What's it all about?
At the end of September 2012 I completed a cycle from Portsmouth 2 Penzance a total of 273 miles! raising money for Children In Need is the Plan. This was also be a personal challenge for me as I haven't been cycling in over 25 years and that was only for fun nothing serious. On top of that have a prolapsed disc, was 46 years old and at the start of 2012 a bit over weight, well lot over weight really, since then I've lost nearly 3 stone! So I opted to do the big one, John O'Groats 2 Lands End on May 6th 2013. The End 2 End or P2P (point to point, as it's sometimes called ) around 1000 miles! This time I had company, Colin, a friend from work, who has said he is as mad as I am and would like to come! This blog contains that story....This event is in memory of the sad passing of my mum on 17th of April this year having lost her fight with terminal Bowel Cancer.
I guess you'd call it the sequel, I have decided it would be just rude not to go back the other way!!! so May 2015, with a new friend, Pete and with Alan driving a support vehicle ( luxury) we plan the classic Lands End to John O'Groats, also known as LEJOG. Mad ? yes I think we must be.
Well next post will be from Shaftesbury, fingers crossed.
Once again a massive thanks for all the support
Well this is it ( Other than the stuff i'll be wearing and the little tool kit under my saddle, oh and the pump and water bottles)
It weighs 6.5kg or a stone in old money.
So spare cycle shorts and top, 2x long sleeve cycle base layers, 2x short sleeve base layers, pair of shorts and t shirt for evening and long trousers and shirt, socks, waterproof, arm warmers, leg warmers, charger , phone, and leads for cycle computer to charge, earphones, lock, 2 days of gels etc ( 2 more days posted to collect from stop over) , oil and rag, spare inner tubes x 3, cream , toiletries, clothes washing liquid, recovery compression tights, cable ties, sponsor sign, heart monitor strap, cycling over shoes and my glasses.
I think thats it!!!
As I head off through a maze of estate roads, trying to weave a way back to the main road, I pootle along at a slow pace.
The name reminds me of The Flumps (sorry small children, Google it ) and I find myself singing the theme tune, da da, da da, da da dah, da da dah.......... OUT LOUD...... Still by the time I realise, my spirits are lifted and I'm half way up a long dragging hill...not so bad after all.
God was clearly having a funny five minutes when he built Devon and I suspect also Cornwall as I soon loose the wweeee downhill factor fearing what the up the other side will be like. As I go through Tiverton I have a long up hill stretch on a dual carriageway, thankfully not as bad as the A303 and with a lovely view of the Great Western Canal. Then out of town onto some quieter roads. As I turn left (up hill again) I notice a road sign, out of the corner of my eye 'Long Drag Hill'......... Oh no It wasn't the other one!......
You know in the old movies when they do that thing where they zoom the lens in and out, it was one of those moments. I could just see the top and it was steep enough it was going to hurt, as my legs kindly pointed out. I pootle on........da da, da da etc etc. Sometime later, as the road bares to the right and I'm nearing the top, my worst nightmare is realised, there's more! Only steeper and at least as far again. Singing now pointless as my legs are screaming at me much louder than I can sing!. The sign painted on the road merely taunts me, it reads...... SLOW......
I reach the top. Which I eventually manage and I might add without getting off or stopping. But here I do stop and get off, to admire the view!
Once the view is taken, along with some deep breathing and liquid ..Moving on ...... Oooh pheasant, that must be bonus points in the I-Spy book of road kill, still know hedgehog. By now I really am in the middle of nowhere and looking for a lunch stop..... I come across a great big pub on a cross roads after miles of nothing. At last
30 miles left to go, refreshed I set off again. I marvel to myself that I've got this far really because I'm being guided by following a little black dot along a thin line on the bike computer. You see you pre program a route on your computer at home using a proper map and load it to the cycle computer. Then if you take a wrong turn your black dot moves off the line and it bleeps at you saying, off course. You have no junctions or road names shown or anything! At last hedgehog.... Yeah ( sorry ) book completed. I then past a pub called the Earl of Portsmouth! 3 miles later I pass by the Lymington arms...... Hang on am I still in Hampshire! Then a few more miles up another hill the computer bleeps at me, off course.......
