As I write this blog (over a week late) England are out of the World Cup. In hindsight it was probably inevitable, but on the morning of Sunday 15th there was still a feeling of optimism over team LEJOG about our chances after a late night watching the loss to Italy.
And anyway … we had some cycling to do.
The previous week’s route out of London had impressed us so much that we headed off in a similar direction. London Bridge to Greenwich and up through Greenwich Park, before bearing east through Chislehurst and past Orpington. Definitely the “greenest” way of leaving London to the south.
Our little peloton moved smoothly through the countryside until just before 30 miles. Then it happened…
With a shout of “nutrition” (cue scrambling for gels, sweets or Soreen) Rich hit the front and decided that this was the moment he should channel the sprit of his Team Sky namesake Rich(ie) Porte. The pace went up. The pace went up again. I’m not entirly sure if he thought he was trying to break us free from a chasing pack or just trying to break us, but the next 20 miles passed by in less than an hour!
By lunchtime we had covered 50 miles. We stopped for lunch at a lovely looking pub in the village of Frittenden but heading to the bar we were unaware of the disappointment that was in store. While the locals seemed very impressed that we’d cycled from London this unfortunately this didn’t stop the bar staff enforcing their draconian Father’s Day “no booking, no lunch” policy. With a bit of negotiation we did manage to persuade them to rustle up two bowls of chips, but that was our lot.
Back on the road Chris and I suggested to Rich that as London to Dover hadn’t been designated a team time trial stage we could probably afford to take it a bit steadier. That was actually quite easy.
Another bunch of miles past uneventfully apart from the fact I got to tryout my awesome new “Yorkshire” cycling cap - a present from a guy at work. Top bloke.
A final climb into the hills outside Dover gave us our first sight of the sea then it was downhill pretty much all the way with a fantastic view of the radio aerials from the World War II radar installations on the cliffs in the distance.
Arriving in Dover we had covered the 89 miles in 5 and a half hours. Not bad going after the disappointment of the night before.
Times Chris has been late: 2 (63 minutes)