C2C Day 2 - Penrith to Rookhope

Day two was always going to be the hardest with four major climbs one after the other. So we thought we would add to our challenge by going five miles out of the way and climbing up two sharpeners just to get ourselves in the mood.

And so it was with much hilarity and a wee bit of concern that we had shot our bolts we came up to the first and most difficult climb, Hartside. Down to the Granny Rings we went and up we started climbing. And we did it. With enough breath left to order pie, chips, beans, tea, lucozade and water at the café brilliantly positioned at the top of Hartside which goes by the name of Hartside Top Café - don't know where they came up with that name.

A quick photo opportunity (and a very half hearted air punch) and then three other long slogs followed in quick succession only broken up by a detour through Allenheads which for comedy value has a very steep cobbled high street. How we laughed. Especially when Insto was overtaken by a granny walking on the pavement doing her shopping.

After the fourth descent we came down into Rookhope and Insto decided, luckily as it turned out, that The Rookhope Inn looked like a good place to collapse.

And so it was that after we had booked in to a room, put the bikes in the shed and ordered a pint, that the landlord went on to tell us that the next morning we would immediately be climbing the second worst hill of the trip.

As if that wasn't disheartening enough he then went on to regale us with stories of the guy who did the coast-to-coast on a Penny Farthing, the unicyclists who had done it and the guys who sometimes do it twice in one weekend, one way on the Saturday and then back again on the Sunday. We masked our feelings of inadequacy with a few pints of Terrier ale and cheered up when we took it in turns trying to stand up.

After a shower and dinner, where we were entertained by a collection of bond traders up from London for the shooting who shouted incessantly about the best restaurants in London, how tasty bull testicles were and then rolled some joints, the banter hit an all time low when we sat in the bar staring into space and grunting at each other. It's fair to say that day two had taken its toll.

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