With train tickets booked to allow a leisurely ride to the start at 23.00 grabbing food on the way. All was going to plan until overhead cable problems near northampton. I eventually got on the train 55mins late.
I got to the start with 10mins to spare and was away with the bunch, I found myself near the front and stayed with 2 fast lads all the way to the first control at 75km 5 minutes after it opened.
The ride got a bit lanesy and without a good light I couldn't keep up the pace, after nearly going through a hedge on one decent I slowed down a bit getting to the next control at Ford about 5-10 mins behind the fast 2, the service was quick and my egg and beans on toast went down a treat.
The next section got a bit lumpy as we headed for the Welsh borders again slowing me down, I've never been a good climber at 16.5st and to slow me down this time I had my panniers on with some clothes and trainers in ready for a few days away.
Daybreak in the misty lanes and valleys was lovely though.
After a garage control at Newton with coffee and cake it was starting to warm up slightly and I left bypassing the hills to take the main road back to Ford for another stop at Dinkies diner this time for a bacon and egg roll.
I was a bit tired now and the fast start could definitely be felt in my legs, the road surfaces were terrible and the narrow tyres and 100+psi in them was causing the bike to rattle terribly, it was also starting to get on my nerves.
I was following the gps track and as it was the same route as out I wasn't taking much notice. It was only when I got almost back to Whitchurch I realised I'd missed a turning. Wasn't much off course though and with a quick look at the map I was soon back on course.
The lanes were starting to get worse and with the Sun getting higher in the sky I was getting a bit hot and more tired, the next control took a long time to come but I was glad when it did.
For a ride called the plains it got rather more hilly in the last section, the extra weight of the panniers was really felt now and I did walk up a couple of the steeper ones. The sun had really brought out the flies also and I was constantly brushing them away.
The final few kms couldn't come soon enough and it was good to see the finish again, 320km in total in 15.50hrs.
All I had to do then was have a slow ride to Manchester airport travelodge and my great priced £10 room.
Showed, fed and after 3 ciders I was asleep by 20.00, 36hrs after getting up.
PBP qualifier ride number 2 complete, now for a couple of days in Yorkshire with family and then 2x200km rides home on Wed/Thu.