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Coast to Coast - Day One
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13 Aug 2015

With plenty of local, solo training rides under my belt it was time to head out with a group and try to tackle some real mileage - the Coast to Coast.

So here we are, about to set off on the famous Coast to Coast cycle route travelling from Whitehaven on the West coast to Sunderland on the East coast with an overnight stop half way at Alston. A total distance of some 140 miles.

This is new territory for me: two longish rides on consecutives days, riding with such a large group and my nemesis, hills! I had purposely not looked at the route profiles beforehand as I feared that if I did I may not have turned up. I’m filled with nerves, trepidation and excitement as we make our way for the photo shoot in front of Whitehaven harbour and though a bit chilly at that time of day, the sun is burning through the clouds and the wind is Westerly.

Before I know it we are off, through the town and quickly onto a disused railway track for the first few miles. The first thing that struck me once we left the track was just how beautiful the country side was. We were being treated to spectacular views that many never see as we cycled away from the main routes.

It didn’t seem long before we arrive at our first challenge, Whinlater Pass. It started off gently but then had a nasty steep section before easing off again. The group naturally split as we had some very strong riders with us. Kate and I found we had a similar pace and so stayed together and I arrived at the visitor’s centre in reasonable shape – much to my surprise.

So far so good! After a short café break in Braithwaite – great scotch eggs, which I was hoping I would not regret - we set off again this time heading for our lunch stop.

Lunch completed some had a quick nap in the sun as I mulled over the biggest climb of the day: Hartside Pass. At 1900 feet it boasts the UK’s highest café but we had to get there first!

The was definitely the hardest climb of the day and it seemed unrelenting.  The 1400 feet of uphill climb certainly felt a lot worse after 70  miles under the legs. We made the summit of Hartside  with the faster members of our group cheering a clapping us in – it was exhilarating. Our trip down the other side into Alston was fast and fabulous and, par for the course, we went straight into the ‘Cumberland Inn’ for some well earned cask conditioned refreshment.

On reflection of day one and the 6,500 feet of climbing, I learned that my initial nerves were misplaced and cycling with such a supportive group actually enabled me to achieve more than I though possible. It all bodes well for L2P.



Wish you well .I did this ride in 2013 and know exactly how you felt about the hartside café climb and descent ( we did the descent in a hailstorm )
Our halfway overnight stop was in Penrith .
Good luck