Day 5: Liverpool to Penrith
7am: Water droplets fall on my phone screen as I try to navigate the streets of Liverpool. A girl has been hit by a car on the way to school. She's ok but crying and very shaken up. Paul likes the excitement of city cycling (and all the roundabouts and traffic lights that force me to stop) I can think of more enjoyable places to cycle.
10am: I'm getting better at reading the map while cycling. We stop less and make great time as we rattle through flat Lancashire.
10.30am: "Aaaargh" I scream as we try to join the converging traffic into Preston. It's always terrifying when you have to get into a middle lane. "Did you see that?" I didn't. "That car's trying to join the dual carriageway from the wrong slip road. They're going the wrong way." We make a pit stop at a cycling shop to sort Paul's tyres then get back on the road.
12pm: The psychological advantage gained from an early start is incredible. We're in Lancaster and we're on fire. Just 17miles to Kendal! The Lakeland Fells appear in the distance.
2pm: "I can't believe we're in Kendal!" Robbo shouts. "We've come from Land's End and now we're in Cumbria!" The distance makes more sense to us when we know the local geography: Liverpool would be a long drive from here and we've just cycled it.
The route takes us right past my apartment, which is pretty much exactly half way between Land's End and John O'Groats, but there's only time for a quick stop. This is our land and we're on a huge high. But I also know what's coming next: every bend and climb of the A6 to Penrith, so we need time in the bank.
4pm: I never imagined I'd get a cycling injury to my arm. My legs yes, but my arm? It started as a pain in my left hand on day 1, then my fourth and fifth finger went numb. I started to find simple tasks like turning a key in a lock impossible. I send the message to the fingers but it seems to get lost on the way. The pain gradually spread to the rest of my arm. Now the jar of the climb on my shoulder is agony.
5pm: we wait for a lift back home at Penrith. 110 miles in under 10 hours. Brilliant. A night at home watching the rugby with my friends awaits. It's good to be home.