I didn't recall a turning? I go back 50ft or so to see, well a track. The sign says footpath, it hardly is even that. Nothing I could manage on the bike, not even if it was a mountain bike! I get my hand written notes out. I quickly realise this isn't much help as it follows the route I can't now take. I get out my phone, to see where I am on Google maps..... No signal..... I know I'm only about 15miles away (because of how far I've travel) nothing for it i'll have to go straight on and look for road signs as some clever idiot didn't bring a map!
3 miles later I see an A road and a sign to Holsworthy 11 miles yeeaahhh. Lovely smooth road, can't imagine why I didn't come this way. Speed and spirits pick up again. Keeping an eye on the road signs further on another confirming 11 miles. Sometime later,11miles to Holsworthy......nooooooo. Am I just going to circle it, why is it not getting closer? At least I've confirmed I'm not still in Hampshire.
Closing in a sign 5 miles. As I turn the corner another zooming lens moment. I now recall why I hadn't picked this route! It's at this point my legs, arms, bottom and back form a union and vote the brain out of being in charge with a 'vote of no confidence'! I stop and drink the rest of my drink take an energy gel from tomorrows supply and head on up. That was the longest day of my life but I've got here and although it may not read like it, I have a great big smile on my face. X
sorry for any typos
Last night at diner I met 2 police chap from Bristol aslo MAMIL's ( middle aged men in lucra! ) they were cycling from Bristol to Falmouth, Small world. All of us were up to our rooms by 19.30. Light weights I know .
Still, rested and spurred on by lovely text messages and well wishes, oh and the promise of a roast and drinks with friends tonight, I head off. No complaint from my bottom or legs? I here you ask..... Well yes but more of a low whimpering than complaint. Other than my right knee which now appears to be squeaking! Every rotation. Yes, I to thought it was the bike but its the knee for sure. A few more beeps of horns and waves from well wishers (there has been a few over the days) although that last drivers wave looked a lot more like a hand gesture to me! Having thought my I-Spy was complete I soon spot a rabbit shortly followed by a seagull more bonus points. Now the roads have been quiet, did see anything for nearly an hour! Then bladder shouts for a stop, ok ok. Well as you probably guessed, everyone and his mother drove passed! I just waved....
That was shortly followed by a game of chicken with a pheasant, so I guess that should be a game of pheasant. Down a single track, high banked lane, it stood and stared me out. Look mate, I've been through too much , I'm coming through. I swear at that point it scraped its foot like a bull and charged me! How we missed each other i'll never know.
Hills, Yeap they were big but roast diner and drinks with friends got me through. There was one moment, when I was smuggly thinking I'd made all the hills, I turned the corner and unexpectedly saw 14% aaaggh wrong gear, nearly came to a stop but just made it. Now in a nice hot bath, with my legs singing a happy song. Just 30miles tomorrow and with company, yeah
The downhills were back on form today , lots of wwweeeeee factor. One was nearly a miles of free wheeling, ( I deserved it ) .Once I had to start peddling again, a 'ping' and the right calf let out a yell.......cramp. Now, poor motorist must have been wetting themselves, a MAMIL, rolling around at the side of the road clutching his leg in the air. Yeap, very funny, NOT! Took 5 mins to pass....
Tony had said he'd ride with me today to keep me company, which was great . After a bacon bap we set off on a beautiful morning. The rolling countryside just passed me by without incident, as I was too happy to worry about the hills, I just couldn't wipe the great big smile off my face.
The view into St Michael's was utterly amazing and we stopped for coffee to take it in. After this Tony had planned a little trip on a cycle path! Which turned out to be a little more off road than he recalled, all I could think is , please no punctures now. Only 10 miles left. The climb out of Penzance was a still challenge with a great big buzzard, perched watching our efforts.
With only a few miles left to go as we pootled on,I gave Tony a couple of verses of the Flumps song to keep him going. At this point I though I was going to add another item to the I-Spy book.....Tony. some lady bimbled out into the road, in her slippers and nearly took him out....
As I started to freewheel down the final straight I could see Liz, Josh and Tina waving. A tear in my eye waving like a Loony, I came to a stop. I made it. A pop of a cork and the bubbly flowing, we all laughed.
I was just like to thank everyone for all your kind words and well wishes, they really have kept me going.
Was it fun ? I hear you ask..err well no.
Was it enjoyable?...well in places, yes
Do you feel a sense of achievement?...HELL yes, with the exception of marrying Liz and having Josh , Em and Scott, without doubt this is the single most proudest moment of my life .