Journeys End

It had to be the last day if I wanted a free ride home. Otherwise it was a very expensive train ride, and another hotel to find. But I had left a lot to do, 158 miles according to the mapping software. A big ask. But my bloods were spot on again, and almost perfect 6.0.

If I was to even get close I needed an early start, but that meant skipping breakfast. By just after 5am I was on the road. And the hills were nasty, like 20 miles of Whinlatter’s repeated. Heavy mist filled the  valleys and made visibility hard, and the ride say wet with the condensation.

The going was good though, and by just before 9 I was in Okehampton, calling in to a nice little cafe called Marianas right beside the bike route. The lady was still opening up but was happy to make me breakfast. We had a nice chat, and how the cafe was a good place for us bikers. I picked up the only slice of flapjack (more was being cooked) for riding fuel, and also a pasty which was meant to be the best Cornish pasties a available. The only issue with the pasty was that it was still frozen, but the lady said they normally take about two hours to warm up on the shop, but outside in my bags it should probably be much faster.

Leaving Okehampton I followed the Granite Way up the old railway line and met a curious, I would say curious weasel, but it might of been a stout but frankly I didn’t have a clue, la’al weasely critter though . It sat there in the bush watching me watching it while I rummaged in one of my front panniers for the source of an annoying squeak… It wasn’t the weasel squeaking though but my battery mains charger rubbing against my soap bottle. Saying goodbye to my hedge based watcher I was off again and soon facing yet another bridge, the Malden Viaduct. If I knew I would of found an alternative route. Who makes a wooden bridge this high?! Intently looking at my feet I made me way over looking at all the really bright red and on my shoes.

From then on the rest of day was spent solely on one road. The A30 was going to take me all the way now. No deviation, no turning off. One goal, one direction. The road was smooth and this helped greatly at getting my speed up and pounding or the miles. There was a few hills but slow climbs so nothing to bad and the road smoothness helped loads.

A couple hundred metres before market point 136 (6) I heard a lot of organic hissing, not like a lorry or tyre, I look at my rear wheel and this black line shoots out of the side of the verge and lands in a heap. I took off even faster wondering what the hell out was. I looked back and I had just been attacked by a snake. In Devon! On the A30. I went on for a few layby before pulling in and checking my sensor and bloods. In the 5′s but am sure I wasn’t imagining it. Do I report it to someone, or will they think I’m a loon. OK, I’m doing the End2End unsupported, yeah they’ll think I’m nuts.

Heading into Cornwall a car goes past cheering at my JDRF shirt and it rebuilds my spirits in the whole thing, even with my knees now reminding me of their displeasure of this last push.100, 90, 80, 70, I was distance watching now and I needed to stop it, so I pulled over for lunch. My pasty had 4 hours now to frost, it should be perfect. I think I could of used it instead of my Frio to keep meds cool.

Down the road I stopped at the next roadside burger van. The Beast of Bodmin burger sounded tempting bit I went for the good old classic cheese burger. Very tasty and really needed by this time. The lady was surprised I still had so many bags on me and commented how many jettison kit by this stage and it odd I still had all my bags (and she didn’t even know about smelly bag) and my tent strapped on. Warning me of the hills to come I pressed on.

Newquay, Truro, Redruth… And then came the signs for Penzance and I could almost feel the end of this venture. And then also came the grind. Steep ups and downs, no hard shoulder and the road now getting twisty. Lots of traffic tailed back and I decided to sit in the queue and use it to rest my legs.

Closing in on Penzance now, and the clouds rolled in  along with the mist and rain. The ride was going to end just like it started in Scotland. Shrouded in most and soaked.

Going though a little village which I didn’t catch the name of, but think it was Crowlas. I was enjoying the first cycle path on the road since Okehampton. A lady runs across the grass waving something at me, I was total lost and confused and pulled into a nearby layby. She had seen my bags and all my large JDRF logos and wanted to donate. I was stunned she flagged me down to make a donation. We got talking and she was greatful I was doing this for people like her. Turned out she was a type 1 as well, and surprised I was one, and how I was doing it unsupported. We exchanged a few notes on pumps and she asked if I was just taking it to Penzance or right to the end. There was only one place I was going now. Thanking her and her boyfriend who had joined us I was back on the road with less than 20 miles left. The chat with my fellow T1 raised my spirits over the weather. We can do these things!

The road through Penzance was busy but keeping things gentle and nursing my legs and dropping the power for fast sprints on the roundabouts to not hinder the busy evening commuting traffic. My legs were feeling renewed with the end before me. Then after the last roundabout out of Penzance the end of the day turned to the final point to make it like it started and in came the big climbs. Twisty steep little mountain roads.

My legs were flagging again, my CGM said I was at 4.2 but my blood was at 6.4 and I want suffering from my blood levels. This was my legs not enjoying it. They wanted to give up, they had five far too much recently and didn’t want to give any more. Pushing hill after hill I grid me way there. The rains getting heavier and I’m soaked now with my jacket vents wide open and still in my shorts. My glasses covered with water flowing down my face.

Lands End, I turn in and follow the hotel round. The most is close and you can hardly see more than 60m. I took a few snaps, and move on looking for the sign. My nephew runs up, followed by the rest of the family.

I’d pulled a “Vettel” on my final day, and smashed my personal best distance (sorry to those not F1 fans, Vettel has a tendency to set fastest laps and things even on the last lap of winning a race). I oddly don’t have any emotion on the whole thing. It feels odd of anything that it’s over. All of me aches. Fingers, thumbs, shoulders, knees. And all the scratches and messed up legs. Thanks everyone for following the tracking. I hope it was entertaining…

Ohh and the pasty? Is still frozen! Never know, it might be edible by the time I get home…