A fitful sleep, last night. I kept dreaming that I was playing for Manchester United, but I couldn’t find my shirt. I woke up a few times and got to sleep again without too much trouble, but my unwanted dream resumed each time. The kit man just couldn’t be found and we were playing City, so taking to the pitch in my light blue t-shirt was unthinkable.

Normally I have my second and final coffee of the day at around 4pm but yesterday, for reasons we need not explore here, this was postponed until 8pm – and I think this was the cause of my nocturnal unrest.

Consequently I felt a little worse for wear this morning when I got up, a little later than intended. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do a Fondo but I thought I’d set off westward anyway and see how I got on. But I felt fine once I was out on the bike so I resolved to do the regulation 62.14 miles.

The idea was to go as far as Sudbury then turn south, then take a road called Holly Bush Road to the right which I hadn’t tried before. I missed the turn for this but decided to press on anyway; I only needed to do another three miles or so before turning back. Unfortunately from this point the road was something of a rollercoaster of hills, with one monstrously long steep climb south of Draycott especially. But it was a lot of fun whizzing back down it coming back. I stopped to turn back on 31.5 miles, about a mile from the National Football Centre at St George’s Park.

On the way back I took a wrong turn, coming back through Coton in the Clay. I stopped after a bit to consult Google Maps and get myself back on track. This turned out to be a fortuitous mistake because I passed some lovely hilly scenery (I took the following pic at the point I checked the map). It took me through Tutbury, which was interesting. And when I passed my 20-mile-to-go landmark in Hilton I realised that I’d actually taken a short cut, the return journey being about 0.12 miles shorter than the outward leg.

The headwind on the way west was a bit of a pain but having it push me along on the way back along the flat A road was delightful.

Listened to discussion about 9/11 on LBC, then the Ronaldo-obsessed footy discussion on 5 Live ahead of the Prodigal Son’s return to Old Trafford. Then some of the game. But I got fed up waiting for him to score after 20 minutes so I started the next Reacher audiobook, Without Fail. One thing I like about it is that he doesn’t get involved in this latest adventure purely by chance. Someone in the US Secret Service comes looking for him based on his reputation as a major in the Military Police.


62.91 miles, 236 this month.