Day 5- The Final Leg

400 miles, 72 gel bars, 12 water bottles, 14 tires, 7 cyclists, 5 hotels, 1 support team, 1 trailer and 1 very much unappreciated skip-on-a-bike (see picture below) it took us to get from the city of Chelmsford to the coast of Cornwall. It was hard, there were tears, a few grazes, and a lot of bike grease! But it has been an amazing experience of which I am so glad I did and I am glad to have been a part of it. Go team!

Today we split into two teams. Me, mum and Ellie cycled down a long disused railway line, and then on the bumpy roads of Cornwall to Polzeath via Rock for a well deserved coffee stop. Whilst the boys took the slightly longer route all the way to lands end! Helmets off to them.

I guess in my mind the only way I can describe coming down the final hill into Polzeath, is by comparing it to when Marlin finds Nemo, after battling sharks and jelly fish. Yep. (I did originally make a Lord of the Rings reference…)

We have celebrated tonight with an understated Mexican in the garden, a few beers and Pimms, and a stroll on the beach; a perfect way to end 5 long days of a lot of peddling! Plus with no horrific hill climbs on our agenda tomorrow, I can assure you that I will be up ready for a Papa Smole style breakfast and a day of sun and surf!

I know a lot of you have been reading this every day, Polly Wicks especially! So thanks so much for taking an interest/ checking up to confirm we were actually insane. If anyone is off on a cycling holiday soon, I wish you the best of luck and recommend a lot of bum padding!

The boys at Landsend- not the skip on Matt's bike!
The boys at Landsend- not the skip on Matt’s bike!

 

Iced coffees at rock
Iced coffees at Rock
Route planner Susie
Route planner Susie
Next years travel option?
Next years travel option?

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Susie Q with a well earned beer- pints followed don't worry!
Susie Q with a well earned beer- pints followed don’t worry!

Polzeath

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Day 2- High Wycombe to Frome

Today’s ride was hot and hilly. Getting on the saddle this morning was the most painful, even with padded shorts and specially shaped bike seats, our bottoms were sore!

After easing into the saddle, we ascended on the first hill climb of the day. It was long, hot, steep and full of cars, but it was good practice for the hills to come.

As this is primarily a blog about food, I thought I should tell you about what we eat to keep our energy levels up! Gel bars. Can I get an “mmmmm.”

No. Because they’re pretty gross. You wouldn’t want to eat them for pleasure, unless you like tubes of sweet flavoured goo. Orange is my least favourite as it tastes a little like curry flavoured goo. On the other hand they are perfect for cycling!

On the flip side, our amazing support, 1 man team, Gill, has also made some amazing Gill bars, an upgrade from Gel. They are oaty, seedy, buttery and fruity. Probably the best flapjack I have ever eaten, especially after 30 miles hard cycling. Gill has been our absolute saviour on this trip! She has made us lunch, met us with water, medicine, rescued us when our legs were too tired to peddle any more, the list goes on! The team wouldn’t be able to ride with life her, so a big thanks!

We have just got back from a rather late but huge country pub lunch, not a chip was left lonely! Next stop, bed.

Tried to post pics but I don’t have enough Internet!

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THE Bike Ride

In nearly 3 weeks today, the long awaited bike ride to Cornwall begins. I will be riding from Chelmsford to Land’s end over 5 days (and a over lot of hills), with my family and friends.

Today I took my noble steed for a spin for the first time, and clipped into the peddles.

Yes. I did fall off. I forgot to unclip, however I won’t be doing that again!

Over next few weeks I will be trying out different foods for fuel on here, and asking for all the help I can get! Cycling tips, good fuel recipes, must-have products, and crossed limbs of luck- send it all my way!

My Steed - Thank you Papa Smole
My Steed – Thank you Papa Smole

(Note the potting table behind him and remember it for a DIY blog post to follow on making your gifts extra special)

Confessions of a cycling hypocrite

If you had met me just 2 years ago, you would have known that I was pretty sure I was adopted. Kinda.

My whole family were heavily into cycling, we would go on holidays with the intention of spending our days on a bike in the forest, and my dad spends more time and money on his bikes than he does on the car, which barely gets a hoover or a hose down once a year. He has done a 4 day cycle from John O Groats to Lands End, and he, my mum and my brother have cycled from London to Paris.

If you had met me 2 years a go, the chances of me accompanying them on these ventures was nil. “I’ll sit in the van with snacks and water for you” I would say. “Cycling is not my thing, why would you cycle with no purpose, but to just… cycle?”

At least that is what I thought. Until I, the self confessed King Stinge, decided paying for the bus to uni was not on, and got on a bike. Little did I know I had just opened a whole new can of worms.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I hated cycling. One time we went mountain biking at Thetford Forest and I cried tears of misery and pain around the whole of the Blue run. I barely even cheered up when I ate lunch in the cafe, which if I am honest was the only reason I agreed to cycle with them in the first place. I would moan of having a bottom so bruised it had turned black, and complain that if I kept cycling I would end up with legs like Chris Hoy, never find a husband because of them, and die alone in my old house while my 10 cats nibbled at my huge muscly legs.

K.O’ed after a leg munching sesh?

This year however, I have agreed to not just cycle on holiday, but cycle to our holiday. We are cycling to Lands End in Cornwall. For fun. Then we will travel to Polzeath (where I used to spend all my summers and love way too much) and stay there for a week. U turn is not even the phrase! My endless rants about cycling for no reason and refusing to get on a saddle have been completely undermined and I am a hypocrite. Meanwhile Papa Smole can sit there smugly as I confess I have been Smolenized and now enjoy cycling. Gah.

Madness

So why the sudden change of heart? Not sure. I guess in the last 2 years being at University has opened my mind to new things, made me meet new people and made me grow up a bit. Cycling has even become a way of getting out the house for some fresh air, not just a mode of transport for University.

Last year my bike, which was too expensive, got stolen from University despite it being tied up. I don’t think I’ve been that angry before, and I even refused to go into uni for a few days because I could not do so on my beloved bike! I really was gutted. The sun shone the next day, but I couldn’t go out on a little bike ride to enjoy it! So I bought a ¬£30 second hand, battered bike off the back of the van. I called it the Fire Bolt. (Yes that is a Harry Potter reference)

The brakes didn’t work, and every time I changed gear my chain fell off. What is worse is it tended to fall off in the most dangerous places. Once in the middle of a busy roundabout and once in the middle of a very busy light controlled T junction. Each time I was left spinning my legs round extremely fast like an idiot, but going absolutely nowhere. Meanwhile cars would zoom past me, beep at me and generally make me feel like I was about to die. Several times I went flying through red lights (I don’t recommend it) because my breaks didn’t work.

Bike hospital. A desperate attempt to salvage The Bolt

Despite this, I still loved cycling. And the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it.

Over summer I started doing exactly what I hated before, going on long bike rides, in a loop from A to A, just for fun. Me and my mum would cycle about 20 miles, just because. I even went and watched the mountain biking at the Olympics, and loved it. What happend to me!?

Now, in one last final blow to any integrity I may still have regarding sticking to my beliefs about cycling, I am going to tell you to get on a bike to. Because it’s fun. And because it’s cheaper than getting a bus, and greener, and because you might discover you really enjoy it!

Me and Susie Q post ride clad in lycra