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Wednesday 5th June

  • From: St Austell
  • To: Okehampton
  • LEJOG miles cycled: 58.54 (62 planned)
  • Miles cycled: 124.26
  • Map of the Journey

The next night we stayed in Okehampton,
It’s not like where we live, near Brampton.
The roads were so hilly, We began to feel silly –
We thought we might end up in Rampton*

 *Mental health facility for the non-violent: we’re crazy but still getting on with each other so far!

Today was a hard hard day which came back to bite us after yesterday’s rather good ride. Att 11:30 after 2.5 hours of riding we stopped for a cup of tea and were very disappointed to discover we had been lost at least twice and only covered 16 miles of very hilly up and down riding. I am glad we live in Northumberland where all the rides are hilly and not say Norfolk where the shock today would be even greater. We re-planned the route slightly over tea as we had visions of never reaching the B&B at the end of the day, and then set off again to find ourselves taking the wrong route entirely about an hour later. More re-planning. We were lost (or rather on the wrong road and then had to determine where we were on the map) about 4 times today in all. 

We also had our first OFI hill today (we had 2 in total). An OFI hill is where you glance up from the bike and can only see Tarmac at eye level ahead. You say ‘Oh F£!& it’ to yourself and try to keep going but eventually have to get off and walk. Disappointing but necessary – this was a seriously steep hill, which in this first case was a result of an ad hoc change of route to provide us with a ‘short cut’ – very misguided! Did I mention this was a hard day. 

The weather was again glorious and I found myself sunburned, despite Factor 25, on the South facing outer left leg – very asymmetric. 

The hedgerows continue to blaze with colour and we identified Daisy, Foxglove, Pink Campion, Bluebells, Wild Parsley and others.

Did I mention it was hard today? I don’t think the bike brakes will last and the bike has seen nothing but bottom gear – golly it is hard, can we give up? 

Not far out of St Austell we saw the wonderful Beerbulance. If you have not drank enough this caters for your needs. Or is it if you have drank enough it takes care of you? I can’t remember now but I am in much need of refreshment. 

Further along we skirt the fantastic Eden Project – I wish we had time to visit, it’s been a few years since I was last there and worth a full day out. 

Many hours, what seemed like days later, we actually crossed the Tamer at Horsebridge – the boundary between Cornwall and Devon. We might have been thinking that Devon was less hilly than Cornwall but the climb out of the valley might have destroyed us had we done less training. Did I say it was hard, by gum it was hard.

Much welcome tea stop and another re-planning of the route to avoid Tavistock followed, before we then approached Brentor Church on the West edge of Dartmoor, almost but not quite the last climb of the day. 

We were by now exhausted and the last miles, albeit many downhill, were difficult. I was very glad indeed to reach the B&B tonight. 

The Pub tonight was the White horse hotel – rather dark with no views but good food. Most notably the waiter had a faux foreign accent which turned distinctly West Country the minute he went through the kitchen door, next to which we sat.

Here is hoping tomorrow is kinder to us – at least it is slightly shorter. Have I said what a hard day …….

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