Again, a hideous night’s sleep was to be had. As nightfall committed the extremities worsened, it felt as if a monsoon had hit, when in fact it was just the birth of the British autumn. Nestled amongst alder trees concern hit me as the trees began to creak and sway. Was the great storm of ‘87 about to re-emerge from the depths from whence it came? In short no, but I was pretty bloody nervy all the same.
BY 7am’ish the storm began to simmer and this was when I made my break. Heading to the small market town of Eye I grabbed myself a packet of custard creams and a bottle of original Lucozade. The Lucazade being a near fatal mistake, by filling my plastic drinking containers up both with Lucozade I failed to take into account leakage and how lethal Lucozade can be when the said leakage occurs. It was like I had declared a fizzy pop war upon myself, inevitably losing and needlessly caking my main frame and my handlebars in a sickly, thick glucose syrup. Pretty damnable stuff it has to be said.
Sticky incidents aside I made some amazing progress today. More than making up for yesterday’s slow and demoralising conditions. I made it to Bury St. Edmunds in good timing. A town ambushed with history and renowned home of the Greene King Brewery and the debatably smallest pub in Britain, ‘The Nutshell’ (4.57 m × 2.13 m (15 ft. × 7 ft.). Apparently in 1984 The Nutshell squeezed a record breaking 102 people onto its premises. Today being market day I stopped off and had a waltz around the town centre. A town positively bustling with life, a true market town. Stopping for sushi and Jamaican flapjacks I was beefed up and readied myself for my journey to Newmarket.
I headed out along cycle route 51, a mostly mundane and arable route comprising of cultivated land and mostly nothing else. A theme I could no doubt expect for the considerable moderation of the remainder of my trip home. Sure there was plenty of cultivated land prior to getting to this point, but at least there was an iterance of versatility in beach fronts, rolling hills and woodlands.
And then there was Newmarket, for a town that is surrounded in money I was quite surprised by how disappointing it was. Passing studs and raceways before hitting up the town centre I was expecting quite a lavish affair. Not that I ever had my hopes overly up for something sumountably spectacular. As the town clearly isn’t that. Or maybe I’m just being unfair and allowing the almost unconquerable roundabout in the town centre, some extremely shitty junctions and some shocking pedestrian crossing positioning to mar my judgement of the place. I just got an all-round shit vibe from the place and was more than glad to be on my way out of town no sooner had I arrived.
Still buzzing with energy I surged fourth some 20 odd miles toward my next big destination, Ely.
Here I had a friend that had just moved into the city. I made him loosely aware the week previously that I might be passing by but was pretty vague in regards to when I might be making my cameo. I would have called but alas I had no battery power left on my iPhone, that being drained on only my second day. Awful battery life, simply awful. Anyway I won’t get into an iPhone rant, this is nor the time nor the place.
Making it to Burwell I was led astray by the signposting of route 11 to Ely. I found myself on a public byway working my way through dirt tracks through farmer’s fields and back yards and gaining myself some rather suspicious looks from the land proprietors. Obviously it got to the point where it was just too late to turn back so I had to keep on trudging along. After being chased by a couple of dogs, running over smashed glass (My continental travel contact tyres proving their worth here) I encountered a main road. I piss-arsed about for some time and eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn’t too far from Soham.
Making it to Soham I would be diverted out upon the so called ‘Great Fen Road’. The road merely being an excursion to keep one from getting mushed along the A142. It’s the alternative route basically from Soham to Ely and it’s a real mind numbing stretch of road. It casts you out of the direction from where you want to go and then sends you along a straight stretch of road that seems to last an eternity before sending you back in the direction of Ely. A very laborious affair.
As I closed in upon Ely it began to piss it down. It was obvious that this would happen; I’d had it too good for the majority of a mostly extremely productive day clocking up just less than 80 miles. I was wet but at the same time extremely chuffed with myself when I made it to my mate’s house. He and his wife being mildly surprised by my out of the blue appearance were more than welcoming. Not everyone would let a wet hobo into their homes but that just goes to prove what damn good folk they are! Cheers fuckers!
Start: 08:00 Thorndon
Finish: 18:30 Ely
Distance: 78.98 miles
Calories burnt: 2799k
Total Run time: 41:15