Four Sore Corners
Coast to Coast Report

Wednesday 1st June 2011

 

Time: 06:46:38
Distance: 140.87 km
Elevation Gain: 1,328 m

 

Moving Time: 06:36:38
Avg Speed: 20.8 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 21.0 km/h
Max Speed: 64.6 km/h

After the torture of the previous day, all of us were not particularly happy about the 140km and the drastic hills we faced. Also, the prospect of being on the A40, the main road to west Wales, was not very comforting. 

Gemma, having support-driven for four days straight took a deserved day off, to be ably replaced by Sas and Ali. The rolling hills for the first part of the day were quite enjoyable, but the group was all a little quiet, as we seemed to be suffering on this last day. Ian was in the most pain, as his back was constantly hurting, prompting him to hold his back with his right hand whilst cycling along. With his left hand still on the bike, and his legs making his hips sway back and forth, this all made Ian look like he was dancing to 'I'm a Little Teapot'. The delerious humour had set in, and this seemed to help us through. 

On the busy main road, the cars got increasingly close when driving by. One car got so close that it actually hit Andy at the front of the group. This made us realise that we just had to get off the A40, and so Haverfordwest could not come soon enough. 

After an excellent break in a Tesco carpark, where we were brought hot chocolate and cupcakes by the girls, we pushed on to Haverfordwest. After a couple of hours on the road dealing with some steep inclines, terrible Tarmac and Ian's impression of a teapot, we reached our stop point and got some food on board ready for the final stretch.

With around 30km to go, we thought we were home and dry. How wrong we were, as the hills in this final section were punishing. As we hit the Coastal road, several 16% gradient hit us one after the other, and our legs didn't have much more in the tank. After a lot of grunting, swearing and shouting, we made it through St David's and followed the signs to St Justinian's, our most westerly point. 


A few country lanes later, we were greeted by Gemma, Sas and Ali, cheering us over the finish line. It was a great feeling to make it all the way across the country, and even better to soak our tired muscles in the cold, but fresh ocean. 


Tuesday 31st May 2011

Time: 06:50:01
Distance: 148.25 km
Elevation Gain: 1,246 m

 

Moving Time: 06:45:53
Avg Speed: 21.7 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 21.9 km/h
Max Speed: 60.4 km/h


The longest of our planned routes. We all felt a little daunted setting off for the 150k ride, already feeling a little soft. 

During the first stop a local asked us where we we had ridden from, to which we replied "Lowestoft". The local accepted this and responded "good effort", unaware that this had taken three days of blood, sweat, tears and Lloyd repeatedly telling Ian to hurry the hell up. 


After the first 50k we reached the Welsh border. Andy was ecstatic, however the rest of us were a little scared by the gradients of some of the hills. Nevertheless, the beautiful scenery served as a distraction to the pain we endured. At this point, we had word from Saskia and Ali that they were not far away, and they may well make our lunch stop. Pausing in Presteigne, we ordered large portions of fish and chips, but unfortunately, the girls just missed out as the shop had to close. However, just after the owner had locked up and disappeared, Ian turned around and said "Hey Craig, isn't that your bag inside the shop?" It was indeed Craig's bag inside the shop, so Ian gallantly decided to go and ask any passing, random locals if they knew the owner and if he'd come back to let us get the bag. After a couple of failed attempts, Ian struck gold and we were back in business!


After several days of banter, Ian finally accepted he had to get out of big cog as the hills got steeper. The rest of the group surrounded Ian whilst cycling and shouted at him to get in the right gear at particular moments. This constant bullying seemed to work and Ian was heard saying "wow, it's like I've learned to cycle all over again!" 

The day was long and hard, and the hills in the final section were unrelenting. Upon finishing we were glad to be greeted by a personable B & B rather than the prison-like Travelodges we had stayed in the previous three nights. The generous host also sponsored us upon departure.

 

Monday 30th May 2011

Time: 04:22:59
Distance: 94.63 km
Elevation Gain: 647 m

Moving Time: 04:13:31
Avg Speed: 21.6 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 22.4 km/h
Max Speed: 51.6 km/h

After checking the weather forecast, we knew we would be in for a long, wet day. After a about an hour on the road, the rain started and it simply did not stop.

This was also the longest day so far in terms of mileage and the most difficult as far as hills went. We got pedalling hard to try and keep warm, but it was so cold that this proved very difficult.


Andy experienced the first puncture of the trip, and decided to try out his new CO2 canister. He forgot to wear gloves when applying the gas and the canister froze to his hand. Luckily, the skin calmed down after flaring up initially, so all worked out well!

We managed to find a nice pub to warm up in, and a hot chocolate and a nice meal certainly helped. However, getting back on the road was depressing, as the rain was still as heavy as ever.

Just before arriving at our lodgings for the evening, Craig picked up another puncture, and because of the stiffness of his tyres, it took all four of us, eight tyre levers and 15 minutes to get it changed!



Getting into an ice bath after the torrential rain was probably the most unpleasant part of the day.

 

Sunday 29th May 2011

 

Time: 04:23:09
Distance: 94.21 km
Elevation Gain: 298 m

 

Moving Time: 04:19:20
Avg Speed: 21.5 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 21.8 km/h
Max Speed: 48.2 km/h

We decided to leave a little earlier for the second day to try and avoid traffic. We’d also found out that the wind was due to be a little less severe in the morning, so this prompted an 8am start.

