Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Day 5 - Ross on Wye to Ironbridge

As the previous blog entry describes we made good and steady progress to start with.

After stopping for lunch of coffee and cake things started to get a bit harder!  The road became considerably more undulating and the undulations got bigger...and bigger...and steeper.  It was hard going.

On the plus side we were on back roads a lot of the way through some beautiful Worcester scenery.

Yesterday we saw lots of signs to Offa's Dyke.  Today we picked up a part of The Mercian Way.  We also pedalled through The Faraway Forest.  (Yesterday we skirted part of The Forest of Dean.) We didn't meet Shrek or any of his friends, although Sandy did a fair impression of donkey asking "are we there yet?"

We encountered a couple of 1 in 8 downhills.  I got over 40 mph and Sandy was edging towards 50.  Unfortunately on one of them we were supposed to turn off part way down so had to climb back up the hill.  Not good - but there was no way I was taking my eyes off the road to look at the GPS at that sort of speed.

We continued on across country to Bridgnorth where we saw a steam train operating on The Severn Valley Railway.  At this point I think I won at least a half muppet award for directing us up a steep hill by mistake.  I don't think Sandy was very impressed :-).

The route from Bridgwater to Ironbridge continued to be hard work with lots of climbing. To compound it the road signs suggested it was about a mile closer than the GPS said. Needless to say the GPS was right.  Personally I was glad to arrive - it turned out to be a much harder day than I was anticipating.  We covered about 66.5 miles - about 6 more than planned. We were glad to have the extra miles in the bank.  Despite that we still averaged almost 11.5 mph in a little under 6 hours cycling.  Considering the amount of climbing and pushing up steep bits we were quite pleased with our efforts.

When we got checked into the B&B we parcelled up our dirty washing and took a taxi to a laundrette in nearby Madeley.  We now have a pile of semi-wet gear spread around the room - which should last us to Edinburgh.

Following that we headed out for something to eat - finding an Indian at the top of the road which was just perfect.  Afterwards we wandered back to The Swan to consider our options for tomorrow over a beer.  We think we will try and get away sharpish. It looks like we will have a few more hills at least early on before we get to Warrington and if we could get a few miles closer to Kendal where we hope to be in a pub watching football that would be just fine.

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