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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Uber Challenge Day 6

Ok the last day of the Uberchallenge was the real behemoth and the reason the general public and our adoring masses should sponsor our sorry asses. But, before I send you all on a beautiful trip through a splendrific (that's also a word) Scotland, I would like to thank my friend Duff for plastering semi-clad pics of me sleeping and all farmers tanned over the world wide web. He was showing his first signs of grumpiness on day 5. Which, to be fair were long over due and this certainly shone through on day 5's post.

So after gorging ourselves on Chinese the night before we were psyched and ready to play cycling hardball. We had 72 miles to do. Duff, for the first time, showed ever so slight uncertainty. But, was, as usual,still confident in completing the 72 mile cycling marathon that would end in Berwick-upon-Tweed sometime before dusk
Cycling game face ready to bring my A game to Berwick

Unbelievably, We arose at 5.40 and were turning the pedals southward by 6am. We needed all the time we could squeeze out of the day to increase our chances of winning. Below is a picture from about 6.30 which you will be able to figure out by the long shadows. If not watch a bit more Ray Mears.
So we powered out of South Queensferry, flew through Dalment and cruised through Crammond before hitting Edinburgh. This proved trickier but we figured it by sticking to side roads and using our smart phones and our smart brains. Fortunately, Edinburgh is quiet at 7 on a saturday morning.

It was the last day and pictures had become more sparse as we tired through the days. Here is one crap picture of Edinburgh Castle. I guess everyone has seen it before anyways.

This tunnel was pretty cool. I wouldn't recommend it at night though. As even big men like me and Duff would be a wee bit scared.

Anyway, Edinburgh wasn't easy but we made it fluently enough. As we hit 37.5 miles we finally took a break and we had a lie down on what was as Duff proclaimed not only the comfiest concrete in the world but the comfiest place he'd ever been.

Fifteen minutes and some caramel shortcake later we moved on. Little more than 50 yards away we stumbled across a dead mole. I'd never seen a real mole and Duff chose to pick it up. You would know this if you read a previous blog about the flattened fox frisbee roadkill incident of July. It's an excellent picture of Duff never mind the mole.

I moved off quickly as I was scared he would throw it at me. I hoped his love of animals would help him to see sense and avoid this. He did as he kindly tossed it in the gutter. Only joking he laid it in the grass.

Anyway, the next section was undoubtedly the most grueling part of our trip. We decided we would stop for lunch 5 miles after Dunbar. Unfortunately, towns in these parts are thin on the ground and a good hour and a half of cycling uphill and into a strong headwind our sprits were at an all time low. We knew we had a long way to go and I was starving. Then, we stumbled across a hillbilly caravan park in Pease Cove or the middle of nowhere as it could easily be called. It was a nice part of the world if it wasn't for all the caravans and people. Anyway, as we stumbled into the social club at 1.55 we were delighted to find they served food until 2. Close call. To our delight the Rangers game was on the big screens all over the pub. Bad news as we watched them somehow salvage a draw against Peterhead. Things were grim as we took on a 15 degree hill for half a mile. This preceded a three mile uphill into the strong wind. Not many pics were taken. Eventually, 25 miles late, after an almighty hill just after Eyemouth we saw an England sign and made the most of it. We had conquered Scotland. Now before you look at the pics. I am unhappy with the current overuse of the word BOOM amongst the kids of today. So, children of today, here are some alternatives:







It was harder coming up with those alternatives than I had envisaged. But, now I'm through and I move on. Duff said he was done and he'd conquered Scotland. I said the challenge was Tongue to Berwick-Upon-Tweed and we weren't complete but I said I would go and get Lisa and come back for him. You see, it was actually an oversight by me as I thought B-U-T was actually right on the border. Unfortunately it was 2 miles over. As oversights go this was a bad one as we'd already done 72 miles today.He then said he would just come as he'd get cold.
Three leg sapping miles down and a near fall from Duff we realised we had taken a wrong turning (the first bad one of the trip as we got to an uncrossable fjord. The first bad one of the trip. So we headed back up a steep hill and all three miles and I mean ALL THREE MILES back to the England sign before heading up a major road that we decided must lead to Berwick and joy of all untold joys it did. 

I envisaged finishing at the beach and running into the sea but after heading down hill for ages through the town I gave Duff two options. Go and find Lisa who'd lovingly came to collect us or stay on Berwick Upon Tweed main street and get Lisa to come to us. Understandably, he opted for the latter.
Lisa and me happy to see a car I could travel in

Rather excellently Lisa had been food shopping for us and we enjoyed an excellent meal. DUff almost immediately fell asleep. We then continued to gasp as we could go so fast so easily in the car. We gasped all the way to Edinburgh at just how far we'd travelled.

We had completed 317 miles and made it from tip to toe. A phenomenal achievement particularly for Duff as he had hardly trained. He claims to have proved you don't have to. It's a fairly sound argument. I'm laughing thinking about what he did with such awful preparation. He claimed to have completed running in 2010 at the Inverness marathon. On the way home he claimed to have completed cycling and said he was never going to cycle again. I knew this was coming. It was obvious. Anyway, this was an incredible achievement. 317 miles cycling the length of a country carrying all his belongings including a tent . Please remember he only learned how to cycle in October and is still really shaky. Also, he hadn't even cycled with panniers before Tongue and on the last day we were on the road for thirteen and a half hours. We cycled 12 hours and 15 minutes of them. So Duff and your grumpy lazy ways we salute you and thanks for joining me on my trip and making it fun and interesting. There, that's one nice thing I've said about you. It's the first and last.

1 comment:

  1. I once cycled that tunnel in Edinburgh before they put the lights in it and improved the roadway. It was possibly the scariest thing I've ever done. Didn't dare fall off as there was the sound of rats nearby... eeek.