Day 10 – Plymouth to Polruan – Emotions changing as quickly and as much as my front chainrings!

Monday 5th March

I woke up early and spoke on Radio Plymouth. James made me breakfast and helped me pack my bags in the new heavy duty dry bags I had bought the day before, as my pannier bags aren’t waterproof and I had been worried about the lightweight dry bags being in standing water all day!

I charged my Di2 (electric gears) in Rockets and Rascals bike shop and cafe and then was on my way a little later than usual. I crossed the Torpoint Ferry and then proceeded to cycle up the hill the other side, this was to be the first of many!

Trike with a view 🙂

My pannier bags have been heavier today, not only have I added the new bags inside but I picked up some extra food from James. With my dietary requirements it has been difficult to find the very small selection of quick cook foods that I can eat on the move, and quite often I am so focused on my end destination that I forget to buy any. I am climbing comfortably, even the 20 percent gradient that I was on for quite a while, but things are very slow going! The descents (where I would normally increase my average speed) are just as slow, avoiding potholes and water over the road!

Hills….lots of hills

The roads were quiet which was lucky as I was having to avoid the water running to the side and over them. I was in very good spirits so when I came to the first flooded road and pulled my bike up onto the higher footpath and still got stuck in mud and a wet bottom I laughed it off, took a photo and sent it to everyone. It had been raining since I started but I was still warm and dry. This part of the coastline is beautiful, the hedgerows lining the road are typical of Cornwall and every time I came to a gap that enabled me to look out to see the view I was in awe of the beauty of the wide expanse of sea. I was as happy as can be, cycling up and down the gradients!

Aqua-trike!

Spot the surfers! 

Waterproofs however technical can only keep you dry for so long, as well as being battered by the rain, I was constantly being covered in the water from the road and splashed by passing cars. I was struggling to see through my glasses and couldn’t see the Garmin screen – I ended up missing a turning, but saw a cut through so took that instead. I was faced with what I assume was a 30 percent descent on a gravel road, with mud, grit and water running down it! I immediately wanted to turn around, but a car from one of the only houses on the road had pulled in behind me. I stopped in the middle of the road and told the lady that it was dangerous for me to try and descend this road but she wouldn’t reverse back to a place where we could pass. I am normally very confident descending but with my bike heavily laden, my disc breaks dirty and my back wheel slipping on the gravel/mud it was terrifying, I’ve never descended anything so steep. I had tears streaming down my face and stopped the minute I could pull over (opposite the ladies house) and had a good cry! She told me she needed to get into the dry and that I should come over to her if I needed help, and told me that the hill out the other side wasn’t as steep! This was true and it was easy to climb, I was still crying and upset, my body can’t break down the histamine released in these circumstances and I stopped thinking logically, I lost all sense of direction and was struggling to follow my Garmin route. I wanted to find somewhere warm and dry and give up 🙁

Wet and wild coastline

After having cycled in circles for a while, I finally came across someone friendly who pointed me in the right direction and invited me in for a cup of tea. I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t start again so I kept going – I was much happier when I knew I was on track. I had 6 hilly miles to go but I was going to do it. My mind then focused on turning up at the BnB, how would the kind lady my mum booked with on the phone react to the fact that I was covered in mud head to toe, along with my bike bags and all my belongings?!

I needn’t have worried! I arrived and Bellas’ daughter immediately put her shoes on to come and help me, not faded by the amount of mud I was hidden under. I was emotional again at how kind they were! I stripped all my waterproof layers off at their front door and immediately had a bath, and then washed everything I was wearing! My room at Hormond House BnB is just perfect and I have even found a hot water bottle to use at bedtime!

Bella gave me a big hug on my way out to dinner. I walked down to the passenger ferry point and the view is beautiful even in the dark. I am sceptical about getting my bike on the small boat but I am sure we will manage!

Such a pretty place to stay at 🙂

I am visiting a primary school tomorrow in Charlestown before staying in the Idle Rocks Hotel at St Mawes, so will try and get on the move early.

No rain forecast tomorrow! Let’s hope for a lots of sunshine and a less emotional day!

4 Replies to “Day 10 – Plymouth to Polruan – Emotions changing as quickly and as much as my front chainrings!”

  1. Well done Natalie, if today has shown anything, it has shown what a true and fiercely determined person you are. I have to say I did feel a little emotional for you. it can`t be easy feeling as you did that you wanted to give up, stick with it lovely girl, you`ve had a few low points in the early stages of your ride but there`s only one way to go from low points, and that is up! It can`t be easy trying to juggle everything and do what you`re doing with so much to think about apart from trying to pedal around the coast, you are bloody amazing. really looking forward to meeting you on the 17th. Very best wishes. Steve

  2. Oh Natalie! What an emotional day! It can only get better, surely – onwards and up those Cornish hills! Xx

  3. I was thinking about you today as I rode around in relatively warm and dry weather. I hope today was better than yesterday.

  4. Oh dear no blog for 2 days. I hope that you’re OK. The last few days have been tough.

    When things look bleak I think of Shackleton (Sir Ernest).

    Best wishes

    David

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