It wasn’t entirely surprising that the sun was up and shining brightly when I awoke this morning, in fact given that I was very tired when I crawled into bed at 1am waking up at 7 was still comparatively early. We’d had a fabulous Saturday, though long and tiring, in London. A guided trip down the Thames started things off nicely. One of the great regional British cliches is that “Scousers have a great sense of humour”. Well maybe they do but give me a real thoroughbred Londoner any day and more often than not, like our tour guide today, they’ll keep you entertained for ages with a wonderful combination of observation and humour, occasionally laced with a touch of healthy cynicism. We alighted at, and entered into, The Tower of
London. None of us had been in there before, and we were all surprised by how big it actually was inside. Lots of towers, so lots of stairs, and plenty to see make this one of the better value attractions in the capital. I was particularly pleased to have seen the crown jewels, but in truth I can’t rave about them. For one thing the display wasn’t particularly impressive in terms of layout and lighting, but more importantly I’m not a fan of jewellery and ostentatious displays of said rocks. Most of all in the huge quantities and forms in which it is on show in the Tower, there absolutely can be too much gold - it just looks gaudy and tacky to my peasant eyes and I wouldn’t give you tuppence for it.
So with a late night following an almost no sleep night interspersed with a few miles walking around London I was incredibly tired today, and in truth I felt like I was limping over the People’s Grand Tour finish line. The lack of energy was compounded by a westerly breeze which was blowing either into my face or onto my left should for the first 40 minutes of a 60 minute ride, sapping further my energy and eating into my enthusiasm. It was merciful release when I finally turned homeward and spent the last third of the ride heading in a south/ south easterly direction with wind assistance. Nevertheless I was glad to be home, and glad to be able to properly rest for a day or two now with my goal of riding every day for the PGT attained. Tomorrow I will take the car to work, Tuesday too in all likelihood, and with a long journey to Kent for work booked in on Thursday I may try and stay off the bike until Friday (although I will undoubtedly be tempted on Wednesday). It will be interesting to see how my body reacts to a few days rest.
So that’s it, my second People’s Grand Tour finished. Thanks again to Lionel for the inspiration to do this. Over the 3 weeks and 23 stages I’ve learned that a full recovery from my bowel cancer is going to be a longer haul than I’d hoped, but that it didn’t knock me about as much as I feared. I’ve discovered that I can blog every day for 3 weeks and keep the subjects fairly varied, even if daily life constraints restrict meticulous checking of spelling and grammar (that’s a ctahc all excuse for every error I’ve published). Furthermore I’ve realised that when you can’t go so fast or too far you come to appreciate that any speed or length of riding is riding, and that riding itself, just for the sake of it, is the real joy.
Totals for the 23 stages are 880.7 km ridden in 34hrs 54 minutes including 9589 metres climbing.