I was shivering so much that I lost control of my bladder. I wasn’t going to give you this detail but I think it’s an important reminder that despite how strong my body is proving to be I am still struggling with problems caused by EDS. I pushed on with the dual carriageway for a couple of miles, it was downhill and it was quick. I entered the outskirts of Dumfries and saw a Premier Inn, perfect I thought I will stop here and find a room as there was no way my body could cope with the 10 more miles to the accommodation I had organised. £90 they wanted for a room and the receptionist laughed at and was discussing how dangerous my trike is with another guest. I left and sat on my bike and cried. I was so cold, so wet I didn’t know what to do. I mustered the courage to go into the restaurant attached to the Premier Inn and they were so kind! They let me go into the toilets and change and dry off a little in front of the hand dryer. Then the manager helped me find somewhere close by to stay! She called round a few places before she found me a room above a pub in the centre. This was perfect, I had a drink and bite to eat and continued on. I was shivering again the minute I stepped outside but I reached the pub called Deja Vu. My room was perfect and I had access to the washer and dryer. I was exhausted but I managed to sort out and dry everything as well as chat to the locals for a little while in the pub. I didn’t fancy going outside again so I made some rice, peas and ham for my dinner. With sun forecast for tomorrow at least I knew that there was no way it could be as bad! I would need to catch up on the extra mileage on top of an already difficult day though. Everyone I tell that I cycled today is shocked that I managed it in the weather conditions!