A shorter day, high spirits and low points!

After a night with a few drinks and a long chat with the owner of the Red Lion (See here for that recommendation!) we packed up in rain ready for what we were told was a 45 minute blast up to the coast. We agreed to skip the offer of a full fry up in the warm and dry in lieu of arriving at the beach and spending the last morning watching the sea and enjoying a great meal.

Within 2 miles we were absolutely drenched. Until day 4 the weather had been perfect, warm, dry and no direct sunshine. Day 4 decided that we needed to really experience bikepacking. By the end of the first hill I was wetter than an otters pocket and questioning my life choices. Still, 45 minutes to breakfast.

An hour later we were on the main commuter road in rush hour in the spray of trucks and miserable. We’d missed the turn and like true grown men put our heads down and cracked on regardless. A quick map stop put us straight and the weather turned and proved that we should always take the dry option of breakfast in the future.

Sunshine and Lollipops

After what felt like 4 hours of hill climbing we arrived in Portreath. The map tells us it was pretty much downhill but my legs told me different. We managed to grab a seat before the crowds in the local fry up spot and a tasty hot breakfast was delivered. The rain continued to lash down and we sat and dripped whilst we built the courage to ride back up the horrendous hill out of the town.

We followed the track and were immediately presented with a choice. Follow the signs that say ‘cycle path’ or the sign that says ‘no cycling’. A relatively easy choice. Jules didn’t bother reading the sign and chose the right fork. Rix didn’t read the sign and chose the left fork. Martin and I stopped, read the sign, then chose the right fork, gently cursing Jules for being a lucky git and calling Rix back….who insisted on carrying on saying he’d meet us at the top.

This was no small climb so we cracked on, just over 100m climbing in less than a km. The three right fork choosers made the top, bursting and creaking and we sat to wait for Rix. Then we waited a bit more. Around 10 mins later he rounded the corner at the top and said he had a funny noise on the bike.

The immediate concern was a mechanical failure on the last day so we stopped and had a quick look.

Root cause sorted Rix spent the rest of the day with no granny gear….spotting a theme here from Day 3, if Rix can make his riding harder, he’ll definitely take it.

Having broken that last hill it was pretty much a straight shot to the end. A few rolling hills, some looked familar, some looked painful but we made it.

We rounded the day off back where we started only this time with a house full of Martins family, who, I have to say could not have been more welcoming. I’m not convinced Martin is of that stock! They let us shower and scrub and plied us with tea and even listened to our tales of endurance without yawning. Thank you! An evening in the pub and a chance to wash up and clean up for a 5 hour drive home made a huge difference, mainly to the odour in the car. For that I’m thankful.

Closing Thoughts

We did the King Alfreds Way last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was hard work. We decided to spread this one over a longer weekend and shorten the mileages. In theory that would make the ride more enjoyable and give us time to enjoy the scenery. That didn’t happen.

Whilst I love having the tents and being reasonably self sufficient, we assumed a lot based on last years experience and with hindsight we should have thought through things like bike shops, food etc.

I loved the weekend for very different reasons to last time around. Next adventure….no idea, but I’m sure we’ll make all the same mistakes and I’ll love every one of them.