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Day 9, Saturday 29th April 2006 - Daily Update

Day9route

Grounds today - Chelsea and Fulham

Central London to Guildford

After what felt like an eternity navigating into London the time spent there was relatively short. In the evening we managed to squeeze in a Thai meal and a few beers before collapsing into a deep slumber. Cycling nearly 70 miles in heavy traffic is hard work – even though the average speed was kept high the levels of concentration needed to negotiate a Friday afternoon in London was mentally draining. So draining, in fact, Tim managed to fall asleep in the last pub we frequented (it was gone midnight…(edited by Tim)). Much to our amusement we left him where he lay and peered through the window in fits of giggles (school-boy stuff!). It was only when Tim was woken by the Bar Staff did we realise that we had also left Bob’s laptop in the pub. Elementary school-boy error!

Consequently we looked forward to today, only 40 miles to Guildford taking in the grounds of Chelski and Fulham. The very small matter of Chelsea playing Manchester United, in what turned out to the Title clincher, was a mere inconvenience.

We left the Travelodge and headed west along the West Thames Path doing the full on tourist bit, stopping at every given opportunity for a “bit of a look” and a photo opportunity. At a gentle pace we took in the delights of Tower Bridge (again), HMS Belfast (or to Brad, HMS Something or other), The Millennium Eye, Houses of Parliament, St Pauls Cathedral and a bunch of Japanese tourists.

We picked up the pace near to Battersea Power Station and flew into Chelsea until we hit the match day pedestrianized zone. Only a very quick photo opportunity was available to us as kick off time was fast approaching.

Fulham’s Craven Cottage is only a stones throw away and we were in no time. Fulham, much like Charlton yesterday, is far more impressive than we expected. The tidy 22,000 stadium was quite homely. Once again, Jamie’s silver tongue managed to get us a mini tour and a pitch side photo.

Time allowed us to enjoy a quick pint of liquid refreshment (at Brads insistence, I (Daz) didn’t want one!) before heading south-west towards our destination.

Even though London has got to be one of the best cities in the world, we were all glad to see the back of it and no one more than Bob. A lack of lay-bys and general lack of “remoteness” left him feeling redundant so we gathered simultaneously just outside Guilford to use up perishable provisions in the form of a chilli.

ension mounted at the two master chefs met head to head. Jamie, Tim and myself (Daz) generally tidied up the Landy and kept out of the way. Brad and Bob reignited the Spat of Carlton-on-Trent but with less ferocity! Brad was punch-drunk from his onion gravy defeat and Bob was as cunning as a fox with body blows to his culinary pride. Brad was only allowed to cook the rice!

The last 4 miles into Guilford appeared far too easy for our intrepid explorers so Brad decided to cycle with his buttocks aired for much of the journey (see photos). Nice!

The Holiday Express Inn at Guilford has proved a good meeting place for our adoring support. Colin (of Free Of Charge printed T-shirt fame), Phil (bestest buddy of Brad), David and Tanya (close friends of the “Howe Clan”) have all arrived to offer support, beer and good will.

Roll on tomorrow, our most southerly point, Portsmouth then back up to Winchester.

Stats

Time in saddle - 3 hours 16 minutes

Miles - 41.0 miles

Average Speed - 12.5 mph

Time of Departure - 10:20am

Time of arrival - 4:47pm

Max Speed - 33.1 mph (Dazzlin)

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