Friday, 30 April 2010

Carland Cross to Gt Torrington

Just a quicky as the internet connection is a bit poor. I'll update properly as soon as I get the chance.

Great day of cycling today. Hilly (more hilly than yesterday) but the wind at my back and some beautiful scenery and pretty villages. Really, really enjoyed it despite the showers. Rain was sporadic but heavy at times. In fact to the extent that it was a bit hokey cokey. i.e. 'you put your waterproof on, you take your waterproof off, on, off, on, off ...' Blimey. In the end I got fed up and left it on. Some good climbs today. Especially out of Boscastle.

Made very good progress and was just short of Gt Torrington before 3.00pm. However, the puncture fairy struck as I was going downhill at some speed. Tell tale wobble at the back end and it got a bit hairy. Had plenty of time so sat and repaired it rather than just change the tube. Then met up with a guy called Al Pewsey for a couple of pints in Torrington before climbing the hill to the B&B at Furze Farm. Thanks for the donation to the pot Al. Much appreciated. Furze Farm is v. nice. Classy farm house.

I've realised that I got through the whole of Cornwall without having a single Cornish Pasty. Damn.

Some stats:
72.3 miles
Av. speed 13.2 mph
Total ascent: 7092 ft.
Max speed: 42.4 mph (wheeeeeeh!)
Punctures: 1
Beers: 2 so far but I'm off out for tea in a minute!
Rain: plenty but not as bad as yesterday
Fun: lots.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Day 1: Lands End to Carland Cross

Left Lands End at about 2.00pm in rain, fog and single figure temperatures fearing that the poor weather would stay with me all afternoon. And it did.

Rainy, rainy, rainy

After having the obligatory photos taken at the post I set off and for the first 4 miles wondered what all the fuss was about regarding Cornwall's hills. The rest of todays 56.6 miles was rarely flat. Up, down, up down, up, down. You get the idea. Nothing too bad though. A few steep pitches but generally short and I can't say I struggled on any of them.

The rain was a constant annoyance but never particularly heavy. Most annoying aspect of it was that it stopped when I got to the B&B.

Some beautiful quiet country lanes and close encounters with a rabbit (running alongside and considering hari kari by virtue of front wheel spokes), a tractor, a fox (ran right across the road in front of me and then took part in a staring contest with me before legging it when I reached for the camera) and a badger (dead).

Some navigational errors added about 5 miles to the planned total. Must try harder tomorrow.

Uppy downy view of today.

Very nice B&B at Carland Cross. Recommended. Trip to a local pub (Clock and Key) for some industrial size plates of scampi and a couple of pints of Skinners Cornish Ale. Food 8/10. Beer 6/10

Miles: 56.6
Hills: Plenty
Rain: Lots

I'll add some pics ASAP.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The hour is almost upon us ...

Well work is done (only just and I'm sure I've forgotten something important) and its time for some last minute packing and preparation which I'll get on with soon. After a last minute drink and a listen through a fave Cult album :-)

Setting off at about 5.30am so should get to Lands End about lunchtime and feel ready for a gentle introduction to my adventure - just 50 miles to Carland Cross (between Truro and Newquay). Plenty hills though.

Here we go.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Here's what I'm taking for the trip:

Specialized Tricross Sport with Brooks B17 saddle, mudguards and Tubus Logo rack

Carradice Super-C rackbag (just realised that that reads like 'crackbag'). Don't get any ideas.

Garmin Edge 205 (thanks to Ian Loasby for the loan).

Tools etc:
Spare inner tubes (x2), puncture repair kit, tyre levers, pump and CO2 inflator, multitool, penknife, cable ties, old piece of tyre (bead removed) to act as a 'boot' in case of a split in a tyre, spare brake and gear cable, small bottle of bike lube, water bottles x 2, mini cable lock, LED lights.

Cycling clothing:
shorts x 2, jersey x 2, light fleece, cycling socks x 2, arm and leg warmers, waterproof jacket, cycling shoes, mitts, cap and helmet, sunglasses

Evening clothes:
trainers, 1 pair trousers, 1 shirt and a couple of pairs of underwear (I'll only be wearing stuff for a short time each evening anyway so there won't be time for it to get smelly!!)

Other stuff:
Small first aid kit (including ibuprofen and sudocrem!!), a few toiletries, maps and route sheets in plastic wallets (can throw pages away when no longer need them), wallet, compact digital camera, mobile phone, iPod, latex gloves (keep hands clean when repairing punctures etc), laptop.

I won't be carrying all this on the bike as I'll be meeting up at the B&B each evening so stuff like evening clothes, spare set of cycling clothes, toiletries, the laptop and all chargers won't contribute to the weight. Everything else will fit in the rack bag with plenty of room to spare. I'll probably fill that with food/snacks!

Weather forecast

After the gorgeous weather of this week the long range forecast for next week looks naff! Much cooler, night frosts, rain and winds from the North. Typical! Grrrrrrrrr.

