That was tough. Chris, having looked at the total amount of hill climbing we’ll do over the entire 1000 mile journey remarked that it was the same as climbing Everest 2.2 times. After today I can see how we’re going to get there. A silver-tongued estate agent might duplicitously call today’s terrain ‘rolling’.
We started out today in Fowey where my parents had done a superb job of hosting us. Unfortunately this may throw the rest of our accommodation (Richmond excepted) into stark relief.
Our first moment of cycling took us onto a ferry, leaving on the other side of the we passed Daphe De Maurier’s house and up a particularly gruelling climb.
Although slightly worryingly he is revelling in the schaudenfraude he imagines will be befalling the previous holder: head in hands as he is informed by Strava that he’s been beaten. Unable to look his wife in the eye anymore he heads out this evening to regain his crown - still beaten and half the man he felt yesterday he turns to drink and spirals into oblivion. Richard Hamerton-Stove it’s OK, Jacko is over 8ft tall and it’s not really a fair fight.
Today also saw our first guest rider - my Dad - also called Chris. I’m going to pretend it was the fresh legs, but he was mostly found at the front of the peloton, or waiting at the top of a hill. Although he did find time to kindly wave past a car and come to a gentle halt in a hedgerow
I am informed that this was a deliberate manoeuvre and one that he has practiced many times before.
We spent most of the day with a trail of water from the person in fronts back wheel heading straight from tyre to mouth, getting poleaxed by the rain, wearing shower-caps over our helmets.
A few special mentions:
1. Hazel (again… 3 days of incredible support, but we could lose her soon to Team Sky). An amazing lunch spread in about the only place of shelter alongside a railway line, together with a set of dry clothes for the afternoon stint.
2. Jacko. A driving force at the front of the peleton during aforementioned stint.
3. The hill into St Briavels. For not being as bad as the profile on ridewithgps suggested.
I’m writing this from the chapel of our castle, the YHA in St Briavels. It’s an incredible place to be spending the night, but most of all, it has hot showers.
Almost any weather could be considered an improvement, and while swapping rain for wind might be deemed an improvement if we were sailing to JOG, unfortunately this is not our chosen mode of transport.
Rescuing Jacko’s tool pack from the path of a speeding lorry and the loss of several shower caps, that had kept our heads dry the day before but whose elastic was not designed for high winds, seemed like the only distractions from an endless slog into the wind on our way to Shrewsbury. Oh, and that we’d remain unscathed by the speeding vans and lorries that would buffet us with spray, noise and debris - good news, we did.
It’s time to get some rest and prepare for another tough day in the saddle, as we head north to Rossendale tomorrow - at least the forecast is dry, so no shower caps required.