Sunday, 1 September 2013

600 miles. We did it!

WAAAHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! This is the first word that comes to mind whilst writing this post. It has been quite an adventure though. Although we are both pleased that we got there and that we made it, we are also a bit sad that it's over. There have been ups and downs, and not just regarding the terrain. But we enjoyed it immensely and weird though it may sound, we both wish we were getting back on our bikes again to keep cycling.

Carmen very pleased she made it
So lets tell you a little about what happened on those last two days towards, what we regarded at the beginning of the challenge as a land far far away; Land's End.

Day 13

After spending the night in a bed (which I must say was EXTREMELY soft!) and waking up and having a BIG breakfast we were set for a long day of cycling. We had 50 miles to cover to reach a place not many of you will probably have heard of before, called Lizard Point. Why were we heading to Lizard Point? (especially considering it added an extra 20 miles to our total journey) It was because it is the most Southernmost point in England, so we can claim that we visited three of the four most extreme points of mainland England in one cycle ride; and not the fact that we are just crazy. (although sometimes I do think that)

Me at Lizard Point
To start the day after our lovely breakfast we got on a tiny ferry to go across the river to a little village called Fowey. Once there we had the hard task of going up an extremely steep hill to get to the main road, which resulted in the good old fashioned task of pushing the bikes up the hill! Once at the top it was actually really nice cycling for the rest of the day, bar some very long but slowly inclining hills, which our legs did not appreciate too much! It was quite an uneventful cycle really, not really even having any real stops along the way, just the essentials: a quick bite of food and the toilet. We arrived at the village at about 6:30pm and decided not to go all the way to the point itself due to it being a bit later now and not having much light of day left, plus the fact we had to set up our tent whilst it was still light, so we left it for the next morning.

The campsite we were staying in that night was quite different to all the others we had stayed at throughout the journey. It could best be described as a hippy's paradise. The name of the campsite was Henry's Campsite and it is the most Southerly campsite in the whole of the UK! (pictures are on their website). You have your very own enclosed pitch spaces, lots of plants (palm trees included), wood shacks and huts, all very bohemian style. They even encourage people to play acoustics!

After setting up the tent we found ourselves a nice place to eat for the evening. It was here that our day was really made. Firstly (although not most importantly) they had 8 hour pulled pork burgers on the menu!!! We both got one of these each and they were delicious! Secondly (and still not most importantly) we both had a taste of cornish alcohol, Carmen getting a half pint of Korev Ale and myself getting a Cornish Rattler Pear cider (both again tasting lovely). But thirdly (and yes most importantly) we were sitting next to a lovely couple and their little girl and we got chatting, and they asked us what our tops were for (as we were wearing our purple Dravet tops). So we told them we were doing a sponsored cycle ride for Dravet Syndrome, etc etc, and they were kind enough to give us £10 there and then for the cause! This was what made our day, and we were really quite chuffed that someone who had only just met us was willing to do that! (we didn't even know their names). We would both like to say a big thank you to them though! And not that I am trying to stereotype people at all (okay maybe a little here), but people from Wolverhampton are very generous!

My Cornish Rattler beside Carmen's Korev, and you can see the nice man from Wolverhampton just to the right
Day 14 (Final Day)

We both woke up for the last day feeling rather tired after a quite restless night in the tent. But what better thing to wake you up a bit than going down to the edge of Lizard Point to admire the view, and then coming back to get Cornish award winning ice cream for breakfast!

Carmen admiring the view at Lizard Point
And another one of the view as it is so good!

One more of the amazing view (because I have the power to!)
This got us all fired up to go. So after finishing our ice creams we got back on our bikes for the last 36 and a half miles! It started off slow due to a pretty strong headwind, but as we got warmed up and the wind lessened off a bit we started to pick up the pace a bit. Along the way we did have a nice encounter with a couple of cars though that slowed down as they went past us and shouted at us to get out of the road (one being an old lady which stuck in my head particularly). I won't mention what I wished I had shouted back to her!

We stopped off for lunch along the way at a Morrisons before then heading off for the last 12 miles! We were stopped very soon after though by Adrian Fox from Saturday Sport at Chelmsford and Southend radio station, who called me up to check on our progress, which they had been following for the previous two weeks. After a 10 minute interview we were on our way again. The last 10 miles passed quite slowly for us, I don't know if time actually slowed down, or if we slowed down (although the speedometer didn't show that we did), but everytime we  kept seeing signs it was only getting a mile closer. Once we got within the last mile we saw some cyclists coming the other way, and as we cycled past they all shouted to us well done, which made us smile.

We then rounded a long corner to see Land's End in front of us, it was amazing coming down that final stretch, with flags up and a finish line at the end (not just for us unfortunately). Finally arriving there we were over the moon! We were lucky enough to have my parents meet us there at the end to welcome us with a nice little banner that was homemade with a couple of balloons to make it seem even better. We even had our photo taken in front of the landmark sign, which you would normally have to pay for, but we snuck in front to catch a quick picture when no one was looking! I must say there is not a lot at Land's End unless you are a cyclist having just completed a long ride, as that is what it seemed set up for. Although again the views do make it worthwhile going!

Us with the homemade banner and balloons

Us in front of the Land's End sign overlooking the ocean

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