Friday, 23 April 2010


I had a physio 'pre-hab' session today.

I've been a bit worried about twinges in my left knee as the training miles have built up and concerned that it would become significant on the 'big ride'. Comprehensive assessment and good advice on a variety of exercises that should help (as well as advice on stretching exercises too). Money well spent I'd say although I still reckon Ibuprofen will be my friend on the trip!

Thanks Ken.


Is going well. Thanks to all those who have put their hands in their pockets. Over £1000 now and rising which is great news. All for St. Luke's Hospice in Sheffield.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Route and navigation

Not sure if I've put this up yet but planned route is as below. Will be travelling down very early on 29th April and setting off from Lands End in the afternoon:

29th April: Lands End - Carland Cross (between Truro and Newquay)
30th April: Carland Cross - Gt. Torrington
1st May: Gt. Torrington - Cheddar
2nd May: Cheddar - Wooferton (just south of Ludlow)
3rd May: Wooferton - Chorley
4th May: Chorley - Apppleby in Westmoreland
5th May: Apppleby in Westmoreland - Peebles
6th May: Peebles - Blairgowrie
7th May: Blairgowrie - Grantown on Spey
8th May: Grantown on Spey - Altnaharra
9th May: Altnaharra - John O'Groats

Many thanks to Ian Loasby for lending me his Garmin Edge 205 for the trip. I'll log my actual route/progress and upload it every day (internet access permitting).

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

All systems go

Back on the bike and feeling good!

Friday, 16 April 2010

A dental update ...

Antibiotics (Metronidazole) seem to be working as the pain is subsiding and I'm regaining some sanity as a result. HOWEVER, they've got some nasty side effects. I've got a constant pounding headache, aching muscles and joints, annoying itching, no appetite, metallic taste in the mouth and, strangely, urine so dark its as if I'm very dehydrated (which I'm not). The lymph nodes on that side of my face and neck are enlarged and painful but thats a result of the infection so they'll ease off soon enough I hope. So, although they're unpleasant and it means I've got no hope of getting on the bike at the moment I'm sticking with them because I can't countenance the idea of THAT pain again. There is what looks like the abscess coming to the surface on the inside of my jaw near the floor of my mouth. Too much information? Anyway, have made another dentist appt for Monday to have it checked out.

Hoping to feel well enough to get a ride sometime next week. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


I've developed an abscess on a tooth. Bloody Hell its painful! Constant throbbing that never goes away. Painkillers not helping and antibiotics haven't really kicked in yet but I hope they do soon. Struggling to sleep or eat. My dentist can't extract the offending tooth because of the size and shape of the roots so it needs removing at the dental hospital. And in any case they can't do it until the abscess has been treated. BAD timing. With luck I'll have it out and be recovered before the 29th April but I'm waiting on an appointment. Otherwise I'm a bit stumped. I'm not up to cycling this week and am hoping that once the abscess has gone then the pain will have too so I can get back on the bike. Bugger!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The bike

It'll be this one:

2010 Specialized Tricross Sport complete with Tubus Logo rear rack, SKS mudguards, Shimano M520 pedals and a Brook B17 saddle - the only thing I'd perch my arse on.

I've ridden it for a few days and its really very comfortable. This is the first Aluminium frame/carbon fork touring style bike I've ridden and I expected it to be a bit harsh compared to (the traditionally compliant) steel framed bikes I'm used to but its most definitely not. It has quite a short reach/upright position so there is less pain in my neck and shoulders for those long days in the saddle. Not particularly fast but I think its probably safe to blame the engine there! In any event, comfort is more important than speed for my End to End ride.

As for the rest of my kit ... well more on that soon.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Clumber lake

Gentle spin around Clumber trails to loosen the legs. Chilly but fun.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Weather: bad. Mileage: good

Despite the foul weather I've got 3 long rides in this week (all over 70 miles and including hilly terrain) and over 250 miles so far this week. Since Monday I've ridden in sun, rain, hail, snow and, worst of all, wind. Is there anything more demoralising on a bike than a vicious headwind for mile on mile? Oh yes, when your face is being pelted with hail stones at the same time. Oh, and freezing cold wet hands and feet at the same time!!!!! I suppose I should be thankful that I've been punct*re free this week. Anyway, I can't guarantee the weather for my end-to-end ride so I've got to be prepared to cycle in whatever the elements throw at me and just get out there and do it.

I hope that whoever required the air ambulance and mountain rescue at Burbage on Tues is OK. It all looked a bit worrying when I cycled past.

Other top tips from my experience thus far this week:
  1. Don't cycle over wet cattle grids with skinny slick tyres and not expect to have a bit of a brown trouser moment.
  2. Shouting every known unrepeatable swear word at the wind won't make it blow any less in your face.
  3. Carry a spare pair of gloves if you know its going to be (very) wet.
  4. Alcohol has a rapid effect when your knackered from lots of cycling.