Manchester to Oxenholme (78 miles)
After a night at home, a bath, a load of washing and drying, and the comfort of my own bed, it was back to the Etihad to start today EXACTLY where I finished yesterday. As regulated and adjudicated by my son Charlie, who insisted my back wheel was EXACTLY on the line!
Manchester City centre was awkward, as I seemed to catch every red light, interrupting progress, but I ticked off a few more Client sites, including Malmaison Manchester, Eversheds LLP and Manchester Central Conference Centre, before heading out on the A6 towards Chorley.
Whilst riding I caught up with a chap on a touring bike, who said hello. He looked at the pannier and asked where I was riding, to which I couldn’t help but answer “”John O’Groats” despite me technically only riding to Oxenholme today. “Bugger!” he said, explaining that he’d done it last year, and my mention made him want to give it another go. David Essien, you’re a mad bugger wanting to do this again, but you lightened my today and gave me confidence that this will retrospectively be a good experience!
Another fantastic uplift today, when at 28 miles, I was greeted at the side of the road by my wonderful Mum, lil Sister, and Jessica, my niece, who had made a sign, flags and had been distracting motorists prior to my arrival! We then had, and this is shockingly true, my first pub lunch of the ride. Shame on me! Yet more positivity to add – Mum had also arrived with a “Muffin Man” steak pie! As a Wiganer, trust me, they’re worth travelling for!
And even better, as far as I’m concerned the ride is now “officially recognised” and acknowledged, by Olympic Gold Medallist, and track cycling inspiration, Jason Queally. I’m very delighted to have received a personal message from Jason, who I watched win a medal at the Commonwealth Games at the Manchester Velodrome. That experience led to me “having a go” on the banked track, which I would do more often, except the success of Wiggo et al, has meant the sessions are booked up well in advance!
Ride-wise, apart from being cold, and it raining for the last 45 miles, I felt pretty good today. Decent energy for the most part, saw some double rainbows, and made good progress until the 68th mile, when I realised I’d got more miles to go than I’d expected. All of which were uphill, or so it felt.
Eventually arrived at the top of a big hill, and turned into the car park of tonights accommodation, the Station Inn, in Oxenholme. Clothes on radiator, shower, then prop the bar up! To then get yet another big lift, when (and it’s an injustice to just call them this) my Uncle & Auntie met me. I’m not that much younger than them, so it’s an incongruous title. Great meal, good company, and a real boost, as I start the “big days” tomorrow!
So it’s an “up and at ’em day” tomorrow, as, along with the rest of the days, they’re of similar +70 miles in length and more importantly, around 2500ft of climbing, over twice todays total.
Finally, it’s been brought to my attention that I owe apologies to some readers, Judith in particular! LEJOG is an acronym for “Lands End to John O’Groats” to us cyclists.Hope that’s cleared that one up!
7th September 2013