Monday, 24 August 2009

L-E-L Day Six

Gamlingay to Lee Valley
65km with 591 metres of climbing

I suppose that it is inevitable that eventually the body's internal clock will break its mainspring and cease to function properly. This happened at Gamlingay, which was the one and only time on LEL when I needed to be woken. At 4:30 I was still sound alseep, coming round in a completely empty room. All other riders had left, and I hadn't even stirred!

Tony was already consuming breakfast as I arrived, and we jointly got on the road at 5a.m. Noticeably, it was still dark, thus underlining again just how far North we had been just 48 hours earlier.

The route back to Lee Valley does contain some hills, and whilst none of these are particularly fierce, the effect after 1335km is unpleasant. This was tempered by the fact that it was a beautiful morning, and the sun was again shining over wide swathes of cornfields, and largely deserted roads.

The route keeps away from most of the main roads, but does do a short stretch of the A602 before Hertford. At 7:30 in the morning, this is not a pleasant place to be, even for just 2km.

Hertford itself was fairly quiet, but hillier than I recalled, as was the climbing around Broxbourne Woods. The final climb is Holy Cross Hill (I recall it as Holy S*** Hill!) and comes only 3km from the finish. This is great on the way out, not so good on the way back. It must be 1 in 7, and feels like 7 in 1 after 1398km of pedalling an overloaded bike. Determination and sheer bloodymindedness got me to the top without walking, and 3km later I rolled into Lee Valley having ridden the whole thing.

Arrival time at Lee Valley was 9:05 on the Friday, an elapsed time of 115 hours and 5 minutes, 1 hour and 35 minutes inside the unadulterated time limit. I was, and still am, very chuffed indeed.

The obligatory post-event photo was taken, and I am surprised that I still look semi-human, albeit about 10 years older, and completely shattered.

Thankfully, pastries were available and helped the revival.

I recovered my bags, and changed into the LEL T-shirt I had left at Lee Valley. On registration, I had received both the T-Shirt and a LEL cycling jersey, but there was no way either of these were ever going to get worn if I hadn't finished the event.

I made my way back to the railway station, and sat in the sun to wait for my lift home. The original plan was to cycle to Watford Junction to get the train home. This plan died at Coxwold on the way South, when I begged a lift instead.

The lift arrived at 11a.m. and I was asleep by the time that one junction of the M25 had passed. This lasted until just before Newport Pagnell Services, where I was woken by severe pain in the knees, which were protesting at finally being allowed to rest in one place. In an effort to relieve the discomfort, we stopped in the Services, and got some more food and drink.

Hastily consumed, this sent me back to sleep until about 15 miles from home, where I couldn't get back to sleep and spent the afternoon sorting stuff out.

Amazingly, on the Saturday, normal service was resumed (although an afternoon nap was taken) and I even got out on the bike for 18 miles on the Sunday.

Day 6
Gamlingay - Lee Valley
65km and 591 metres of climb
40 miles and 1939 feet of climbing

For the whole event
1,401 kilometres and 11,898 metres of climbing
871 miles with 39,035 feet of climbing
Elapsed time 115 hours 5 minutes
Cycling time 69 hours 15 minutes
Cycling speed 20.2kmh


the E.Port Sloth said...

you utter nutter!
Followed your progress as much as I could considering work's blox does not allow twitter through. Got a bit concerned about your physical wellbeing during the worst of the weather (gave up on your mental wellbeing as soon as you entered the event!).
How is the datameister-cycle interface now?

Tynan said...

Hello and well done on writing this all up, brave stuff, the weather sounds horrible and it sounds like you got rather lucky with it, well cone again, just about to enter for 2013 myself, the weather has to be better this time surely?