Day 3 – LEJOG 2021 – Moretonhampstead to Glastonbury

77 miles & 1,588m climbed

So the curtain when pulled back and revealed drizzle! (Not a great start but cool enough for the climb out of Moretonhampstead.) Our washing hadn’t dried on the line (obvs) and so the landlady kindly had out put it in the tumble dryer… sorted! Another cooked breakfast consumed: P Lawson – cereal, porridge, yoghurt, summer fruits, full English and toast….

That climb out Moretonhampstead was long but worse was to come:

Only 16%! (again)

I’d been planning before leaving York to add another gear to the bottom end but couldn’t get the cassette due shortages. However, I thought I’d try my luck in Exeter. The ride there was still these awful steep leg draining short climbs separated with long steep descents in the rain. However a soggy Exeter was reached and a bike shop identified on Google. Asking for directions one local was quite convinced it had shut and become a bar. He was fortunately wrong.

The Bike Shed, Exeter

Fortunately they had the cassette and Andy was available to fit it. Really great service at short notice. The existing groupset isn’t really compatible for an 11-34 but he reckoned he could get it to work.

Andy in action

Job done, £70 passed across for the gears, new chain and labour off we went. However, the jockey wheel still dragged along the cassette when in that lowest gear, so back to Andy. He had another look, tweaked a couple of others screws and after I tried it out and found it perfect and bade farewell again. On the first hill out of Exeter the problem reappeared. It was rideable but I wasn’t returning to the shop as tempos fugit and was regretful at wasting the money. At the top of that hill Peter volunteered to have a look and identified that my pannier was stopping the cable fully moving and hence the rubbing. Clever boy! A cable tie was applied to the offending cable and it worked perfectly.

Some way along as the brutal hills continued Peter identified we were not on the ‘route’. My Garmin was programmed to follow the Guide’s route but wasn’t. I think by coming off the route in Exeter for the gear change the Sat Nav had worked another route. Anyway after some haggling Peter said he wanted to go back to route to ensure he saw a particular sight on route. (I never saw it so no photos here!) but the country lanes were wide with little traffic if not back to horrific best.

However this new route, following Google, was scenic but slow and time slipped away. The weather all day was eventually overcast and muggy in the low twenties. I went well but the earlier days were in the legs and Peter spent a lot of time at the top of these climbs marking time as I eventually followed. (Having been on tours and had to do this waiting I did sympathise that it was a dull chore.)

Eventually this excursion gave way to our getting on the route and we enjoyed a 250m descent and actually seemed to be getting somewhere although bewilderingly the route had us cross a very busy dual carriageway. Frankly a very dangerous idea.

Toward the end of the ride Peter was released from captivity and flew off to the hotel whilst I made my way comfortably, but more steadily. I was thinking through about our night’s stay in this famous town.

Glastonbury is a name that’s synonymous with the annual music festival that’s held on a large farm nearby. In 2011 I attended the, initially, rain sodden affair with the Favourite Eldest Daughter. We got our tickets through working to steward the gates as Oxfam volunteers. Three separate shifts over a 24 hour period. When not sleep walking or worrying about using the horrible toilets I have to say the music was sensational with Elbow, BB King, Paul Simon, Billy Bragg, U2, Coldplay etc etc. We didn’t get to hear them all as we were often steering bedraggled ticket holders, wheeling their crates of booze, to the correct part of the site to erect their tents. A memorable experience but easier to watch on TV.

The Premier Inn was fan-dabba-dousie at £39.99 and a bath was had, laundry done and we went to the adjoining restaurant for a burger. The waitress must have been Cornish judging by her skill set. We were offered Coriander Soup! Clarification confirmed it came with carrots, and in my case tepid until returned to the kitchen to heat.

Tomorrow is so far and steep that I can’t utter the details, too traumatic. To this extent Tim Mandle on hearing the requirements suspected I might expire and he asked to have my best carbon bike if this sad event occurred. That’s a considerate and proper mate for you.

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