Lejog Cycle Blog from April 2009

Friday, 17 April 2009
Day 13
Dingwall – John O Groats !!!!!

Was happy to get out of Dingwall and out of the shadow of the ross county stadium, a full 110 miles meant a start of about 7am, a struggle after all we have been through. A quick Coffee and we were off, the first 50 miles were easy enough but not much to look at as the visibility was poor, a quick stop for a sandwich and it was back to it. The fun really started for the 2nd half. Hills came thick and fast and I was starting to wish we had taken 2 days to finish up. I arrived at Helmsdale with some reservations after hearing about “a few interesting hills” and i wasn’t disappointed as i was met with 4 hills all at about the 13% mark! Which basically means extremely steep. Think of the royal mile in Edinburgh times 4 and you get the idea. After those hills we stopped at a cafe to have a bite. There were 40 miles left to do and my knees were in serious pain. A headwind for the last 40 miles didnt help. Nether the less I somehow found myself 10 miles from the end. With 6 to go my right knee went and had to cycle the remainder with one leg! Arrived at JOG to see Matt making a home movie of my arrival, pretty embarrassing as I could hardly talk or walk but appreciated all the same. Got my picture taken at the end sign and signed the end to end club book. On way home now looking forward to bed and a bath. We are both never camping again! A special thanks to our work colleagues for your words of encouragement towards the end. Made a difference. Ta!
Total Mileage – 110 miles, all of which were painful.
Difficulty Rating – 10!!! (it had to be the last day didnt it!)
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 03:35 0 comments
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Day 12
Glencoe to Dingwall

Amazing day’s cycling taking in the beautiful scenery at Loch Ness. Poor visibility again which still did not spoil the stunning hills at Glencoe. The A82 was a rather hilly road to take and had fast moving traffic. The road choices are getting slimmer the further north we go. Tomorrow is the final day – a massive 110 miles to John O Groats! Going to give it everything to get to the finish tomorrow. Hoping to be home on Thursday morning. Nearly there!

Total mileage – 92 miles
Difficulty rating – 8

Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 11:18 0 comments
Day 11
Blackford to Glencoe

Day started badly as Mark cycled 5 miles in the wrong direction heading towards Perth by mistake. He soon sorted that out and 8 hours later we arrived in Glencoe. Hardest day yet for Mark for his legs, his knees especially are starting to cease up badly. Thankfully in Blackford Karin’s dad gave Mark two knee supports, without them the trip would be 100 times harder! 210 miles to go in hopefully two days – that’s the plan anyway. Mark is glad it is nearly over as he is having to put everything he has into every mile, John O Groats can’t come fast enough for either of us.

Total Mileage – 90 miles
Difficulty Rating – 9
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 10:31 0 comments
Day 10
Linlithgow to Blackford (Perth)

Nice easy day today – best day yet weatherwise, if a little too hot. Gorgeous going to Blackford and it was just the boost I needed for the final 3 days of the trip. Had a lovely evening in Blackford, thanks to the Moores for their cracking hospitality and C-Mac for her diamond banter. The next 3 days are all over 100 miles each so wish me luck!

Total Miles – 42
Difficulty rating – 5
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 10:13 0 comments
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Day 9
Dumfries to The Capital (Edinburgh.Home)

Day started with an easy 20 odd miles to Moffat which has the most amazing high street and especially toffee shop. After leaving Moffat there was a difficult climb up the A701 out and into the mountains. Despite the hard slog up the way the rewards where there after the climb as what goes up must come down etc meant roughly 40 miles downhill more or less all the way into Edinburgh. It felt strange to travel home and not stop off. Would have knocked my concentration to much due to there being to many distractions. It is a real boost boost knowing that tomorrow will be the start of the northen leg of the journey travelling through Stirling up through Blackford and beyond!

Difficulty rating 6 – due to the big ass hill leaving moffat
Daily milage – 74 (finally got the bike comp working again.. Wont comment on the retailer who sold it)
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 11:43 0 comments
Day 8
Lancaster to Dumfries.

The day started well and weather was perfect. Not sunny and not wet. A little windy but to be expected as we were approaching Scotland. Got to Gretna no problem and got a picture taken at welcome to Scotland sSign. Was quite tempted to get a quickie wedding done at the first and last house in Scotland (which has apparently had over 100,000 weddings, wonder how many are still together?! hmm) Getting to Scotland was the boost that was needed and getting to Dumfries rounded off a pretty good day. Made even better by the campsites facilities. Had the most greasyiest disgusting chippy down some back ally for dinner! Nice!

Daily milage 80 (again computer was messing up but a pretty close estimate)
Difficulty rating 7 – made easier as we are now in Bonny Scotland….

Note from Mark ” Matt the woman only brought out his Scotland top when we reached Scotland… Not much for national pride eh Matt?!

p.s My bum (knees, back, legs, arms, head, eyes, hair, fingers, toes, toenails) all hurt.
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 11:35 0 comments
Day 7
Delemere to Lancaster

The day started well and was mostly flat in parts, allowing for high speeds. The weather was terrible for the entire afternoon. Navigating my way through big cities would have been near impossible if it had not been for Matt waiting ahead every 5 miles with directions from his GPS.

It was a hard day today and I was exhausted when we arrived at our stop. Tomorrow approaching the lake district and hoping to get into Scotland and stop at dumfries. Come on!!!

Starting to get a sore ass now, not as bad as everyone warned me it would be, fear mongering swines! haha However my industrial sized tub of vaseline is running low already. But on a high note its almost time to get Runrig blasting to the stereo.

