Monday, 6 June 2011

Day One: Land's End to Holsworthy

Do you remember the days of the Apollo Space Missions. There was always a time near the end of each mission when the space craft would re-enter the atmosphere. This was the time when the radio link was lost, the controllers waited at mission control, huddled anxiously around their computers and people waited at home with baited breath, eager for the first crackly, distorted words that signalled all was well....

So it is for us.... these are our first 'crackly words'...... that is not to say that all is well, but we can report that we are safe and reasonably well, and pressing ahead.

Apologies for the delay in getting this 'Day One' post up - we have had some connection issues.

Our first day of riding started at about 5.00am - we didn't sleep - possibly the howling wind buffeting the camper van at our pitch at Trevaylor Camping Park, Botallack - or maybe it was the excitement (or nerves) at the task facing us.

We had arranged to get to Land's End at 9.30 to have our photograph taken at the famous fingerpost - this went according to plan and we also met a couple of cyclists who were setting out on 'Le Jog' as well. They were being more sensible than us though; taking three weeks to complete the expedition - and they were self sufficient, carrying all their gear with them.

At Lands End - in our new shirts
We finally got started at about 10.00am - at last!! - after almost a year of planning we were on our way. The first few miles to Penzance were easy enough, then on to Hayle where we stopped for the loo! We met another two cyclists, a man and woman, who were loaded to the gunwalls. Gary asked the man if they were going far - he replied 'Yes'...... nothing else, no attempt to elucidate at all! - strange???

We got moving again - this time heading for Redruth. I remember saying to Gary that the hills weren't as bad as we perhaps thought. That turned out to be the kiss of death. Pretty much immediately we faced a big climb and there were many, many more to follow!

Our route took us well off the main roads. We were cycling down a very narrow leafy lane where we found a very old wizened gentlemen sat astride a bike. It looked like he was trying to do something to his bike, we stopped to ask if he was OK, he replied that he wasn't. Gary acted as interpreter at this point, as Paul being a 'Brummy' didn't quite understand the local "Pirate" dialect. He said "I'm stuck on my bicycle, I can't get off !?! We wondered if the broom stick tied to the cross bar was part of the problem, but it wasn't, all it needed was for Gary to hold the bike so that he could balance to get off.

We asked if he had far to go, he said that he only had to go to the next village. We told him we were off to John O'Groats, "Never" he exclaimed, "I hope you've had a good lunch"

It's a pity we didn't get a photo of him - he looked like Bilbo Baggins' long lost Uncle.

There was plenty more climbing to concentrate on after that - long, twisting lanes that went up and up as we rounded each corner, muscle trembling, lung bursting efforts that left us red faced and hurting.

Finally we made it to our first camp site at Holsworthy, close to Bude. It was good, quiet with decent facilities and plenty of hot water for showers. Darren, the ex keyboard player from our band 'Simply Crap' came to visit us in his camper van. He only lives a couple of miles away and it was great to see him, plus he was able to sort out our problems with a dodgy mains hook-up cable - thanks Daz! Darren has been kind of doing his own thing since leaving Simply Crap, a bit like when Robbie left Take-That. But it was interesting to hear that his job means he is now back in the Midlands once a week - over a couple of beers we got him thinking about rejoining the band!

There's so much to try to put onto this page and those that will follow - it's probably best to keep it as brief as possible at this stage, so that's it - no more! - I'm not sure when we'll get the chance to add another post - but keep looking - remember those radio silences!!!

In the meantime, for those that are interested here are some stats for Day One:

Lands End to Holsworthy - 92.68 miles
Max Speed: 37.9 miles per hour
Time on bikes: 7hrs 7minutes
Total ascent: 7,322 feet
Calories used: 4695

1 comment:

  1. Hows it going guys where are you? Hope alls going well. By the way its holsworthy lol.