Stats for the day:
- 74 miles in about six hours in the saddle
- Total ascent about 4,900 feet - estimated, as Garmin had a spell where it decided not to bother with calculating total ascent
- Felled tree impressions: 1 (bringing trip total to three)
Our last day. Only 74 miles, but for some reason Land’s End feels as far away as ever. The ride has been a great thing to do, but I can’t wait to get it finished now. Starting the day at Boscastle House makes it even harder to get started this morning - the eleventh consecutive day of cycling. Breakfast was out of this world (see picture) and rounded off a wonderful stay with Sean and Morwenna. The only thing that wasn’t perfect about it was having to leave. Steffi and Cara were able to stay a bit longer and enjoy the garden with Lamorna, followed by a long walk around the area. I’m sure we’ll come back to Boscastle some time.
First cycling task for the day was getting out of Boscastle, a 650 foot climb in low gears all the way. Nice start! Having reached Camelford, we headed south west on the A39. Today we were cycling charlatans, choosing main roads ahead of country lanes, all with the objective of getting to Land’s End as quickly as possible. I think we have grown more tolerant of busy dual carriageways as the ride has progressed, and today we got our fair share of heavy traffic at close quarters. Even with the help of the main roads it was tough going, as we pressed on at a good lick through a rolling landscape, and as the heat and humidity got worse. Today was the sixth or seventh day of hot sunny weather in a row - difficult to say for sure as looking back the days tend to blend into one.
After a spell of 5 miles or so cycling with an iron man triathlete, who was happily making conversation - he had slowed down from his usual cruising speed of about 25 mph - while I was gasping for every breath, we stopped for lunch, which included some lovely home-made muffins that Morwenna had packed for us, and then pressed on past Truro and Redruth. It was during the afternoon stretch that Charles performed his third and final felled tree impression, this time with more damaging consequences. Looking over his shoulder to check that I was behind him, he lost balance, couldn’t get his shoes out of the clips, and fell sideways onto an armco barrier. A nasty scrape along the thigh and an out-of-line wheel resulted. He was able to fix the latter, but the injury will be painful for a few days.
We met up with Steffi and Cara at Penzance for a late afternoon picnic (perfect timing again), before heading off for the final push to Land’s End - the last 10 miles!
We had been warned about the hills out of Penzance, and sure enough we had more of yesterday’s up and down experiences for a few miles, but the last five miles were a nice flat finish to 950 miles of cycling. We crossed the finishing line at about 25 mph and went off to take loads of pictures. There is more at Land’s End than at John o’Groats. There were even a few other cyclists who had just finished their JOGLE rides; so we weren’t the only mad fools to be attempting it the wrong way round. It was a good place to finish, and I’m pleased we chose to do a JOGLE rather than a LEJOG.
Finishing the ride brings a mixture of feelings. I’m proud of what we have done on our bikes, and of Steffi and Cara for the role they’ve played in it. We really wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Cara has shown patience and resilience that I wouldn’t have thought possible for a six year old, and Steffi’s emotional support has been wonderful. I am indeed a lucky man. There is also a huge feeling of relief at getting it over with, but at the same time there is a lot that I will miss. Leaving Land’s End in the van, we headed for Plymouth and our last night of Premier Inn hospitality (this time with one room room and breakfast free).
To view pictures of Day Eleven click here