My plan to change the route today paid off as I survived the day with less climbing and I loved it all. That’s not to say there wasn’t any climbing- getting out of Chepstow was a great warm up and ended with a fab view back down the valley. My legs were feeling great even after the 99 miles the day before.
The pay off for the reduced climbing was the busy A49 which in places is very dicey with massive lorries squeezing along narrow roads racing up to Leominster and further. Their number did reduce after Leominster but I really don’t think the roads are suitable for vehicles that big at all. That said they all overtook brilliantly. Like… proper next lane overtakes.
I stopped in Hereford for lunch and to buy myself some new cycling mits since my old ones were stretched and really manky. There’s something wonderful about new cycling gloves. I’d love to go back to Hereford properly one day because it’s a beautiful town. I’d recommend you go if you’re ever in the area!
My uncle and aunt were meeting me in Shrewsbury that evening and by chance happened to pass me just after Ludlow. They stopped in a layby and sneakily took photos as I approached. Now, I’ve never thought my cave-of-pain-but-enjoying-it face was ever photogenic but I sincerely appreciate having the photographic evidence of the reality of the ride.
Further on I met another one of the world’s little gems in another layby. I had pulled in to change my water bottles around, just pulled off again past one of those food and drink stands and a man calls to be waving a bottle of water. I stopped and accepted the water (lemon and lime flavour for extra sugar) and filled part of my now empty bidon up. I thanked him and he offered another to take with me. When asking how much I owed him, he said not a penny. He’d offered because he saw I was getting low. Great, kind man. We had a brief chat and I was on my way again glad of the extra water because even though it was cloudy it was still warm and had been since Lands End.
Today consisted of the busiest roads but was the best day so far. My legs were sore but they were so strong without issue going up hills (of which there were a few nasty ones). By the end of the day my knees were starting to cause me a fair bit of pain so I was quite glad to stop and apply some Biofreeze to soothe them.
Great dinner, great company and a great sleep after a great day.