LEJOG – Day 8 – Punctures and a curry
The penultimate day- here we go! The day started well, the pair making light work of the promised poached eggs and bacon before they got out the door. By 10 o’clock there were already 25 miles in, having crossed the Grampians. The boys then worked out that over the past 7 days they have climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest, plus a cheeky extra 6,000 ft, and with just under two days to go. As has become usual, each day isn’t without its big climb, today’s- Slochd Summit, 1,328 ft above sea level. Again, the scenery was so picturesque, the boys inundated us with photos of would-be Monarch of the Glen film sites.
A very long morning was ahead of them, despite the fact they thought they’d got the biggest challenge, the climb, out of the way. The boys received their first puncture at 776 miles, swiftly followed by another as they had missed an extra piece of metal wedged into the wheel. Fortunately, Karen and Martin were yet again on hand, giving the boys a handy place to lean the bike on the back of their Mini whilst they repaired it. They had to quickly rethink their route, and finally they set off again having lost previous time.
Lunch was a very fancy turkey and guacamole ciabatta (hats off to Karen and Martin yet again), this was not the only thing cheering the boys up, they reflected (via Google Maps) just how far they had come by that point and they were only 13 miles away from being just (!) 100 miles from John O’Groats. Once they reached that 100 mile point they stopped to take a photo. As you can see, they are not at all happy about the fact that by the end of today they will have just 87 miles standing between them and not having to cycle!
30 miles left in the day, they set off and only really stopped to take breath-taking photos of the views around them, also sending dropped pins of excellent place names like ‘Dingwall’ and ‘Mount Gerald’.
The waterproofs finally got a mention- thank goodness they were actually wearing them and not lamenting their absence! Arriving into Tain at 6 o’clock, the boys were elated at the prospect of just one day left in the saddle, a beer on the finish line tomorrow (their first in over 9 days- the pain!) and even a take away curry tonight. After the curry, the boys spent their evening in the usual ritual way, protein, foam roll, ice and route planning- all for the final time of this challenge!
Tomorrow is a special day, they have 87 miles left between them and the, what was extremely distant 8 days ago, finish line. If all goes to plan, and fingers crossed it does, they will have completed this challenge in 9 days, and comfortably (time-wise that is! Everything else, very un-comfortable!). They have so far made every stop point, sometimes with miles to spare, which has been such a wonderful surprise. Mark only got out on a road bike 6 weeks before the challenge started, and that was for only 2 miles before there was a puncture, so at first I was a tad dubious he was even going to make it to day 2. The fact he has so far even managed to stay sat on a bike for 8 days has been a miracle! James also has spent the entire summer travelling with work non-stop and has struggled to fit training in amongst his busy and tiring schedule, so they have both done exceptionally well and made us all extremely proud. End of smug girlfriend comments for the time being- no such promises can be made for tomorrow though I am afraid!
Thank you everyone for your unbelievable support. I know the boys will soon be very verbose and won’t need us to write their tales for them when they finally get their breath back. They will be full of thanks for every single one of you who have watched this amazing journey and cheered them along the length of this phenomenal challenge (and island!). So one more sleep and one final push, hopefully we will all be celebrating together tomorrow!