Jed, John and myself set off on a wet and windy Sunday morning to the ruptuous applause of the crowds that had gathered to see us off. There were tears on the faces of all who had gathered (or was that just the rain?) John made it down to his flat due to other commitments and Jed braved it out to Dundee. Day One didn't quite go to plan, due to my poor choice of route, heavy bike and the fact that the wind wanted us to go north instead! The next couple of days proved much more successful as I meandered down towards Edinburgh.
I thought the adventure might be over, or at least postponed, before it had really started. Cycling the few miles between Burntisland and Edinburgh was becoming increasingly painful and I realised my ITB (illiotibial band - the a band which runs from one's hip to one's knee) was rubbing on my left knee. It's something I've had a problem with on my other knee in the past which took 9 months to get sorted out and can be very painful. After trying various strapping and saddle heights I managed to make it there. Lowering my saddle to the lowest it can go is making my quads work a little bit harder but keeping my leg bent enough so as not to cause the ITB to rub. It's still a little sore walking about but at least the dream is still alive!
I was joined by Catherine for the ride down to Melrose before setting off to the English border. I set up camp for the first night on my own hidden in a forest just over the border and stepped out at four in the morning in my boxers to relieve myself of all that water I'd been drinking only to discover a winter wonderland. When I got up properly I started cycling through a couple of inches of snow and within the first 5kms I had already come off the bike twice as it slid from underneath me. A chilly and hilly day followed and I covered 98km (about 60 miles) in 10 hours, 7 and a half actually cycling - very slow indeed. Am very glad to have a day off today.
So what have I learnt from the first week? Only use the national cycle network if you like hills, potholes and don't really want to get where you want to in a hurry; it doesn't get warmer as you move south; and cycling in snow is only recommended for people with stabilisers!