Today was our last full day in the saddle and, following the two previous hard days, was intended to be a gentle ride through the Cornish country lanes from Bodmin to Hayle, a distance of about 50 miles. We’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather and today was no exception; the sun was shining when we left the Westberry Hotel in Bodmin and apart from a slight chill in the air and the occasional dark cloud it remained fine all day. The wind was again kind, coming from the north east. Despite my observations regarding the apparent frequency and severity of the climbs, Bryan remained resolute – today we would follow the planned route and no short cuts. The ride didn’t start well – having found the right road through Bodmin (inevitably it was up hill) we got to the roundabout on the edge of town and carefully selected our route. This time it was down a thundering great hill, allowing us to easily reach the days maximum speed of nearly 33 mph with ease. Unfortunately this turned out to be the wrong road, so back we went! Something about incorrect road numbering I heard Bryan mumble. We then threaded our way through the maze of lanes, up hill and down, to avoid the main A30, eventually stopping for coffee at the delightful Lappa Valley Light Railway at the 30k point. On we pressed to Goonhaven for lunch, omitting the diversion to Perranporth from the itinerary – pastie on a park bench! The afternoon’s route became more varied, taking in the ‘industrial’ valley of Porthtowan, with its tin mines and the coastal village of Portreath, where afternoon tea and flapjack was taken at the Tideline Cafe. The final big climb of the day, was 1:5 for 300ft, from the harbour at Portreath up on to the cliff tops. The last 20k to Hayle was one of the nicest sections of the whole trip, with quiet lanes, high Cornish ‘hedges’ and an absolute abundance of wild flowers – bluebells, cowslips, red campion, sea pinks, valerian…just magic! But just when you think you’re cruising to a finish, a safe landing – disaster struck. Bry noticed his cycle computer wasn’t working. A quick examination of the thing that clips on the spokes and WHAT – a broken spoke on the drive side of his rear wheel. Doesn’t sound much does it but I have it on good authority that it’s one of the worst things that can happen – difficult to fix on the the road but liable, at any point, to cause the wheel to become distorted or even collapse! We finished tonights ride in a high state of anxiety – will Bry’s wheel hold out for the final 30k to our finishing point at Land’s End? The only way we could deal with the stress was to pay a visit to a favourite Hayle watering hole of mine, The Bucket of Blood, for whale and chips, washed down with a few pints of St Austell ales. With no obvious Plan B for the morning will it all come down to luck! Make sure you read tomorrows blog to find out if we make or not!
Todays route statistics
A celtic cross – somewhere in deepest Cornwall
Coffee at the Lappa Valley Light Railway
Tin mine near Porthtowan
Bry trying to look nonchalant before facing ‘the last big climb’ at Portreath
The ‘home run’, with Hayle in our sights what could possibly go wrong?
This….a broken spoke on the drive side of Bry’s rear wheel. It’s touch and go as to whether he’ll finish!
Off to bed and a sleepless night….