Day 1. Part 2.

First things first-they’ve made it! Well done guys…

So we’re in Ashford now-they’ve just turned up-got here about 5 to 7 so a long day for them but the last part was faster than I expected so good stuff!

I pottered around Woolwich and got soaked so bought a coat….then read my book waiting for the guys…they turned up and Leroy had ruined his cleats walking through the tunnel under the Thames but fortunately I had my spare ones.

Leroy re cleated his shoes and the other two (looking fine and smiley despite the weather) got things out the car etc.

They had no real news to report (boring!) and set off without too much fuss-we didn’t go in the pub as they wanted to get off…

Before they barely got to the road though david realised he had a puncture :( a piece of metal was stuck in his tyre so he removed it and got a new inner tube..he pumped it up and just before putting the tyre on his bike there was gunfire!!!

I was convicnced I had been shot but then realised it was actually just David’s inner tube which had exploded…puncture number two!!! Dave then put a new one in whcih survived-so much for out team mechanic :0)

Off they go safely and I’m tasked with getting a new tyre-and it has to be blue to match the other one…bloody diva….

The first bike shop I find is closed… The second I call and that’s closed…the third is open but far away off route…but I’ve got time…

so I go to cycles uk in Orpington and get a blue tyre and I blag a discount :0) result. I then avoid major m25 trauma but end up on scary country lanes until I find the pub for the next stop…

I get to the pub, get my pint and sit in the front beer garden under an umbrella in the pouring rain looking right stupid…the guys turn up not long after and stop for a proper meal.

The guys are still happy (I think) and although we are stuck outside in the rain under a big umbrella we order some chile con carne and a hot drink (I carry on with my Stella and get some chips!)

The lovely pub (The George Inn) takes pity on us when the food is ready and clears a table near the front door for us so the guys can warm up and eat in the dry….some keen cyclists here too- I spy a picture celebrating a group’s trip from Birmingham to Rome and one of the staff comments that she went from lands end (or john o’groats) to Germany once!

After much needed fuelling we set off again-me going straight to our rest stop for the night in Ashford some thirty miles away…

The weather got so bad I decided once I’d checked in I’d go back and find them with warm drinks but before I could do that… trauma!

I go to the premier inn that the postcode directed me to….there are no rooms booked under Windle ( Leroy booked all the rooms-God help us all)…there are no bookings under any of our names….but there are three premier inns in Ashford…I now assume that I am at the wrong one… The nice receptionist phones the north Ashford one…no luck…then she phones the other one…not luck…At this point I’m worried…she then points out the travelodge over the road…oh ok..maybe we are booked in there! I’m sure Leroy said premier inn…..

Off to the travelodge I go – “two rooms booked under Windle please”…she checks…”how do you spell that?” … I spell it… “No, nothing booked in that name…” … I’m now borderline insane as am I just in completely the wrong place ? And this is where they are headed….don’t want it to be wrong..are we roughing it tonight?!?!

I plead with the woman and we then check the address the booker lives at – I reel it off and finally some joy – the room is booked under the name Windle Leroy…the eejit has put the names the wrong way round!!!!

It transpires that the other room is booked for Mr Tony!!

Anyway I have a room! I grab a shower then head out – I don’t expect them for another hour based on the previous section- I just pull up at sainsbury near the hotel and Leroy calls-they are very close!

I forego sainsbury – rush to macdonalds and get back to the hotel with a hot drink for them all 2 mins befrie they arrive!!

They made it!!! I’m very proud of them … Having cycled the same distance when I cycled from MK to Rotherham I know what it’s like but that was a nice warm day- to cycle in this torrential rain is just awful….more credit to them I say…and more sponsorship required!!! But seriously-it’s a great effort…Leroy is like a robot and would carry on going regardless…Tony hasn’t cycled distances like this for twenty years and with all due respect has a good few years extra on the clock!! And then there is Mr Warwick….arguably the fittest of us all (currently) but David has never really done more than 50 miles so not practice at long journeys so well done for your first 100+ miler :0) awesome stuff all of ya…

It’s been an odd day as support car….I was looking forward to chilling places waiting for them but I find I’m on edge waiting for them to appear….it’s not so much concern they are in trouble more just not knowing when and where they are….and I like/need to know what’s going on at all times….this is something that will surely get worse once we cross to the continent!!!

I’m kinda ambivalent about the trip….I’m still deeply gutted that I’m not cycling as I’m missing out on an amazing trip but at the same time-with this weather- I’m not sure id want to do it….I’m still there to help and hope the guys have found me helpful…I know that if the Dublin cycle – no support car, just us and heavy rucksacks- was in this weather it would have been miserable…so I guess I am needed after all and I’m not just along to stay involved ;0)

Sorry for no pics as struggling to upload them via ipad…also sorry for the infinite typos…

david , Tony and I just went for some food at the beefeater- Leory staying behind to get some kip as he had like no sleep last night as he and Kathy didn’t get home from The North till real late…and the quicker he gets to sleep the less likely my atrocious snoring will keep him awake…. The room is boiling so that we can dry clothes….it is only slightly colder than the depths of hell I reckon and I’m struggling not to drown in my own sweat..but the needs of the cyclists must come first……

I’m getting sleepy now and must be awake in 6 hours (half four wake up call….) I hope leroy is now asleep as if I snore he has permission to wake me and I’ll go kip in the car…. :(

Well that’s all for now….might be a while tilt he next entry as I’m dependent on finding wifi abroad….

Keep dry people ;0)


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