Updated: Feb 3, 2019
With the World Cup around the corner, I can't help but compare this whole trip to a good old fashioned game of sport. We will go for Rugby. Let's imagine a one-off tough match against an unforgiving and unsentimental opposition.
Build up All the hype and support from followers is exciting and wonderful to receive. Though that devil on your shoulder whispers to you "Be honest, the competition are pretty tough". The mind games begin. The coach and teammates talk about training, good diets and turning up without a hangover. No comment here, except to say there is always that teammate you envy at kick off.
Before you start It's all about being mentally prepared and having all the right kit. For me, getting psyched up to propose was like doing the toss with the ref. Forgetting a waterproof was like starting with no shorts and having my boxers pulled down in the first tackle.
It begins You take one look at your opposite man/giant hill and think "I love a challenge/bugger me this will be a long day!"
You settle into it Things seem a bit more simple - 15 men against 15 men/a bike with pedals you turn round in circles and it makes you move forward. So, get that ball over a line/just keep peddling. No probs.
It starts raining and the other team are brilliant Sod this. Fall over and feign an injury. No shame in having an early shower and then coming back out to cheer on others with a beer in your hand.
Halftime Well I am already wet and someone better/fitter/more inspirational is talking and explains we can, in fact, still win if we do such and such. I look around at other people who have put in more effort than me and are really pumped. Crickey, I am up for this.
Second half just started The conditions have dried up and suddenly things start to click into place. I kind of don't want this to end, but at the same time there may be a jug of beer waiting for me after a warm shower. Perhaps even a half decent sausage and mash. My mind plays tricks again.
I know there are always more twists and turns in the second half so best not think too much and enjoy what I can.
Ps. Note to self - no matter what the outcome at the end, no-one is interested in hearing tall tales or show offs in the bar. Always be humble. However, if you drop the ball/have to walk up a hill, be sure to blame the weather or whinge about your team mate.
Route: Lancaster to Windermere - stunning stone walled houses and beautiful rolling hills Distance: 37 miles (phew) Weather: Mild and slightly cloudy, almost perfect