Monday 12th March
My 9th day cycling in a row without a break!
Today was the first morning that I woke up and didn’t want to cycle. I was tired, my legs sore and stiff and the rain pelting down outside didn’t help. I spent a while contemplating what to do, I managed to kick myself into action and go through my usual routine of getting ready for the day and packing everything up. I left by 7:30am and went to meet Neil, a local Sustrans volunteer, who was going to cycle with me for a bit.
Neil and I decided that the steepest coastal ascents were not possible in the rain so took a route of country lanes instead. Still a few hills but more gentle, the mud made up for them! I was covered. Neil likes the rain as in his words ‘it’s what makes England green’, very true, I just wish we didn’t have quite so much at the moment! Bring back those dry weeks we had in January!
The rain turned into mizzle a Cornish term for mist + drizzle, that still soaks you! As we passed back into Devon it dawned on me that I have cycled the whole of the Cornish coast, when you look at a map, Brighton where I started now looks very far away. I think the next achievement point will be when I enter into Wales having cycled the whole of the South West Coast, but I have a bit more work yet.
I said goodbye to Neil after he’d given me directions for the rest of the way. Neil told me that I had one more big hill and then downhill for 8 miles and mostly flat for the 13 that I would be on the Tarka Trail. This was welcome news as my legs were hurting with every pedal stroke, it’s only muscle pain and not my joints so I have been stretching as much as possible but I am longing even more for my rest day.
I found my way into the Tarka trail, a network of trails around Devon named after a famous book Tarka the Otter, the section I cycled from Bideford to Braunton had a tarmac track. It was a little bumpy at times and even in the mizzle it was being well used so I had to take it steady, but it was nice not having to think about cars. Every so often you would see a building that was obviously and old train station ticket office, where the old railways lines have been turned into the trail.
I had a rest at a cafe and a bacon sandwich and chocolate brownie, I am now eating a lot (and I mean a lot) without any guilt! Luckily my stomach is also managing to digest and cope, so let’s hope that continues. I continued on to my destination, stopping in a couple of surf shops to find some neoprene gloves. My waterproof cycling gloves are completely useless! They soak up so much water it is like carrying weights on my wrists!
I am spending my night with Sally a Warm Showers host who is a keen cyclist and has toured by herself, so I am sure I will get well looked after and hear many stories. Tomorrow I have another tough day with a couple of big climbs. There are two top 100 climbs on my route and I am keen to do them to tick them off, I doubt anyone has ever attempted them on a fully loaded recumbent trike. I will see how my legs are feeling tomorrow!