12 September 2016
Day 8. 71 miles.
Naively, I started the day thinking that I’d ‘done’ the Lake District and it’s famous hills… but then I came across Borrowdale Ridge and the notorious Shap Summit. I wasn’t mentally prepared for such a long hill. It was humungous. 3-8% incline and 9 miles long (Shap Fell hill climb from Kendal to Shap)! It took me two hours to get to Kendal which was 15 miles away. The wind was so strong I had to get off the bike and push, and even then I could hardly move forward. I had tears streaming out the corner of my eyes and I was half-laughing, half-bubbling with teary effort in hysterics. Towards the summit I was in clouds, rain threatened, it was very windy and cold. I could hardly breathe. I conquered, but then, had to… try and control the cycle down! Scary, screamy, cycling, riding the brakes all the way and trying to stay out of the way of the huge lorries struggling to labour upwards and round the hairpins!
I eventually collapsed into a hotel – what a treat – after a pub lasagne and 71 hairy, scary miles.