I wondered during this ride if my legs or my lungs would be my downfall, but a different vulnerability got me in the end. After pedaling across England from Land’s End to Carlisle, just shy of both 900km and the Scottish boarder, I succumbed to saddle sores.
Along the way we’ve encountered horse trails, gravel paths, broken pavement, shoulderless motorways, actual fields of mud and grass, Matterhorns and glass-strewn pavements. We’ve fixed punctures and ducked into pubs to get out of the rain. We’ve even had to call in mobile service to deal with broken spokes.
When I told Fearless Leader Joe I couldn’t continue, we quickly agreed on a plan: he would take the Garmin and tire pump and continue solo, and I would rent a car and follow along, with Kuroko stashed in the back. It was a winning plan except for the fact it was Sunday — no car rental shops were open. I ended up putting in nearly 60km more to find a place to stay in Carlisle where I would be near a car rental shop the next morning.
Meanwhile, as I enjoyed a long afternoon nap, Joe passed into Scotland, still pushing to get ahead of the game. He got in another 100km after lunch before stopping in Abington.
It turned out to be a very good thing Joe worked so hard yesterday, because today the weather conspired against us. There were just a few sprinkles in the morning, but by noon the rain was coming down so hard that I had to pull the car off the road and wait. I messaged Joe that he needed to take shelter, but there was no immediate answer.
Finally Joe got in touch. He’d waited out the worst in a pub near Edinburgh, and was now back on the road. We quickly decided on Perth as our resting stop, which still puts Joe ahead of schedule despite the rain stop.
And now here we are, waiting for our steak pie.