Day 61 Weds 4 April: In reply to the question from my good friend, ex colleague and cycling buddy Dave, the answer is no. I will not upload my ride data onto Strava for you boy racers to laugh at. Today, I hit my all time lowest ever recorded average speed. The details are not for public viewing. The degree of laughter brought about could cause serious abdominal injury. Excuses? Lots: Age, weight of baggage, accumulative fatigue, hills and most of all, today’s relentless 20 to 40mph headwind. More of that soul destroying need to push hard on the pedals to get down the hills, as experienced previously when heading north through the north west Highlands into those northerly gales. Much more useful than ride data analysis would be some help from my fellow cyclists from our first RNLI fundraiser. Cycling from St Davids to Lowestoft, our mini peloton was capable of maintaining very respectable progress across the widest part of the UK mainland. So Dave, just get on your bike, pick up Ian, Jeremy, Marylou and get up here to take your share of the wind. You could be my domestiques, carring my bags & bottles, shielding me from the headwind and passing trucks. I could be Cav, released like a slingshot over the last 20 metres to steal the glory. Is that really too much to ask?
Meanwhile, through the blur of pain, I do remember leaving a very busy Aberdeen and eventually reaching the first destination of the day at Stonehaven. This Lifeboat Station has a complex recent history. Originally an RNLI Station, then an independent Inshore Rescue team and now back in the RNLI fold. Thanks to George(LOM), Steve (LPO) and Dave (crew) for the welcome break. Good luck with the ongoing plans for the continuing operation of an essential rescue service along the Stonehaven stretch of the coastline. Thanks also to Vicky at the Harbour Hut café. A great restorative panini lunch but the real energy boost came from the kind gift. A slab of the local recipe ‘tablet’. For those like me, who have no previous experience of this delicacy, it’s a bit like Kendal Mintcake without the mint but fudgier and packed with a secret, possibly banned substance. It certainly helped me struggle through to the final destination of the day. At Montrose A/ILB, they have the first of the new Shannon Class class of lifeboats in Scotland and an equally essential D Class Inshore Rescue boat. Particular thanks to Scott, the full time Mechanic/ Cox’n for allowing such an exhausted heap to use your fine boathouse as a home for the night. Also, to the many crew members who turned up for their regular training night, thanks for the laughs, words of encouragement and gifts! All well worth the extra weight in my panniers. Here comes my longest list of assembled Lifeboatmen credits in one visit: Scott (Mech/Coxn), Kyle, Calum, Ryan, Graham(ILB Helm), Kai, Rick(LTO), Rich(Dep 2nd Cox’n), Kevin(2nd Mech), Gary (maint. Mech, ILB) Ray (LOM), Aaron, Max, Craig, and Rich.Enough crew to man both lifeboats with plenty of spares.