Day 1 My hardest day riding ever.

I have to tell you I’ve just finished day 3 and as you can see I am struggling to blog on time.

Day 1 started on time from our first campsite.  We’d arrived the previous evening at about 8.45 and decided to avail ourselves of victuals at the hamburger stand.  In fairness itwas a little more sophisticated than that but only a little.  I decided to carb up with a double portion of rice and sweet and sour chicken.  Our first night together in the tin can.  The bed was a lot shorter and less comfortable than I had expected and my sleep was shortlived.

I rose early and prepared my sustanance for the day – water bottles, tablets for the water bottles (to replace body salts), gels for instant energy, flapjacks and fruit and nut biscuits.  The whole lot weighed 3kg – the bike only weighed 8.5kg!  

We arrived at Land’s End at 8.40 for a 9.00 start but by 9.45 I still couldn’t get the Garmin sat-nav to work so I tore out 2 pages of the road atlas, said my farewells and left. 10 minutes later the sat-nav kicked in and I was saved.

Cornwall was wonderful, full of natural beauty. I wish I had more time to explore.

A little before St. Ives I met Rob, a seasoned member of the Wolverhampton Whirlers. A true Brit who has never been abroad. We cycled together as he was going to Hayle which was on my way. There were some steep hills and he encouraged me on the way up and gave me some tips and I whooped his butt on the way down. To me the thrill of the downhill rush is my reward for the uphill climb.

We passed through some wonderful countryside scarred with a history of tin and copper mines. Cornwall could make such a good golf course.

As we neared St Ives the sat-nav went a bit bonkers and gave me 2 options and I picked the wrong one and arrived at a dead end and a car park. Rob went back whilst I found a very steep footpath which took me down to the High Street.  As I exited I passed a road called St Michaels Close – how could they have possibly known – it must be a sign, in fact it was a sign, a sign saying St Michaels Close

Now here’s the thing. The Garmin sat-nav re-sets the journey if you go off track. When it does this it resets the route as it sees fit – not the one that I had worked so hard at.

I got to Hayle and was fascinated to see the signs in Cornish. Rob caught up and we rode together for a short while longer until he went his separate way. As I continued I noticed that I seemed to be on some busy “A” roads. Then I met 3 guys who left Land’s End just before me. They had told me they were going a different way from me when we were at Land’s End and was asking them about trying to get the sat-nav to work.  Now they were lost and when I looked at the map I could see that I too was lost and the sat-nav was taking me down a new and unwanted route. I headed for the coast, trying to get back on track using maps.

I was amazed at the number old cars there were about, Morris Minors in particular, but old Cortinas, Prefects, Zodiacs and Humbers.

I went through Newquay and happened across the Sandy Lodge Hotel. Then it was on to Watergate Bay and some steep hills (16%) in and out. I soon learned that the word “Bay” was synominous with hills.  It was a long hard ride.  Having chosen the coastal back roads my route was very hilly and but breathtakingly scenic.

As I got near Tintagel I found a 20% hill which fortunately was downwards but steeper than anything I’d met in the Alps last month and it was dark and damp and gravelly and it ended at a crossroads. I went down it with 3 young lads who were LEJO’Ging in 14 days but carrying and hostelling. I do love telling young people that my support crew are my grandsons.

I arrived at Tintagel with a super greeting from Auntie Helen, Gary, Crystal, Oliver, and Holly. Lesley arrived about 30 mins later with my recovery drink. By then I’d already had a cold bath. It’s good for you don’t you know.

We ate, talked and slept. Hence the belated blog.


About marmiteman

Marmite man will be cycling 1000 miles over 10 days from Land's End to John O'Groats raising money for Mark Carey. My wife Lesley & grandsons Jake, Callum and Dylan and their Auntie Vicky are the support crew - not that they will be around during the day!
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1 Response to Day 1 My hardest day riding ever.

  1. laraine blakeley says:

    Hidihi campers.
    I am so jealous of you lot out there biking and winnibagowing!! David this will be such an achievement for you – spending a whole 2 weeks with Lesley, vicki and the boys!!!! Well done. Get them legs going up those hills. Did you pop in and have scones and tea with Steve and Margaret whilst you were in St Ives?
    Keep eating your carbs
    Love Laraine and Jeff xxx

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