After yesterday, today was a dream.We sat in bed last night and read about our route today and wondered about our ability to manage it. It sounded way too hard.
But.... the joy of cycling back from the hotel to our route... down the two mile hill we had to push up yesterday, was like revenge for the pain. We descended to the Camel trail... a truly wonderful, almost flat cycle way which we followed for eight miles through dappled woods. It is a gradual ascent of 40 metres. After those killer hills of yesterday it was a joy, apart from the fact that Bob got stung by some flying critter under his helmet (cycle helmet!!) and was in agony!!
At the end of the trail we were hit by a 10% hill and climbed the same height over the next 400 metres followed by much more climbing up to the edge of Bodmin Moor.
We rode around the shoulder of Bodmin Moor and it was the best ride of our lives. The sky was overcast ... no sun.. and so the light was exquisite. We managed the climb with relative ease and enjoyed every single minute of this wild and rugged landscape. It was truly exhilarating. We did not manage to take nearly enough photos as were were focussed on survival!! The sheep had a Cornish curiosity and continuously appeared from nowhere to have a good look at these passing weirdos...fine when we were cycling uphill but a tad more scary on the descents when they suddenly appeared in the road!
I almost forgot to tell you... Bob got stung again between the eyes at this very point! So he has swelling and fire under his helment and now a huge swelling on the bridge of his nose between his eybrows. Those pesky flying insects were after him for sure. (and he does not suffer in silence!) His 'Ooo's' and 'Arghs" could be heard all over Bodmin Moor - at least he kept the sheep away!
The ride from Bodmin Mooor continued with hill after hill after hill after hill, but the joy was that we managed to cycle up all but three. Maybe our legs are getting stronger already. For sure the bikes are doing us proud.
One of the strange things about our route is that because we are cycling the back roads we do not see a single pub, cafe or watering hole along the way. We went from breakfast to supper tonight without anything to eat except for two bananas that we had with us which we ate at the top of a lengthy push-up hill. Never have we appreciated sustenance more!
We arrived in Holsworthy and made our way to our prebooked hotel. We wanted to cry. The safe place to store our bikes was about 300m down a dingy and dirty alley and into a minute space wedged between some truly stinking bins. All the way down were down and outs sitting on the floor drinking from cans. No way was it safe or secure. To carry our panniers to the 'hotel' would have required a strength and endurance that we do not posess. We asked to be shown our rooms and the barmaid took us through bars that stank of cigarettes and led us to a staircase that obviously led to an attic and was so narrow that we could hardly fit to climb up. With our panniers it would have been impossible.
We decided that this would not do after the longest ride and highest climb of our lives. We wiped our feet as we left as the floor was so sticky. We went to Google (God bess 'em) and found the Bickford Arms at Brandis Corner. It was four miles from Holsworthy along an A road. The owner, Ray, could not have been more accommodating and was truly lovely. He gave us a super room and we have enjoyed a lovely meal tonight. He and his daughter Donna have been amazing. Our bikes are stored safely in his dining room. When serendipty strikes it strikes well. We cycled the extra four miles to get here only to discover that tomorrow's route is right outside the front door. Had we stayed in the awful hotel at Holsworthy we would have had to take a longer cycle route to get to this exact spot tomorrow.
I forgot to mention yesterday that we received £32 in en route donations from some incredibly kind people. Every pound makes a difference.
So.. the Beast of Bodmin... did I see him? Yes, and he was cycling right behind me all the way!
Today was the longest ride to date and the highest elevation we have ever done...
Day’s Mileage: 48.86m Total mileage to date: 132.31m
Day’s climbing: 3,290ft Total climbing to date 10,400ft
Night night our dear friends
Annette & Bob