Page 12 - DLJun2017-1019
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Tony flew up to the top and was gallantly waiting for me with a huge bucket
       of tea and Eccles cake.    Although we were ostensibly taking the same route
       as our 'buddies' we saw little of them during the day though they did make
       it to the top of Hartside just as we were leaving.    What goes up goes down
       so the next few miles were vastly improved from the ride up.   We headed
       further east via Alston, Nenthead, Allenheads and Stanhope finishing at the
       Royal Derwent Hotel where the car was already positioned waiting for our
       return.   After a nourishing dinner and some general chatting of the day's
       57 mile ride we headed for bed.

      Another early start commenced on some 'B' roads and then on a Sustrans
       route eventually petering out onto a cinder track which was clearly an old
       railway line.    It was here that it started to rain, we also started to pick up
       some of the 5 and 7 day people, also converging on the finish leg to Robin
       Hood Bay.    It did start to get a bit hectic at times with people on sit-up
       and begs, shopping bikes etc, how on earth they managed Hartside I just do
       not know, perhaps they walked it  !!      More off road tracks and disused
       railway tracks eventually took us into Chester Le Street and Sunderland
       where the organisers had hired the use of a sports centre where all riders
       young and old could freshen up before being taken back to their individual
       starting point hotels ready for their journey's home.    We were certainly
       pleased to see our vehicle parked up.   After retrieving our overnight bag we
       entered the sports centre to be greeted by some quite odd looks.

       It wasn't until I entered the ladies changing rooms that I realised why we had
       received the odd looks.    We had ridden for approx 20 miles in the rain, along
       cinder/muddy tracks and were covered head to toe in a black sooty/muddy
       deposit, all apart from the eyes which had been protected by glasses.    In
       fact it was so bad I didn't take off any clothing except shoes before entering
       the shower room – I first showered the outer layer – took that off, placed it
       in a carrier bag and proceeded to shower myself up properly.      So on the
       strength of the opening paragraph of this article I think I earned at least
       100 millikellies for panda eyes, 100 for blackened clothing and 100 for the
       amusement  factor  for  that  last  32  mile  ride  gave  to  the  personnel  on
       reception of the Sports Centre.

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