LEJoG, or "Why Am I Doing This?"
Having spent far too much time planning this by reading up on things, and putting together a Strava route for each day of the ride, I rode across London to Paddington on my "holy crap how heavy have I made this" bike, joined the other five people in squeezing our bikes into the bike storage on the train, and settled in for the train ride down to Penzance. Arriving in Penzance I discovered the problem with Cornwall, is that it is quite hilly. Penzance, being a seaside town, is at sea level. This meant that the first thing I got to do after sitting on a train for five hours and loading my panniers back onto the bike was cycle up a big old hill.
I managed that, and decided to get a head start on my planned first day, by going down to Land's End then back up to the campsite. Which I managed fine, despite almost getting caught up in a group of cyclists just arriving at the end of their JoGLE. A strategic application of the brakes, followed by diving off through the car park meant I avoided any cheers not meant for me. A quick selfie near the signpost, a nod of the head and a moment to reflect as I passed the plaques for people who had died/been killed on their attempts, and off I went, a few miles up the road to the campsite. Tent up, showered, cheese sandwiches for tea, and some time to read, and think "yeah, this isn't so bad".
Day one proper, however, that changed, although the countryside was great to look at, and picking a handfull of blackberries here and there was fun, as the day wore on I was struggling more and more with the hills, until the last few miles where I was really struggling to even push my bike up some of them. After checking in at the YHA at the Eden Project, showering, wolfing down my evening food, and supping at a single bottle of beer, I was out like a light at something like 9pm. I was very glad of my decision to switch from a camping pitch to a room, however, as it absolutely hoyed it down all night.
Day two started as day one had ended, with me struggling to push my bike up a relatively minor hill, only this time in the rain. After walking up a second incline, I managed to find somewhere with both mobile data coverage and enough shelter under a tree to get my phone out, so I could check the trains. I wasn't very far from Par, so I trundled over there, bought a train ticket back to London, and dropped and smashed my phone on the platform. Needless to say, I've had better days, and when I arrived back in London I had to take a detour to pick up some spare keys, as I couldn't find mine in my panniers, and then to heap even more misery on my day, I even had to get off and push my bike up Pentonville Road, an incline which I've ridden up many times before on Boris Bikes, even at my most unfit. A subsequent three or four days in bed justified my decision to call it off and head home, or maybe I tried to justify it by spending that time in bed watching netflix, but for 2015, LEJoG definitely had me beat.
LEJoG Day 0 - Penzance to campsite Actual Ride
LEJoG Day 1 - campsite to Eden Project Actual Ride
LEJoG Day 2 - Eden Project to Okehampton Actual Ride
and these are the stages which went out of the window...
LEJoG Day 3 - Okehampton to Street
LEJoG Day 4 - Street to Coleford
LEJoG Day 5 - Coleford to Clun
LEJoG Day 6 - Clun to Kingsley
LEJoG Day 7 - Kingsley to Slaidburn
LEJoG Day 8 - Slaidburn to Keswick
LEJoG Day 9 - Keswick to Johnstonebridge
LEJoG Day 10 - Johnstonebridge to Stirling
LEJoG Day 11 - Stirling to Pitlochry
LEJoG Day 12 - Pitlochry to Slochd
LEJoG Day 13 - Slochd to Helmsdale
LEJoG Day 14 - Helmsdale to Wick via John O' ...