Todays ride is 104 miles long and I have 8 hours and 10 minutes to do it in. It is my early day so I am expecting the sections to be really slippery. Thats what everyone tells me. I had a 7.45 start time as I was tenth rider away right after Dougie Lampkin. It was 2 degrees and sunny at the start.
I got through around 2/3 rds of the sections. The observers are really hard. You only need to go back just a little and that is 5 or if you pause it is 5. All sections are non stop. I hit a few markers today by mistake which is also a 5. After a couple of sections it was a long road ride to the next ones. These were on the non sunny side of the hills and it was so cold it was like been in the snow. In the afternoon it was very sunny and it felt great. Been first away is hard due to no bikes having been through any sections. This means the rocks are at there slipperyest. The better riders like Dougie hang back a bit on their early day and let the scrubbers like me set a line by removing the moss on the rocks. I tried to get ahead of the pack and Dougie didn't catch me till around 2.00pm. As I was out in front with only a few other riders there were no queues so I could make up time. It worked out it was lucky I did this as one of the moor crossings I got lost. I had to back track several route markers to find a way across the moor. I lost over 20 minutes doing this. To make up time I would often just ride the section without walking it.
I teamed up with some Irish riders and we helped each other when one of us was in trouble. Riding in a group helps heaps. The moor crossings were at there hardest today. They are incrediably soft, boggy and deeply rutted. They are just a giant sink hole. I was bogged twice today each time taking many minutes pulling the bike out of the mud. Then I would have to clean the mud off the radiator and the bike change my gloves then get going again. It really saps you. I just missed the lock gates and had to watch four boats sail past before the locks reopened and I could get going again.
Despite all the delays I managed to finish with 9 minutes to spare. This is cutting it to fine. Have to do better on the last two days.