Day 1. Great start. The roads were tough - less undulating than just mainly uphill - but I don't mind climbing and it means I've put plenty in the bank for the next few days before. I had been told (and had read) that the first day was tough, and had prepared myself for that, but at 96miles it's also the shortest, so a reasonable way to begin all things considered.
The weather had been kind - starting with a breathtaking sunrise at Land's End, that I was able to cycle straight into, and it was still all day - but after 60 miles or so I knew I was in good shape. Aside from a 25 minute stop for an interview on BBC Radio Manchester (listen again), it was a clear run to Bodmin, where I expected to arrive just after 1pm and actually reached just before midday. After a cracking lunch, I was away and was making great time. My original target had been 6pm for Okehampton, and I worked after lunch that I was actually on course to get there for roughly 3.15 - which was perfect because City kicked off at 4pm! I immediately got a puncture. It's well over a decade since I fixed one so it took a while - about half an hour. Thanks go to Will Hardy for his Savvy pub advice, along with Ben Kind for disputing said advice in a way that made me realise that Hardy was definitely right.
All pumped up and back on the road, I was still on course for kick off when the police started converging. Not on me, but on a nasty looking crash which closed the A30 and led to an extra 12 miles in diversion. 12 miles is fine, but these particular 12 miles were steep. But I decided to suck it up and use it as training for the Cumbrian and Scottish mountains later in the week, testing myself to remain in the saddle and push with my legs not my weight. If you don't cycle, that won't mean much but it felt important to me!
I arrived just after 4.15, and found a pub just before 4.30 - just in time to see Liverpool score, but we came back and got a point so I'm satisfied.
Above all though, I'm satisfied with a good day's work. It's been tough, but I'm not in much pain, and I know I'm in good shape. I've worked hard for this so I should be feeling good right now - the real test comes in the days ahead.
The stats - Miles:108.2. Time (total): 8hrs 14mins. Time (cycling) 6 hrs 20mins. Puntures: 1. Cereal Bars consumed: 6. Cyclists overtaken: 17. Cyclists overtaken by: 0.
Highlight: Sunrise at Land's End.
Soundtrack Top 5: First Day Of Spring (Noah and the Whale) - just after sunrise, first song on the road. Rocky Ground (Bruce Springsteen) - first bad road. Unnamed Song (I'm not telling you all the details. Someone nice made me a playlist - shuffle delivered one of their songs at the bottom of a hill and I laughed so hard I a) nearly fell off, and b) breezed up it). Ribcage (Elbow) - 'we blew the doors...and did a real thing, didn't we'. Here Comes The Sun (Nina Simone) - crossing the line from Cornwall to Devon.
Lowlight: Puncture. And seeing a massive Badger fall victim to roadkill (not live, the aftermath).
Thanks in abundance to Bekah Morris (LLR) and her fella for coming all the way down to the start to wave me off. And to Daisy (LLR) for seeing me into Okehampton.
More tomorrow. But if you want more, live updates throughout the day on Twitter @domgoggins #LeadingLight
Thanks for looking in