A weekend in Cornwall

15 06 2010

Last weekend Rach had to fulfill her role as Chair of Peacebuilding UK, by attending a meeting of trustees in Cornwall and frankly it would have been rude of me not to go along. We left on Thursday evening and got off to a good start by having take-away pizza en route. I’ve not made the journey to Cornwall for a couple of years but have fond memories from the time when my parents lived there.

Friday was spent relaxing on the beach, it was a glorious day and memories of lazy summer days spend swimming in the sea or open pool at Summerleaze, Bude came rushing back. I’d forgotten my swimming gear so had to make do with the comforting thought that I’d be on the Spanish coast within a few days.

Rachel’s meeting took place on Saturday so I had to entertain myself, what to do? Well go for a ride. I picked a simple out and back route as I did not want to spend time reading maps or route instructions, and being in Cornwall I knew it would be hilly. So it was to be a hilly tempo ride designed to rip my legs, I would ride fixed.

The route went from Bude on the north coast to Looe on the south coast and back, it was roughly 80 miles. As I said earlier, I’ve not ridden much in Cornwall, but what little I have done usually involves a lot of very steep hills. Perfect, I would treat this ride as an out and back 80 mile blast and just hammer all the hills I find on the way.

Bude to Looe profile

As you can see, there were quite a few hills! I set off into nice weather, with great views over Cornwall, quiet roads and a gentle tailwind, then at about the 12 mile mark I went down and then back up the first real hill. That was the first of some 14 climbs of over 13% that I counted on the way to Looe and back, one reached 16% and remember I was riding fixed which means I have to pedal down as well as up.

I made it Looe, had a decent coffee, filled my water bottle up and headed back to Bude. By the time I made it to Launceston on the way back, all the hills and my strategy of hitting it hard was beginning to really hurt. The final 10 miles was into a headwind and on the last little steep climb about 4 miles from home a spoke broke in the real wheel. Not another one! That’s two in one month. Looks like I will have to have the wheel rebuilt with new spokes and nipples before I tackle the 1000km ride at the end of July. Oh yes, I’ve not mentioned that before on here, that’s why I’m doing all this riding, and why I’m loving hills. It’s in preparation for the Mille Cymru, a 1000km road ride around Wales with 13,890 meters of climbing, and all on a single speed.  But more on that when I get back from a trip to Spain.

When I arrived back in Bude, Rach was still in the meeting so I chilled in the garden with a pint of water, a malt loaf and finished reading an article ‘The worlds toughest bike race is not in France’.




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