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LANDS END to JOHN O'GROATS CYCLE FOR SAM

DAY 1 - Lands End to Lostwithiel (62 miles 14 mph average)

PhotoWell a very wet end to a very wet day!

We drove to Penzance last night and stayed in a really rough b+b. Nige's accomodation budget ensured that the b+b's windows leaked and there was a very strange odour to the place..... Nige and Di were kept awake all night by the rain hammering its way through a skylight and forming a puddle on the floor!

After risking a cooked breakfast, Lisa drove us to Lands End. En-route we passed a group of 6 cyclists who had caught the train to Penzance and were riding the 12 miles to START their end-to-end! They would've then turned around and cycled back! Mental.

At Lands End the weather was terrible. We took photos of as much as we could - a bit disappointed to find that the famous sign is removed at night so visitors can't take their photo with it without paying....... We didn't hang around too long as the three of us were really keen to get the wheels turning.

Thankfully the wind has been at our backs all day. We made good progress to Penzance, arriving after about 40 minutes and an incident with a flooded road - which Nige and I cycled through and Di walked around.

My cycle computer worked intermittently and at times failed to clock the miles we were spinning out. Nige has led us quite a bit today and whenever I've been at the front I've been too far ahead to help tow the others. We've put this down to it being either up or down today with very little cruising along. Hopefully we'll settle into a better pace over the next couple of days.

The b+b in Lostwithiel is brilliant! As soon as we arrived they took all our wet kit and put it into their tumble drier. The rooms are really nice and the showers hot - just what we needed. We got here at about 14.30 so made great time which allowed us all to chill and relax before popping down the road for supper and a very nice but empty restaurant.

Tonight we have planned tomorrow. Its the big Day Two across Dartmoor. One of the problems we've had today is not being able to stop because its been so cold. So tomorrow Lisa is going to drive ahead of us and stop every 10 miles - giving us somewhere to shelter while we have a quick rest and bite to eat. Once we get to Moretonhampstead Lisa will then head home.

 

DAY 2 - Lostwithiel to Moretonhampstead (51 miles, 113 miles Total)

PhotoAfter a very rested night in Lostwithiel we had a tough start to a tough day.

Over dinner last night we agreed that Lisa would hang around and support us for as long as she could before heading home. This turned out to be a godsend!

One of the problems we had yesterday was the weather being so wet and cold it was difficult to stop and rest without getting too cold. By having the van with us today meant we would be guaranteed warm shelter against the forecast bad weather. As it was, the weather held for most of the day and its only real impact was a headwind over the most exposed moorland.

Dartmoor is rightly the jewel in the crown of the end-to-end. Lostwithiel to Tavistock has got a couple of good climbs along the way including a big climb out of Gunnislake. Top-tip: when stopping on a hill make sure you change to an easy gear to restart on - otherwise you fall over spectacularly at low speed, still clipped to the pedals. Thanks to Nige for proving this fact today!

After Tavistock there are three more major ascents to cross the granite mass. The first of these is the most challenging, from Tavvy to Cox Tor. the final major climb leaves Postbridge and on any other day probably wouldn't be too bad, but at the end of today it felt like the Eiger! Fair play to Nige today - he rode some huge hills with only a double chainset, rather than the relative luxury of the triples enjoyed by Di and Myself.

The last hour of todays ride has got to be the best riding so far - If not ever! Long sweeping stretches of road, with some short big-ring uphills that make you feel you could tackle the Tour De France and give Lance a run for his money!

We changed the accomodation that was booked for M.H.Stead from a YHA to a really nice b+b run by an odd guy who we call 'Mr Giggles'. We did this to guarantee a warm and dry place to sort ourselves and our kit had the weather been bad. Unfortunately we didn't reckon on the 1:5 hill that it would be on the top of! And sorry to Lisa for being a bit short with her when I demanded to know 'where is the damn place?' On the phone. She didn't deserve that after doing such an amazing job of support again today.

I've had loads of text, email and Facebook support messages today and they have really helped to boost me along the way - big sweaty snogs will go to them all!

Getting to the end of the day by mid afternoon is working well. We all get some space to chill and relax before tea, then a few hours to chat and laugh before bed. By the time my head hits the pillow I'm just about ready to go again.

Tomorrow: off to Bridgewater, up and down a bit in the morning and a nice long ride along a river through Tiverton. Got to stop in Crediton to have Nige and Di's bikes looked at. Nige has got gear change problems and Di has worn her brake blocks through.

 

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