Tour Day 1 – Report card

First up I need to get a rant of my chest. Garmin are shite. Really very shite. I checked and re-checked my routes this week. Downloaded .tcx files. Uploaded them to Garmin Connect and synced them to my device without error or issue. I turned on my Garmin today as I was leaving and no courses saved. FFS. Thinking my trip was derailed before I even turned pedal was, lets say, tense for a bit. 30 mins later after a factory reset and trying to delete corrupted files I got my routes on it in .gpx format. Like I need that stress and to top it off the distraction meant I forgot to pop my charging lead in my kit. FFS!!!!!

Garmin. If you’re listening. I hate you.

So I managed to get away at noon. Garmin appeared to be working. It turned me right at the end of my road so all was good but I was still nervous it might break on me.

It was great to get on with this to be honest. I’ve been quietly anxious about it for a few days and this morning I was nervous. I don’t think it was the riding solo or the route. It was just the unknown of how the legs would go with 20 extra lbs on the bike.

My first kind of test was Timberhonger Lane. A short, kick up. I expected to grind to a halt and be in a tiny gear but I actually quite easily big ringed it up which put my mind at rest. I was chilled now that was out the way and I could just crack on and enjoy the day.

The first proper hill was a steep mofo just outside Elmbridge just before Cutnall Green. I first geared it deliberately as the gradient was like what I’d be gettting in a couple of days, it was just a lot shorter. All good again.

I was bumbling along the quiet lanes into Hartlebury and then I hit Carmageddon in Stourport. Grid-locked. The queue began on top of the common and ran all the way to the High Street. Ridiculous. I weaved my way in and out and even had to mount the pavement in places. Mental. If the town was a car park it would have been shut and they would have turned drivers away. The irony was once you got onto the bridge over the River the road was clear.

Quietist bit of Stourport-on-Severn today

I took a right that ran parallel with the river and it was here really that the ride started for me as I was on unfamiliar roads from now on. Today consisted of a couple of stand out climbs. The first one took me upto Heightington. It was very steep but the legs and gears coped despite the weight on the back. The front wheel was light like I could wheelie. One thing that became obvious very early on is I can’t get out of the saddle. Its too top heavy to rock from side to side so the next 6 days I will be permanently seated. There must have beeen some walk/running event on in the area as I saw a quite a few coming my way down the hill.

A wee with a view

First big climb done, it was up and down for the rest of the day now. After I’d crossed the A456 and got into the lanes they varied from broken tarmac, grass/mud in the centre to wide and well surfaced, just up and down contantly. Touring requires a LOT of gear changes. The views and the little villages I was riding through looked stunning. Like the photos you get on jigsaw puzzles or boxes of chocolates. I could see Clee Hill in the distance with the twinkle of sunlight reflecting off the cars as they drove over it then randomly I came round a corner and saw a red warning triangle for Aircraft! This was just below Clee Hill now. I thought it meant maybe low flying jets or something then randomly a dayglo orange windsock caught my eye in some field off to the right so it must have been for light aircraft.

Neen Sollars. Picture postcard
Clee Hill awash with sunshine

As I left Clee Hill behind me I finally got to my stop for the day in Ludlow. I climbed into town and there was a fair on. It was very busy. I found a cafe and had a snack before I having a wander to see if I could find somewhere to buy a USB lead for my Garmin. No luck. So I descended back down to the river and began the big climb of the day up and over Mortimer Forest. Steady gradient this one. Decent surface but went on and on. I realised although my Garmin was navigating fine, the screen was locked so I couldn’t see how far I had to go now. I hate them. Grrrrrrrrr!

Ludlow Castle doing its thing looking stunning

It was a wicked descent the other side and the roads eased off now a bit. Still up and down but not so steep. I picked up some signs for Clun and Purslow so I knew I wasn’t far away and I remembered from Ludlow it was only 15 miles or so anyway. I’d been out for over 4.5 hrs now and I could feel I’d had enough sun for the day. I just wanted to get there but I didn’t want to push on either despite been keen to. Then as I crested a ridge and thought to myself that looks pretty and tried to look at my Garmin with sun glare on it I realised that was it. The B&B and I was done!

The B&B is cool. Its a got nice little tea room and randomly a workshop where they make wooden chairs.

Sausage, Bacon, Egg, Toast and a nice chair with that

Chauffeur driven by the owners tonight. Had a roast dinner and a couple of beers. Gonna be an early night tonight. I’m jacked.

Sorry if the post looks a bit rough around the edges. Doing it on a tablet with the app which doesn’t have all the fancy functionality of a PC

Thanks for reading. Adios.

PS. No Strava uploads until Wed. Don’t want to risk it until I have access to a PC.

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