Saturday, 6 September 2008


T minus 9 days...

Oh dear, yesterday was not good from a cycling point of view. I had an appointment in Dundee at 5.30 and of course opted to take the train only part of the way, to Perth, then rode a circuitous journey, via Scone (Scoon – home of the ‘Stone of Destiny’, on which, by smiting a sword, new monarchs pledged allegiance to God and country) and Abernyte. This was a very hilly route and there was a stiff head wind all the way. It had been my intention to cycle back to Perth, but I chickened out and took the train from Dundee to Glasgow. The clock showed a mileage of 32.5 and an average speed of 10.2. Oh dear, oh dear. I actually feel weaker than usual this morning, as 20 miles against a whistling wall is harder than 60 miles in calm conditions. It’s no excuse though, as I won’t have the luxury of hopping on a train if the going gets tough in deepest darkest Utah. I suppose this wind (and fortunately for me not the rain that lashed parts of England and Wales yesterday) is connected to the hurricane activity in the Gulf.

My gears have been playing up. I think the gubbins – the chain and cogs – are on the way out after all this training. Some gears are “crunchy” and others are jumpy. Fortunately my old bike will be having a tiptop service before we leave. Whereas I’m having a total body transplant.

Then I got a puncture.

The photo is of a man in Alaska excitedly watching TV during the investiture of Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice President. He is one of several American stereotypes I hope to meet.

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