Despite the slight drop in wind to start with, we were all feeling the pain as shown by the collective groan when we all mounted the saddle to set off! After a few miles, we got used to it, but then the wind decided to pick up again. Brilliant.

We managed to get 40km under our belts fairly quickly, and a pit stop for a cheese and bacon slice from a village shop helped us on to lunch. During this segment, we managed some formation riding and we felt especially flair in our matching pink jerseys and synchronised pedalling!

After lunch, the wind picked up again, but we didn’t have far to go. 25km left and we experienced a few more inclines towards the end of the course. We also remembered about a challenge set by Sav, who wanted us to get a photograph with every County board we cycled passed. We got Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire with some odd poses.

Arriving at the next stopover was most welcome, and we all crashed for two hours in the afternoon once we checked into our rooms.

Saturday 28th May 2011

Time: 04:38:16
Distance: 101.50 km
Elevation Gain: 335 m
Moving Time: 04:27:59
Avg Speed: 21.9 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 22.7 km/h
Max Speed: 45.0 km/h

We started off in Lowestoft and, quite frankly, the most easterly mainland point in the UK is a lovely, picturesque place, epitomised by the giant blue silo and the 100 foot wind turbine. Getting going around 1pm left us with around 65 miles and about 5 hours in the saddle.


We soon realised that the wind was going to be our main enemy on these first few days, as we were experiencing up to 20mph gusts. The land was flat and the surface was good, but that didn't stop Hanley smashing into the back of Lloyd just before lunch! Andy and Craig had cycled off into the distance pretending they were Armstrong and Contador, leaving Ian wondering if his GPS was still working. As Lloyd cycled in front of Ian and applied the brakes, Ian had a look at his GPS only to face-plant into the back of Lloyd's bike and topple onto the ground. Ian's back wheel buckled, but was good enough to get to our lunch point one mile away. Thanks to a local bike shop, a swift piece of driving from Sara and £4, the wheel got fixed and we were on our way again.

After a massive pile of sausage and mash, we started making good progress. However, the GPS went slightly wrong when trying to take us down a dirt track. We eventually found our way again, but had added more distance to our total, something that would take its toll at the end of the day. We had also done three loops round a town centre, as we simply couldn't work out where to go! That didn't help either!



We'd mainly stuck to B roads throughout the day, but the last 10 miles was on a busy A road. We managed to get a good pace up, but as Lloyd was slipstreaming behind Craig, Lloyd clipped Craig's back wheel and with damage limitation in mind, Lloyd threw himself onto the grass verge on the left of the road. Both rider and bike were fine, spurred on by Andy cycling by the fallen man wetting himself laughing.

We arrived at the Travelodge just in time to see he Champions' League final kick off and smash a Works Burger in the Little Chef next door.

Monday 23rd May 2011

So, now only 5 days to go. Sponsorship has already reached over £1000. Thanks so much to everyone that has put some money in to a fantastic cause.  It is quite humbling to see so many of you dig deep to help us raise the money. Thank you. 

Thursday 19th May 2011

Just over a week to go. Preparations have gone pretty well. We all seem to be fit and ready for the C2C, although there is some trepidation with LEJOG.

This isn't enough to stop Ian and Andy heading off to Copenhagen this weekend to run a marathon. True legends.

 

Monday 28th March 2011

We are still trying and failing to get together for a photo shoot. despite the lack of the rest of the team to back him up, Sims managed to get some very fetching shots of himself in the Planet-X team stash. Check out the Gallery. 

Day 1

 

Day 1 starts in Lowestoft and ends just past Thetford, with no major hills to tackle, it should be one of the more straightforward days of the trip.

 

Distance: 96km

 

Elevation: +524m/-514m

 

Max grade: 5.1%

 


 

 

 

Day 2

 

Day 2 begins where we left off in Thetford, it takes us past Huntingdon, and on to Rushden. There are few short hills towards the end of the day.  

 

Distance: 94km

 

Elevation: +440m/-414m

 

Max grade: 5.9%

 


 

 

 

Day 3

 

Day 3 covers the 96km from Rushden to Alcester. The first of a few opportunities for the climber of the party to lead the way, with a few hills, as we go past Daventry and Stratford-upon Avon.

 

Distance: 96km

 

Elevation: +817m/-825m

 

Max grade: 9.5%

 


 

 

 

Day 4

 

Day 4 kicks things up a gear, with a longer day, and more hills. From 60-110km is predominantly up hill, with a particularly nasty section towards the end of this section. After that, there are a few more tricky climbs to negotiate on the way to Llanwrtyd Wells.

 

Distance: 148km

 

Elevation: +1684m/-1524m

 

Max grade: 15.8%

 


 

Day 5

 

The final day of the warm-up sees another tough day.  After a 5k climb at the start of the day, there’s a chance to get some serious speed up on some good descents, before a series of sharp hills hit us on our approach to the coast.

 

Distance: 140km

 

Elevation: +1496m/-1668m

 

Max grade: 14.2%

 


 

 

If you would like copies of the gpx files for this trip, please email us at info@foursorecorners.co.uk

 








 

 


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