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Lands End to John O’Groats: Day 1

May 17, 2012

Before

As i write this I am on the train, starting a long journey home. Its been an amazing 12 days, and I don’t think its really sunk in what I have accomplished. Hopefully the words and pictures that follow will give you an idea of what it was like.

So the day before I drove down with Em, to meet her parents and stay over in a caravan park near Lands End. The drive was one of nerves, I hate goodbyes and wasn’t looking forward to leaving Em for 12 days while at the same time being excited by what was to come.

As we drove I started seeing signs for places we would be passing through and it really hit me just how far we would be going!I was genuinely concerned if i would have what it took to finish the ride, my experiences of the Bath 100 in the back of my mind.I tried to block this out and relax though and luckily it was a nice drive down, till we hit Penznace where it was pissing down!

We arrived at the caravan park and it was good to see Em’s parents. We made the decision to not stay in the tent and sleep in the car instead due to the wind. After settling down, Ems dad gave the bike a look over and we noticed an issue with the front break,which was seizing up and not springing back into place. It didn’t seem too serious though, and was sure the mechanics could sort it on the day.

After that we went to walk the dogs at Sennen Cove which was beautiful and it was nice to spend some last minute time with Em,as much as I wanted to relax the nerves were still there. After this we went off for some fish and chips which were lush. Then we chilled out with the Greens for a bit. Then it was off to the car to relax and try to sleep, the adventure was about to start…

Day 1:

Land’s End to Liskeard 74.96 Miles 7 hours 11 Minutes and 15 Seconds

This would prove to be one of the hardest days for me, and i’m not sure why. I think it was due to a combination of nerves, tiredness and not having cycled for a few weeks.

I woke up nervous and bloody cold! I didn’t sleep well as I was too nervous and excited. After a shower, getting the gear on and loading up my kit, it was off to Land’s End. I arrived and I was just eager to get going, nerves had really got hold of me by this point.

I was worried as I was on my own and not sure if i’d click with people. I’m pretty shy at first as it takes me a while to open up and wasn’t sure if i’d get on with people. (thankfully I would!)

So after meeting up with everyone and a quick briefing from the crew, it was time for the photo call. We had a great sight of a helicopter landing and the sun was out, so it was a great day for it. I was eager to get going, I wasn’t looking forward to saying bye to em we are both crap at goodbyes, so kept it short. Before I knew it I was at the official starting line and off, as I looked back I saw Em welling up which nearly broke me there and then, so i just rode off as fast as i could.

The roads were long and fast to start with and enjoyed it, but we went to a simple hill and i just had no power and people flew past me.Its funny as now the hill would be a breeze but then I couldn’t do it! I really struggled to keep up with people and so couldn’t get to know anyone and as a result spent the majority of the day on my own. It was also the time when i was glad to be under way but worried if I could do this but thankfully after the hill the roads were pretty good and I pressed on towards penzance, where I nearly missed the turning!

Before long I hit the water stop in Praze – en – Beeble which was lovely, topped up and pressed on through some lovely parts of the country, but again struggling with hills.
As I rounded the corner I saw a hawk perched on a fence post but couldn’t get a pic in time i was gutted! From there it was through Redruth and on to road to Truro. I don’t remember
too much of this bit so it couldn’t have been anything to get excited by!

Before we hit lunch though we had a long tough hill and it was cold and windy, and my legs just didn’t want to know, it was a tough climb to lunch and i was glad to make it.
Due to nerves I sat alone at lunch ate and cracked on. Thankfully as the trip went on and my confidence grew I’d get to know people much better.

After lunch it started to piss down, so my jacket went on and i cracked on. After lunch there was  a bit of a climb on the A390 which I really struggled with, my legs cramped up and I couldn’tstand up I was really concerned with Dartmoor to come. If i couldn’t do this how could I do the hills to come. I had to stop a few times and I also walked for a brief spell which angered me know end. I made a vow there, that this would be the last time I walked. T hankfully before long I was at the last water stop of the day.

From here the weather improved and it was some good roads on to Liskeard, although the duel carriage way wasn’t fun and I rolled into the premier inn, the first day done! Here I met Gareth my room mate, who is possibly the nicest person I have ever met and an amazing character. It cheered me up no end to be in and settled down for the night and finally getting a chance to know people.

At dinner we sat with Wendy and the Aussie ladies who were a brilliant bunch. So I went off to bed, relieved to have survived the first day, but nervous about Dartmoor and the day ahead…

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