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Pedal Power by Nick Veasey
  • Writer's pictureAnnette Culshaw

Lejog: Day Zero

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

5th September 2018

Annette & Bob at Lands End
Lands End - the hard work begins now...

Now it is very real!! Our only means of transport is our bikes.

We cycled from Cape Cornwall to Lands End. The wind was behind us and it was largely downhill. It was a breeze. We even risked life and limb by cycling from the St Just junction to Lands End on the A30 as there was no alternative road. The traffic was relatively light early in the morning so even that posed no problems. The major issue for us is the bikes, laden down with panniers, weigh a ton. Bob is carrying 24kg and I am carrying 20kg. Just trying to hold the bikes upright requires mega muscles which I do not possess.

The landscape at Lands End is stunning. Wild and rugged and altogether magnificent. The resort is however a tacky tourist rip off. The cafes sell little else but Cornish pasties and the ones we had were so greasy as to be virtually inedible. We learned why these pasties have the crenellated edge... they were the staple food of the miners extracting tin, copper and arsenic. They contained meat and vegetables and were a whole meal. The miners would hold the pasties along the edge whilst they ate and then throw it away so that they would not be eating traces of arsenic from their hands.

We had our photos taken by the famous Lands End sign for which you pay £10 for the photographer to take your picture. (When the photographer is not there they take the signs down!) The same company owns the photographic rights for the signs at the other end of the ride at John O Groats.

We also signed the Lejog register in the hotel. Surprisingly there was no charge for this.

Annette at the start of Lejog
Now we begin...

Bob at the start of Lejog
The Start Line....

My knight in shining Lycra....

It was such a short ride today (see previous blog) that we decided to take a detour to Sennen Cove. The sun was shining, we felt good and wanted to take in some more of the gorgeous scenery. If any of you have ever been to this part of the country you will realise that this could be construed as the first mistake of the tour!

The hill above the cove is a killer. Not so much a hill as an evil trap for cyclists. The downhill into the cove was exhilarating but at the bottom we looked up... looked at each other and said.. "what have we gone and done??? How the hell do we get back up there? The cars going up were struggling in second gear. At one stage my Garmin recorded a gradient of 34% !!!!! So we sat and had a coffee.... and looked around to see if there was any chance of cadging a lift off a lorry. No such luck (or truck!) We even wondered if we could buy crampons for the bikes to help the ascent.

We have tackled big hills before on our training runs, but never ever one that looked vertical!

So, finally, the time had come and we could put it off no longer, so we set off. The bikes were on the highest level of power and we selected low gears. Within the first 100 metres I was struggling. The bikes were so weighed down and the hill so steep that even our trusted batteries could barely cope. My legs certainly couldn't. With the steepness and the weight over the back wheels we were virtually doing wheelies. I managed to cycle about 1/3 of the way up and had to get off and push. Bob was able to get to the top!!!

So I pushed... and pushed... and pushed. I had to stop every six paces to get my breath back as the bike was so heavily laden. I wanted to sit down and give up. Then, I looked upwards to see how much further I had to go and saw Bob walking back down. He had dumped his bike at the top and was walking down to push mine. By the time we got to the top we were jelly-legged and shaking with exertion. Never have I loved him so much.

Lands End/St Just
Day 0: Lands End to St Just (& reverse)

Lands End/ Sennen Cove
St Just to Lands End & reverse.. Note the huge killer hill at Sennen Cove

Day’s Mileage 16.06m Total mileage to date:16.06m

Day’s climbing 1,496ft Total climbing to date 1,496ft

Tomorrow we head for Redruth. Please let the hills be more gentle.

Fond wishes to you all


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