My day 5 legs have arrived exactly on schedule. It's like I ordered them on Amazon Prime yesterday, got them out of the box and put them on straight away this morning. Just as with the previous three years of Long Way Home rides and all of my Festive 500 rides, on day 5 my legs start to feel better and the ride feels easier. This, of course, may just be entirely in my own head, but that doesn't matter does it, given that half the battle on the previous days was taking place in my head anyway?
So, if you were dropping by to read about more misery and fuck ups, then I'm going to have to disappoint you. Today. Tomorrow is another matter. But for today I've finished another 98km with some great company from my old friend Brian and a new one, Paul.
Brian and I started the morning in Belper looking for somewhere to have breakfast. But sadly Belper seems particularly short of hipster cafés or any cafés for that matter. We ended up in more of a 'caff' at the bus station, but the food was OK. Getting out of Belper was always going to be painful given that it is largely built in a valley and we were at the bottom. I counted 8 climbs of over 8% in the first 10km just trying to get out. None of them were long but on cold legs and battling traffic, they were all hard.
It's a universal thing I've found on bike tours that traffic between 9am -10am in towns is dominated by white van men late for their first job of the morning. Maybe someone who drives a white van can explain to me why they don't leave home earlier? Not all white van men do this obviously. My neighbour is a plumber and gets in his van and disappears around 7am every morning without fail. I know this because he slams the fucking sliding doors on his van six fucking times, every fucking morning, before 7am while putting his gear in. He does it at weekends too because he goes off fishing. Come to think of it, he drives a red van so maybe he doesn’t count. He definitely doesn’t read my blog before you ask.
Anyway, after several near misses with vans on hills we finally got out of town and closer to something like countryside. At the top of the final hill we stopped for the inevitable kit change. I'm sure there are places in the world where you can consistently know exactly what to wear on a ride, but Britain isn't one of them. We are constantly pulling jackets, gilets and arm warmers on and off. Discussing this is 50% of all chat on club rides. I digress. While changing, we heard a woman on the other side of the hedge shouting at a horse she was riding. When got back on our bikes we decided to give her a wide berth, particularly when she stopped in the middle of the road and shouted "why are you being such a prick today?" (Presumably at the horse). Who knows what the horse was thinking, but it decided to leave the road and wander off onto a grass verge and we trundled by grinning at the woman. We can't be sure if it was the horse or angry woman who decided to chase us, but up the next hill they did start to gain. What is it the youth say?: 'it's all shits and giggles until...' Well being chased uphill by an angry equestrian combo made us put a spurt in.
In no time at all we were in Nottingham, but thanks to Komoot's habit of getting you to ride every bit of bike lane possible, it took us almost an hour to get out the other side.
Once we were out onto the countryside proper and the Vale of Belvoir in particular, it was all easy kilometers. We stopped at a posh pub for lunch to balance out the transport caff for breakfast. The food was excellent and we debated packing it in for the day and staying to get pissed. Not that we've ever done that kind of thing before in the previous 30 odd years we've known each obviously. Plus there were no Ubers locally that could have taken us to the finish in Melton Mowbray. (You would have been none the wiser though dear reader would you?).
After lunch more easy kilometres and a rendezvous with another channel subscriber, Paul. I'm really enjoying meeting and chatting to complete strangers on this trip - very unlike me. Although as Paul pointed out, we're not complete strangers as he felt he already knew me from my YouTube videos. We had a great ride around the roads surrounding Belvoir castle and Paul filmed more of it than I did for his own YouTube channel (I'll post a link later).
Somewhere along the line we managed to add a few more kilometres than expected, but it made no difference. With my day 5 legs and a brilliant wing man for company, this was an easy day.
Oh running totals just for completeness:
After day 5 it's 543km and 7,374m of elevation.