Day 2 of Our 25th Anniversary Challenge
8th June 2017
We always knew that day 2 of the challenge was going to be hard. An early morning ferry followed by 75 miles is not my typical Thursday. I laid in bed, unsuccessfully trying to will my burning Limbs back to life but it was no use, I had to leave the comfort of the Best Western and head out into the bright sunny morning and the ferry for France.
I’m not really a breakfast person. But, needless to say all six of us were at the head of the queue for a very large fry-up even before the boat had left the port. There is a real need to shovel as many calories down you whenever you get the opportunity. Cycling that sort of distance can burn around 4500 calories a day. Well at least that was my excuse as I shoved another slice of toast down.
As we headed away from the port into the old town of Calais it became apparent that not all of us were well versed on riding on the right side of the road. This brings me on to mentioning Vivienne. A bright, funny, football loving lady, who happens to be a mad as a box of frogs and with very little traffic sense, as we so found out when we reached the first junction. A great companion for our challenge.
The ever cheerful Nick had started to mention Calais Hill, or as he put it “A kicker for the ticker.” Straight out from the old town towards the National Park was the first of our many climbs of the day. I always thought that northern France was relatively flat, how wrong I was. This hill just went on and on with no end in sight. My frustration was made worse by Yuka riding an armoured bike leaving me and just about everyone else for dead halfway up the summit. Finally I reached the top gasping for oxygen and hoping for a few minutes to recover. My wish came true when the first breakdown of the day occurred and looking at my fellow companions we all needed a rest.
The day dragged on and on, riding uphill and down dale for hour after hour. The pain was punctuated with the many mechanical breakdowns that Huey’s bike suffered during the afternoon. I began to think he would throw his new bike in a field and start walking. Actually, if I think about it, I wanted to throw his new bike in the field and leave him to walk. That’s the problem when you are so worn-out with 40 miles still to go. Your sense of humour and normal tolerant self disappears in a flash.
Around 6pm the first road signs for Abbeville appeared and the mood of the group lifted as we hit the outskirts of the town. It had been a long, long day. We had ridden 80.2 miles, climbed 3819ft in just under six hours. Personally, I have never been so pleased to see an Ibis hotel before.
If you would like to see the route taken please click the link below
Blog Tags: 25 years