Last week saw Amy and Ali join us in Cornwall for a weeks holiday. As I hadn't attempted too many rides in the run up to their visit, my knees were feeling a tad stronger. The first ride with them was an easy 12 mile pootle over to Penzance to meet Mikey at work whilst taking in a few geocaches. My knees felt a little shakey but there was nothing too strenuous and no bad after effects.
However, I was glad that the next day didn't involve any riding. Instead it involved lots of walking -
something I've pretty much forgotten how to do since rediscovering my bike. Most of the walk was easy enough and fun, but as it was all off-raod (along rocky coastal paths) the uphills put a lot of strain (and pain) on my already busted knees. Even still, 10 miles walked and 21 geocaches found!
The next day myself and Ali took the sensible option of driving, whilst Mikey and Amy took a crazy long ride over, to Lizard point. I would have liked to ride, but there was no way I was going to attempt the 50 mile round trip after walking so far the previous day.
After having 2 days off the bike, I was ready to hop back on. The planned ride was to go to St Buryan via the pretty seaside village of Mousehole. The ride to Mousehole is an easy one; following the flat coastline, but I knew the ride from there to St Buryan would be a hard one, with a monstrous climb out. As I expected this to be the only climb I was happy to give it a go. Whats the worst that could happen?
I was a little miffed halfway to Mousehole though, when we found ourselves on an uphill detour through Gulval, to find another geocache. At that point I was ready to turn back. The cold wind had left my lungs half the size, so my legs were already out of oxygen after the climb and I was concerned that now, after this extra climb, I really wouldn't make it up to St Buryan.
After a tea-stop in Mousehole, we were ready to tackle the BIG hill. Somehow I found myself leading - not sure why as I had no idea where I was going as I have avoided this hill for a long time now. Anyway, I was now up front. Unsure of just how long the climb was and feeling the pressure of having riders behind me (I didn't want to hold them up) I started the climb at my usual pace. The hill was steep at this point and looked like it didn't carry on for too long. My pace slowed at what I thought was the top (and as I reached a giveway sign). I looked behind me... the gang were all there but looking a little bemused. Apparently they had struggled to keep up with me. Which isn't something I expected to hear.
Unfortunately it was at this point that I realised that we probably weren't even a third of the way up. The gradient had eased considerably now but there was still a hell of a slow gradual climb. Eek! I'd given my all to try and get myself up to that point, thinking it was the top. Ouch! The next stretch was painful. Somehow we made it up to the top after having to make a quick stop for a photo opportunity in front of a boat called Katie.
Lots of descending followed with a few more minor climbs before another HUGE hill appeared in front of us. Hang on.... I'd been told there was only one hill from Mousehole to St Buryan. Someone had conveniently forgotten about this one that took us to Lamorna. I broke halfway up. I told the others I'd meet them at the top. It was far to steep to stop! I didn't want to stop but my legs wouldn't spin anymore. The burning was intense. After a quick breather I tried to set off again. Ooops, because of the steep gradient. I just couldn't get any momentum. Amazingly after a few failed attempts, I managed to get myself started again and met everyone at the top. By 'eck that was tough!
Hungry and tired we made it to our destination and after a quick raid on the local shop we sat out in the autumn sunshine for a late lunch.
St Buryan must be a VeloCake hotspot. As the four of us sat in the village green donned in our VC team kits, we saw fellow VeloCaker, Nick. Then minutes later Pete the Mundane flew by.
Fully fuelled, the ride home was considerably easier, the undulating roads swept us easily back towards Penzance. Everything was perfect until reaching Newlyn when my knee popped. Ouch! The rest of the ride became a struggle, but with only one climb back into our village, I knew I could make it.
Back home with over 26miles on the clock and a fastest speed of 41mph. 800 metres of climbing. Happy. Sore!