Saturday, 26 July 2014

Day 1 is for disasters and demoralising


Not an ideal start to LEJOG on day 1, but at least we're now in to Devon and have the first 107 miles behind us.

We kicked off the day quite late at 9:45am and by then the temperature was already picking up. Liar of the day award goes to The Met Office for telling us it would be a bit cooler at 22C, it was much warmer than that as I went through 6 bottles of water and several pints of (sadly not beer) drink at our feed stops. 

We snaked our way up through Penzance and up to Redruth, the latter seemed to be a former tin mine and as the faint smell of burning plastic wafted through the air we were careful not to slow down too much as we passed through!  After 5 miles or so I quite fancied a toilet stop, but Brendon told me the story of Jackie Chan, apparently when he was training if a fellow student asked to go to the toilet it was a sign they were not training hard enough and they were made to train harder. I hold on for another 50 miles!

We tracked up the west coast of Cornwall towards Bude and after about 40 miles my right knee started playing up as it had done on my last ride. Sharp pains made me wince every time I peddled, so the pace dropped which given the heat was no bad thing.  

Cornish Pirate of the day goes to Brendon as the cap on one of his front tooth fell off on about 55 miles for some unknown reason, he could now say "Ooooh Aaarrr" and not only sound the part, but look it too!

Our first feed stop was 60 miles and a welcome opportunity for some more drinks and to chow down on some flapjacks and other treats.  Brendon and I tried some stetches etc and we diagnosed knee as a tight IT band for my problematic knee, so some special stretches and massaging were applied.

Off we headed again to a very hilly section as we neared Bude before heading east and inland past Davidstow, home to a large creamery where Cathedral City is produced.  Shortly after we arrived at our final feed stop on 83 miles and took on some more drinks.  The day had been very slow going, it was approaching 6pm and we were looking at an 8pm finish - however, my spirits were finally lifting and I was beginning to ignore my right knee and enjoy the ride.

Our last major town before tracking up to Okehampton was Launceston and this is where things went pear-shaped in quite a big way. Heading in to the town we took a wrong turn down a steppish hill, I shouted back to Brendon behind me that we needed to turn round, but he didn't hear me. I slowed down and began to stop, but Brendon was distracted and did not see me either. Very shortly after Brendon did see me, but it was too late as he piled in to the back of me, all of a sudden we were sprawled out in the road. We lay there for a few moments gathering ourselves. I daared not move to start with, what injuries had I sustained?

Thankfully scrapes and bruises were all that we had. Apart from one of my big toes, the toe nail is purple and very painful - hopefully it's not broken!  But the bikes on the other hand have taken the brunt of the shunt. The front forks on Brendon's bike had snapped, it would no longer be possible to ride it. We phoned through to the support vehicle where we thankfully had a spare bike available.  A heavy old hybrid, but it would do for now as Brendon could ride it to Knutsford where hopefully his bike could be fixed.  Thankfully my bike was generally OK, The back wheel was buckled, but is was ridable.

For that, Brendon pulls ahead 2-0 in the Dipstick of the Day Awards!

We rolled into the campsite at 9:45pm, it was dark by this point and we'd spent 12 hours on the road during our first day. It's difficult to imagine a worse start, but thankfully it's behind us now and tomorrow we start a new day.  

It's important to remember the two people I'm doing this in memory of, the fantastic support you've all given me and that, despite a bad start, I'm sure there are plenty of highs still to come!

Tomorrow we go again

Happy cycling


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