Day 12 – 18th August
Bude – Camelford – Wadebridge – Cambourne – Hayle – Penzance – Land’s End
I cried. I knew I would. Tears of joy, relief, sadness even, all behind the anonymity of dark glasses.
At 6:12 pm on the 18th August we crossed the finish line at Land’s End the end of a wonderful odyssey, an experience I will remember for the rest of my days.
We left Bude at 8:30 and for the first 10 miles the going was tough. Some steep little leg burners that stretch every sinew and fibre, building up the lactic and leaving you heavy legged at the top. If this was the pattern for the day I was in for a long one!
Our final coffee stop of the trip was in Wadebridge. The sign outside the cafe said “No we do not have wifi try talking to each other”. So we did. Social media could wait for once.
The cafe owner made a donation to the cause giving us more money than we had him for the coffees. In fact the generosity of people we have met has lifted us all along the way. We have collected or had donated over £100 from complete strangers. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was from the two young women with their children that we met on the edge of Loch Lomond. Just after the thunderstorm. Bob asked if they would take a photo for us and he in return took theirs. That evening I had an anonymous donation. On checking I discovered to my surprise it was these two ladies. They had seen the details on our shirts checked the Facebook page and had been moved by Bobs story. Just wonderful.
From Wadebridge we picked up the A30 a horrible busy road, a mix of single and dual carriageway full of lorries and caravans. It vied with the A420 as the most horrid road in England! Driving back along the A30 the following day in the rain and road spray made me realise just how lucky we were to at least have cycled it on a lovely sunny day when visibility was good.
As we progressed and once within 35 miles of our target I emailed back to the office how many miles we had left. When finally arriving at Penzance the text read “less than 10 miles to go, finding it hard to keep it together”.
The next 3 miles out of Penzance were again those tough short sharp steep little numbers that bring on the lactic. Flipping heck! Then when the road sign said still 9 miles to Lands End I wanted to have sense of humour failure! I thought Lands end was in England not France!
But once finally back on top we gave it all we had left and made good time the adrenaline pumping with the scent of the finishing line in our nose. Half a mile out we stopped and hugged each other our last private moment together. “For Dale – forever 13”. Then as we turned the corner and could see the finishing line ahead the sun came out from behind a cloud. Dale had watched over us all the way keeping us safe and here he was smiling on us as we reached our goal. Thank you Dale and bless you.
Finishing was bitter sweet that extraordinary mix of joy and sadness (like a peanut and jelly sandwich – two things you would never dream of combining). A sense of relief too, for us that we were safe and for me that the body had held together. Just!
There was a lovely reception awaiting our arrival, Julie, Rosie, Chris, Trev, Mandy, John, Karen and Mark. Even the car park attendants are trained to applaud arriving cyclists 😜.
Hugs, kisses, congratulations, champagne, photos, photos and yet more photos and suddenly it’s over. Done.
Now is the time to reflect, to relax, to recover. In time the size of our achievement will sink in. But for now I am just so very tired my 60 year old body battered. My ungrateful Achilles started telling me enough was enough several days ago. I ignored it.
To die, to sleep –
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub,
Well just a good old fashioned sleep will do me!
There will be one more post on our special day Saturday 15th and reflecting on the entire journey – a sort of best (and worst) bits! Oh and Bobs badass story!
That’s all for now folks. Thank you thank you thank you. Your wonderful support has been amazing.
Sent from my iPhone