Difficulty rating 8
Sore butt rating – 8.5
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 11:32 0 comments
Day 6
Clun to Chester (Delamere forest)

Best cycling conditions so far. Got off to a nice early start which was a bonus until Mark realised he cycled 20 miles in the wrong direction. Mobile phone reception in this area was zilch which didnt help when getting lost. Mark passed a house and asked for directions and the lovely man offered him a cuppa and some lunch along with free maps of the area (really nice people!!) Eventually Mark managed to get a hold of me who then recalculated the route and all was fine again. The roads in this area of the country were perfect and traffic at a minimum. Not much else to add to today as once the mishap of the morning was over Mark made amazing progress to make it to delamere forest by nightfall.

To wind off a really good upbeat day we decided to put on our glad rags ( the one set of non smelly clothes we had left e.g clean underwear) and hit the local beefeater for a romantic meal for 2. Costing 9.95 all in!!

Daily milage – 90 (We think as the bike computer started playing up)
Difficulty rating 8.
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 11:14 0 comments
Day 3
Tavistock to Street.

Another lovley day made even better by starting it with a hot sausage roll and mars bar. Needs must!! never realised the effect of eating and not eating can have on you until you have busted your butts like we have doing. Route was good but really hard in parts. Turned ourselves inside out on some hills but made it non the less, arrived at campsite which was 10 miles away from street (in the wrong direction) which is rather alot when your cycling! The nearest place for food was 6 miles away. Legs didnt want to get back on the bike, the woman who ran the campsite made us cheesy chips as she ran a pub also. She didnt have to make us anything so was nice of her to do so.

Top speed today was 33mph and travelled roughly 90 odd miles due to the fact we travelled a few miles in the wrong direction. Woops!!!

Difficulty rating 7
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 11:08 0 comments
Day 2
Marizon to Tavistock

Beautiful day for cycling, the sun was out all day so much we are both properly burnt! Racked up 83 miles or so today, took in some lovely sites and we both learned that we share a fear or wooden lollipop sticks, weird i know! Stayed at an amazing campsite, the people who ran the site were amazing. They helped us plan our route and gave us a cup of tea and on top of that they let us stay for free. Another big day tomorrow!

Difficulty rating – 8
Total Mileage – 83 miles
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 11:03 0 comments
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Day 5
Welsh Biknor to Clun

Had a great sleep in a hotel Ibis and managed to get all of my clothes washed at last! Matt arrived at 11am and picked me up and we set off. I got started at lunchtime. The weather was good until around 5 o’clock when it started pouring and it took a while for my legs to warm up properly but once they had it was back into usual rhythm. The miles soon stacked up and we arrived at Clun without major issues and thankfully avoided the main roads. The difference with the luggage off the bike and with matt supporting me was amazing.

Total distance 56 miles
Top speed 32mph
Difficulty rating 5

Note from Mark:

The fact that Matt is staying on to provide support is a huge weight off my mind and he should be applauded for his efforts and committment to this trip. After having such a set back yesterday it is impressive that he is still coming along and it would be a real struggle if I was totally alone.


Mark and Matt
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 23:50 2 comments
Monday, 6 April 2009
Day 4
Street – Bristol

Tried to get up for 7 but after the last two days of catch up we finally got up at 7:45am. Went to the local post office and got a yoghurt, which, after having cheesy chips the night before was a tasty but not very good combo. After 10 miles the unthinkable happened. Matts knee started to play up. After 15 miles it was totally wrecked. We’re sorry to say that Matt can no longer continue with the cycle, which to say the least, is a devasating blow. Every hill towards bristol took an age as Matt tried to get up, with him having to walk a few of them. So the plan now is for Mark to continue on his own rather than give up completely. Matt will become Marks support for the remainder of the journey. He will fly back to Edinburgh tonight, get his car, and meet back up with Mark tomorrow morning. Matt will be taking Marks luggage off his bike, which we are now realising is an essential to stop causing any damage to ourselves beyond repair. Matt will travel ahead and find the campsites, make sure the route is suitable, set up camp and make all the meals. Matt is devasted with todays events but will carry on supporting Mark in any way he can, hopefully taking some pressure off Mark so he can continue on the route. For Mark to do this alone shows his amazing determination.

Todays milage 35, difficulty rating 9 due to the blow that was handed.

A note from Matt;

Today has been the lowest day of my life. The thought of not finishing is hard to take but with my knee the way it is I would be letting everyone down by trying to continue but having to stop every few minutes. This would make the task impossible. I will now travel with Mark for the remainder of the journey and make sure I can do what I can to help out. Sorry everyone, I can’t believe it’s come to this. Everyone should have the highest amount of respect for Mark for carrying on. Well done mate.

Bye for now.

Mark and Matt
Posted by Mark_Matt_lejog2009 at 10:58 0 comments
Friday, 3 April 2009
Day 1
Lands End – Marizon

We made it down about 1am last night. Set the tents up and realised that it was a tad cold. Well for me anyways. Had hoped to be well on our way by lunch time but had to drop the hire car off at truro first. Mark managed to destroy the car but luckily the people didn’t notice haha! I got my own back when I started messing about with gas stoves. Think Mark was balding due to stress. Plan now is to get back to the campsite and go! Hopefully no more surprises in store.
Marks quote of the day “I don’t know what’s worse, this long bus journey or Matts boring car banter”. Finally got under way at 15:30pm and got our pretty pictures. Right on cue the heavens opened. Our map reading skills leave alot to be desired. Day 1 milage 20, frustrating rating 10. Top speed 38 mph.

Finishing this blog at the pub cokes with slice and ice.

Chance of spooning tonight. Not likely.


About Mark Cooper

My name is Mark Cooper, I am an ultra runner, motivational speaker, expedition consultant and public relations rookie. I help people achieve greatness in their lives. For bookings or more information you can email mark@runwithmark.com
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1 Response to Lejog Cycle Blog from April 2009

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