Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey has completed the fourth day of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, describing the last two stages as “epic” and resorting to copious quantities of Coca-Cola to help get through as the race headed out of the land of Irn-Bru and into England.
At whatever level cycling is of course in part about setting yourself personal challenges and beating them, and for Storey, the last two stages, which clocked in at 212km apiece, represented by some margin the longest distances she had ever ridden.
As if that weren’t enough, much of yesterday’s fourth stage, which took the 600 riders across the border, was spent riding into a headwind, with Storey and her husband Barney also struggling with a stomach bug, and as she explained on her blog, “deciding that we were probably on sports powder and gel overload, we ditched the bottles and refilled them with coke, pretty much the only thing we could stomach for several hours!”
After leaving her husband behind and crossing the border, Storey headed towards Carlisle en route to Ullswater, on the way discovering “some steep rises and some fast and twisty descents, but the views were quite amazing and we found roads that most people would never have realised existed. For most of this section I had the company of the lead motorbike, which confirmed I’d be the first rider home again. These motorbike marshals have been a very welcome sight at various points on the route and today I was grateful for him leading me through the twisty sections.”
She continued: “At one point we were high on the moors, passing through wild land with low lying bushes and hundreds of small ponies and sheep. The road was winding through this remote landscape and it made you feel like the only person in the world! As I rounded a corner, after slowing down to not scare the ponies, there was a huge sign wishing “Nigel” all the very best and several people stood with it cheering! It was awesome to see them high on this moorland and I pushed on realising there was only about 20km to finish!”
Storey came home in a time of 6 hours 53 minutes – great going on a day when there was a height gain of 1,565 metres – and now enters what to her is the familiar landscape of the Lake District, although with today’s stage starting with a climb up the Kirkstone Pass, there’s not going to be too much time to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
You can read more on Storey’s blog, which you’ll find here, and full details of the Ride Across Britain can be found on the dedicated website.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.