Have just checked into our hotel and what a relief, 55 miles out the way 702 left to go!
We started off our day with a breakfast fit for kings, fully loaded with Sausages, Bacon, Toast, Fried Eggs, Baked Beans and Tomatoes. Unloading all of the bikes from the trailer we managed to make at least one local friend, who obviously spotted that we were novices and tried to take us under his wing. I don't think he knew what he was in for!
We all made sure that we had all the vital equipment; Snickers, Twixes, Lion Bars and Julian's favourite, Boost bars; in the hope that a sugar high would get us through what was going to be a gruelling first day.
After cycling down the beach to get a team photo by the signpost the slow ascent out of John O'Groats and the dusting off of the cycling cobwebs began. Everyone was on a euphoric high, with Lydia setting the pace at what must have been world record speed and quickly got a telling off from our adopted mentor for demoralising the rest of the team!
As we got into a steady speed we felt the need to naturally stop for our first hot choccie break and of course managed to sample some of the cakes on offer as most of the chocolate stash had already been eaten. Our mentor seemed frustrated with our social speed and quickly made his excuses and cycled away as quickly as he could!
Just as we got close to working off one of our breakfast rashers we arrived at our designated lunch stop which was a welcome break from the drizzle and wind. Despite a quick turnaround, Geoff managed to get in a quick power nap.
The afternoons ride was filled with hills, hills and more hills. One hill in particular seemed to go on for eternity and it was reassuring when cars were having to shift down into first just to get up it! The wind was not making it easy on the coastal route but thankfully the last big hill was followed by a long descent down to the town of Helmsdale where we staying.
Tomorrow by all accounts is a flatter leg, but I am sure that today's ride will produce some sore bums and legs tomorrow!
Some other photos of yesterdays trip up and our cycle today: