We started early; is was cold but the Sun was still shining and the fresh morning dew sparkled like tiny little diamonds scattered over every blade of grass in the surrounding fields. It was truly dreamy until the heat of the day started to kick in. And true to form, mad dogs and English-men…
…and speaking of dogs! Dogs and bikes do not mix. People had always said that to us, and we had to agree that our bikes did seem to hold some morbid fascination for every canine creature that we passed on our journey. Up until now, we had always had the last laugh as the little pooches barked like crazy and ran up and down outside their houses, chasing us, but finding…oh, yes, there’s the fence/gate/invisible electric fence (ouch) that keeps them in their place. Tee hee. Not today. Oh no. Today, we learned that a number of rural homeowners in this area of Virginia rely on their dogs to guard their houses. No fences, gates etc. Gulp. The first time it happened, it was a bit of a shock. The sound of their claws picking up pace on the concrete behind us, and not dropping back…cue Jaws music. Suffice to say that there are a few frustrated Spaniels and Jack Russells out there this evening, not to mention the weird Daschund-Labrador cross…freaky.
Anyway, having survived the dogs, but having started to run out of Gatorade, the Isle of Wight was a God send! After 58-miles of Herculean cycling with only cheese (well if you can call American cheese slices “Cheese”) and coleslaw sandwiches for sustenance we were dreading the next 20 miles in the saddle. But as the fluffy white clouds parted a ray of sunlight shone down upon Kim’s Court House Café (we swear we heard the voices of angels and stringing Harps) where Kim, John, Britney and John were so kind and helpful. We were fed with great food and received some sage advice about how to avoid being attacked by the Dogs of Hell on the final stage of our journey. John was especially helpful and recommended we defend ourselves with a stick if we got chased. He then disappeared into the back room of the Café and re-emerged with a “stick”, more like a 6ft piece of wood large enough to bludgeon a bull African elephant to death. We couldn’t fit the “stick” on the bikes and agreed to take our chances with Mark Cavendish-esque pedal power.
Thinking that nothing could get better we then came across a curious looking Tonka Toy (see photo… I want one of these) never before seen on any farm in Europe. If anyone can guess what it is used for please comment and you will receive a prize!
And at about this point (63 miles into the trip), Kat suddenly that her back break-pad had been sticking against her tyre since, which would explain why she had been pedalling like crazy down the hills as Anthony free-wheeled down them, and why she had been drafting behind Anthony most of the way. Luckily, Anthony was able to save the day and expertly un-jammed the break. And from then on, it was plain sailing.
78 miles later, we rolled into the hotel in Suffolk, happy to have completed the day, and ready for another day of rest.