Saturday, 13 June 2009

Day 4 - The Biggest Breakfast Ever

After three Wheatabix, two slices of toast and a full English you'd think John would be satisfied. "So where are we stopping for lunch then?". There wasn't a concrete answer so he cycled on up the hill out of Nenthead. Quite a hill to start the day but with the wind behind them the team made quick progress soon reaching the highest point of the C2C.

Rich was tired and cold, he'd had to be coaxed out of his bed after his breakfast. It was his turn to have a bad day after Neil's struggles the day before. He didn't let that stop him bombing down the hills and in to the first coffee shop the team spotted. Caffeine and sugary cakes all round. With only one major hill to go the team were again buzzing and even dreaming of being in Consett before bed time.

Ah, Consett, Team Pannier had been warned of their next finishing point. "You want to lock your bikes up there" "what are you going there for?" "I'd keep riding if I was you". The locals sharing the bunk house the night before certainly didn't have a high opinion about it. Nevertheless the team pressed on, keen to see their accommodation in daylight. Climbing away from their coffee stop they arrived at their second to last major summit. A free wheel for a good few miles saw them arrive at a pub in the sunshine. John of course was the first to venture that they should stop for lunch.

After a swift pint the team sat down to eat beef baguettes with gravy. Neil, causing problems with the waitress for his requests for mustard was soon labelled 'spicy'. As the baguettes were brought out the second waitress turned to Neil and said "oh you must be spicy" much to Neil's enjoyment/embarrassment. The sarnies flew down quicker than the team had done down the hill and conversation was soon taken up with the cyclists on the next table. "Yeah we got lost and ended up in Great Strickland" they said, and one of them had done the C2C before! Then again they were a bit older (see their blog here). Turns out everyone takes that route. With a little pride back in their map reading the team mounted their bikes to leave. Suddenly the bar man ran out of the pub, somebody had forgotten to pay! Searching around for the kitty Rich was unable to find it. Luckily it was sat inside, waiting to pay the bill.

An off road climb was punishment for an enjoyable lunch and it was taken at walking pace to the final summit. Going pass ruins at what appeared an ancient train station. Then a run across a disused railway, really disused, with often no space to pedal for heather. Neil and Jon's bike tyres came in to their own as they dealt easily with the off road. Like an episode of junior kick start the team worked their way through a series of water obstacles and eventually on to the road. With team jukebox Neil singing out the theme tune at the earliest mention. On the road and there was a C2C sign, last services for 10 miles. This was a sight for sore eyes for the boys. They didn't need the services but it meant they were only ten miles from Consett, beer and, a special treat, CURRY. Not daring to dream too much earlier Team Pannier had discussed the possibility of a couple of cheeky beers followed by a curry. First they had to cover 10 miles and, judging by previous performances, this could turn in to 25 miles taking the rest of the day - and night. That wasn't to be the case this time as the team cycled in each others slipstream and gobbled up the miles. The straight, flat track no match for Team Pannier. Stopping only briefly for a viaduct photo op the team arrived at their farm bunk house at four.

Excited by the possibility to 'potter' and just chill out the team eagerly got off the bikes. The owner opened up the bunk house to reveal a brand new building with all the mod cons you could wish for. Told to help themselves to tea, juice and toast the team did just that and dug out the pate they had been carrying since Booths. Showered, changed and raring to go the lads left the farm to see the delights of Consett. With the tip of a local real ale pub Team Pannier wandered in to town. Greeted by signs for Matalan and Morrisons the team had well and truly hit civilisation. Manoeuvring their way past the bank holiday drinkers the team ended up at the desired local pub. With the ales names all related to the local steel industry Jon was keen to know how steel was made. As Neil began to explain, the beer flowed and so did the conversation. Everyone brimming from the cycling done safe in the knowledge there was only an easy ride in to Newcastle left. One pint turned to three and soon it was time to head on to the curry house. Back up the road and past a group of similar looking gents, Team Pannier soon found the Station Road Indian. Destroying the kitty Jon, Rich, Neil and John enjoyed beers, poppadoms, curry and chili nans. Well Neil and Jon were the only ones to suffer the heat of the chili nans. Drinking the curry house dry of beer (it wasn't hard, it only had 8) the team left sated and ready for bed.

Looking out of place dressed up in warm clothes the team walked through Consett towards home. Walking past the local nightclub the boys weren't to be disappointed as Consett lived up to its reputation. No, not women in short skirts, although it had plenty of those, but a fight. One young lad took the force of three others and then got up and did whatever any tough northerner would do in those circumstances. He ran, like the wind. Satisfied they'd seen the sights of Consett the team decided not to stand around and wait for a taxi and walked. Rich by now was walking with his eyes closed as the cycling and beer had caught him up. It was straight to bed for him as Jon and Neil shared Neil's much travelled brandy. John, Jon and Neil enjoyed sitting, watching MotD2 before retiring to their bunks.

27.71 miles, 138 miles in total. 15 Hours 43 minutes of saddle sore, 10.3 average.

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