It’s true what they say, i was hoping it wouldn’t be, but it is. Today was quite easily the most challenging in terms of terrain and I have legs that feel like lead to prove it.
I was up bright and early to give myself as much time as possible to complete today and it wasn’t long before I was hitting my first of many inclines. It was still misty and I enjoyed riding over the rolling, dew covered hills. Dartmoor national park is simply stunning, I felt privileged and lucky to ride through it and I was blown away by the beautiful landscape that surrounded me. I struggle to find superlatives to do it justice, weaving around sheep unprepared to budge from the middle of the road and cruising past horses grazing on the moors were particular highlights. It was a breathtaking albeit punishing opening ten miles of my ride today. Approximately half way through Dartmoor I heard a beeping from a passing car. As I turned I saw it was the McDonald family passing through whilst driving home from their Easter break. They had heard I was cycling across that way and had brought me some much needed lucozade. It was great to have some brief company and shows what a small world it is!
Once out of Dartmoor I descended in to Tavistock where I met Mick. He is a 59 year old who has previously done the trip I am doing now. He did it when he was 55 and after a good chat we cycled together for a few miles. It was great and I really enjoyed hearing some of Mick’s fascinating stories. He told me that I chose the hardest possible route to take, I wish I had met him a couple of weeks ago!
The hills showed no signs of relenting and just as soon as I was up one I had another to contend with. It was physically and mentally exhausting. I will have to admit that a couple of the climbs were just too hard on my knee and I had to dismount and push my bike up.
I chose not to have a lunch break today, instead I quickly ate some of my sandwich on the bike so I could make as much progress as possible. The weather had been lovely and I was starting to think about tan lines when it all changed. The clouds gathered and it began to look increasingly ominous. Now, most people would have taken cover and stopped for a cup of tea. I, however, was hell bent on getting to my destination so carried on regardless. That cost me. It started to rain heavily and I soon became soaking wet. Once your wet, your wet so I pushed on and then the hail stones arrived. I felt like I was cycling through a thousand angry people while they pelted rocks at me. They hurt! After about fifteen minutes they subsided and I was left to tell myself off for not pulling over.
After another few hours riding I was delighted to reach my B&B in good time. The owners are lovely people and I had a cup of tea and lunch made for me within ten minutes of my arrival. I have met some fantastic people along the way and have learnt that it’s the small things that really matter. People have done so much for me that may seem little but matters hugely and I intend to remember that and always endeavour to do the same.
I had some more pub grub and I’m pleased to say my healthy kick is continuing. I had steak and still managed to tick off all of my five a day! Tomatoes, mushroom, peas, onion (rings) and potato (chips). I know, impressive!!
It’s the last day tomorrow and I’ve been told it’s just as tough as today so I have mixed emotions. I want to enjoy it but I know that it’s going to be knackering. Heavy rain is forecasted which is a fitting end!
Thank you all for the support you have given me, it’s pulled me through and it really does mean so much.