On May 18th, 19th and 20th myself and a lovely group of ladies rode from Whitehaven to Tynemouth Castle, to some its an easy 3 days of bike riding, to me it was one challenge that I hoped I could complete.
For those that don't know I suffer from a rare chronic pain condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It effects my left wrist, hand, palm and up to my elbow. It is a neurological condition that will never go away. So everyday I am in pain, on a good day it feels like I have just fallen off my bike and slammed my hand on the pavement, on a bad day, like every bone in my hand is broken. Even a change in temperature or a light breeze can cause pain. So riding a bike can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.
I love cycling, and so despite the pain, I ride my bike, but some days it can get a little much. So 3 days of riding an average of 50 miles a day, was never going to be comfortable but it was going to be brilliant.
A great thing about the C2C is the people you meet along the way. As most are going the same way, with their own reasons for doing so, there is always conversations to be had. People are not only friendly but supportive and the atmosphere in the cafes and pubs along the way are incredible.
We started with 6, one who was only riding with us on the first day, from Whitehaven to Slaidburn. The biggest and hardest part of the day would be Whinlatter. If you do the C2C I would recommend the main road, the C2C one is a pain in the ass!A quick stop at the cafe at the top and then a bloody freezing descent into Keswick. And then of course it pissed down, oh goody. Somewhere near the pub at Greystoke we lost two, one went to find them whilst I was lucky enough to get to the pub for my tea.
The two were eventually found and the three of us lucky to make it to the pub ate a meal with three lovely lads and headed to the house for much needed showers and to get out of my soggy lycra.
Day 2 Slaidburn to Ninebanks Youth Hostel.
Another has to head home after the effects of a migraine just proved a bit to difficult to carry on. This was the day I was looking forward to, we had Hartside climb to enjoy. Although I didn't quite get my own way as I wanted to start from the very bottom of the climb, a compromise was made and we started in between the actual start and the actual C2C way . Just before the start to Hartside a minor problem occurred, a chain brakes and a puncture, and of course none of us actually had a quick link, and in a rather sleepy town no one was actually around to help. Fortunately for us, we had just stopped for lunch at a friends of one of the riders and they volunteered to take two to Penrith to get everything sorted whilst two of us set off. Let this be a lesson to you, bring a fucking quick link with you at all times; that reminds me....
I loved Hartside by the way, the ride to the Ninebanks youth hostel, I did not.
Day 3 Ninebanks to Tynmouth Castle.
Ran into the three lads we met in the pub on the first night and rode with them for sometime. A lovely group of lads who used to ride together but life has just got in the way recently. 25miles of climbing, and actually a bit of bite you in the ass climbs too! But at the top, it meant the next 35 would be flat or all down hill. I've never ever had the pleasure of 35miles of big ring riding, its a pleasant change from small ring climbing and great to hit speeds of 20miles and hour without even trying on flats. Usually a max of 12 miles is what I'm used to. It was at the finish that you realize how much you have accomplished. With friends to greet you at the end,a bit of cake and champagne, you celebrate 155 miles, mechanicals, illnesses and pain.
I was in pain for the majority of the three days, but none of that really matters at the end, because when you finish you realize that despite the pain, when you find something you love its rather impossible to stop you.