LEL Day 1

Forest Gate B&B, Bell Common – around 05:00

The beers had helped me sleep, a little, but I’d still woken a couple of times in the night, each time listening to the tropical storm lashing down outside exactly as forecast. I was lying staring up at the ceiling. Continue reading “LEL Day 1”

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LEL Day 2

Pocklington control dorm – sometime after 4am

“Beep beep beep.”

Sod it, I’d failed to get my alarm onto vibrate and had ended up being anti-social despite all best intentions. I scrabbled for the phone, and after an age silenced the intrusive beeping.  Rather embarrassed, I swept up my belongings and crept out of the dorm. The single toilet by the dorm door was predictably unpleasant after such a heavy load of visiting sleepers, but at least there was paper and the floor was reasonably dry. Continue reading “LEL Day 2”

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LEL Day 3

Moffat control dorm – sometime before dawn

I don’t remember exactly what time I had asked for my wake-up call, I’m guessing it would have been around 4:30am, giving me an hour or so to eat and get ready for riding again. Whatever time it was, I slept right up until the volunteers visited each of the mattresses on the same round of wake-ups. Still groggy with sleep, I lay for quite a few minutes before hauling myself up and gathering together my things – this time much more neatly organised in one small tidy pile tucked at the foot of the mattress. Continue reading “LEL Day 3”

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LEL Day 4

Brampton control – dark o’clock

It was a bit before midnight, and I was wide awake. I remember the advice of all those audax articles I’d read: if you’re not actually sleeping or eating you should be riding. Lying here contemplating the ceiling didn’t seem to qualify as any of those, so I with a quiet squeek, I slid off the mattress, gathered up my things, and headed out of the dorm. There was an impressive queue for beds, and the volunteers seemed very happy to have mine back a couple of hours early. I made for the canteen. Continue reading “LEL Day 4”

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LEL Day 5

Market Rasen – around dawn

Hiya” said the volunteer quietly as I woke up, bleary eyed. “I’m not sure what you wanted to do, but it’s 5am. The control will be closing quite soon.

I thanked him for the support the night before, and for finding a place to leave my phone charging overnight. “I’m not really sure what I’m going to do, get some food then decide I guess” I finished with, as I headed back towards the canteen. Continue reading “LEL Day 5”

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LEL – Epilogue

Loughton – sometime before 2am

Before meeting up with Phil on that last stretch, I’d been contemplating what my plan was once I got back to the control. The B&B was only a few kilometres away, but it may as well have been on the moon. There was no way I fancied riding any further, especially uphill along more dark lanes. I’d pretty much decided that even though there was a comfy bed with soft pillows waiting, I’d just have to crash for a couple of hours at the control to recover. There was nothing appealing about poor sleep on another squeaky mattress on the floor though. Phil came to the rescue, or rather his wife did – since it was her now driving us to our respective homes, our bikes lashed to the bike rack and bags dumped in the car. Continue reading “LEL – Epilogue”

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