Days 1 and 2

Bonjour mes  amis

Days 1 and 2 are done and I’m 140 miles closer to Santander than when I stepped off the ferry with abot 80 other cyclists yesterday. I’ve no idea where they went  but they were following me for a while. Big mistake!

Strangely, the further south I go, the warmer it gets. The thermals, leg and arm warmers gradually came off as the day went on. I had a very interesting zebra stripe sun tan on the top of my head last night, so I’ve even got the ambre solaire out today.

Yesterday was a big day that started unnaturally early when the ferry docked at 07:00 and ended 80 miles later in Guemene sur scorf. Today was 60 miles but much hillier and I’m in a wonderful municipal campsite beside the Brest-Nantes canal in Malestroit.

The gear is holding up well with only one puncture so far. I bought a new inner tube in a supermarket by the fruit counter. Warm in my little tent and managing to find veggie food to sustain me.

Off to Nort sur Edre tomorrow

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I’m gone

Left bang on time and am drinking beer on the ferry. Bloody cold on the road!

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5…4…3…2…1….

Go!

I’m off. The weather is foul, it has been raining on and off all day and the wind is blowing in my face. But looking on the bright side, it can only get better.

Photos are going to be a bit of a hotch-potch affair as my camera has been kidnapped by LUTON CAMERA REPAIRS!! If anyone can think of a brilliant way of getting it to me in France from them in Luton then I’m all ears.

Thanks to all the lovely people who turned out to wish me bon voyage last night. Your kind words will make the wheels turn easier and the miles seem shorter. Very slight headache this morning.

Right, no time to lose……. I’m off!

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Just in case you lose me….

My route is not completely fixed but, just in case you have a bit of an interest in where I am at any given point, here is a link to the map that is in my SatNav. I’ve tweaked it a bit in Northern Spain, and there is one section to the southwest of Bordeaux where I am definitely not going along the motorway.

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The Final Countdown

In one week I’m off! Just spent the last couple of days having a bit of a panic as the fortnight I thought I had left to get ready suddenly became one week. Much hasty running around making vital last minute purchases of Ambre Solaire, toothpaste and deodorant.

The only thing still missing is my camera. On my trip to Cornwall I hit a big potholoe (all Welly Wheelers will know the one at the end of Pothole Lane) and my barbag bounced off and scattered the contents across the road. Unfortunately, my camera was in there and suffered serious injuries. I found a very helpful company in Luton to repair it and am banking on them getting it back to me this week.

The Prostate Cancer Charity has been great. They even sent me a cycling Jersey that will be worn the whole way if possible – I’ll put up a photo when the camera arrives.

So, what’s left to do? God knows. I’m walking around with a To Do list in my hand that is getting longer, not shorter.  The last thing I’ve had time to do is go cycling, but I’m going to make up for that at the weekend. Happy days.

Don’t forget the launch party on Wednesday. I’ll be running from the Time Trial to the bar, so mine is a Carlsberg from the shelf – the warmer the better (eew!)

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Party!!

OK people, this is an advance notice of a sending off party on Wednesday 25th May. Nothing like setting off with a hangover. We are gathering at Rule 7 from 8.00p.m. as a bit of a launch party – if you’ve invested sponsorship in this event, you might like to be sure I’m actually leaving. The bar is in Fore Street, Wellington, and I hope you will be able to come along to wish ‘Bon Voyage’ – lycra is optional.

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It all works!

There’s one more stage completed. On the last Bank Holiday (I’ve lost track of which one is which) I set off with pretty much all the gear I’m going to take to Santander, including a giant sleeping bag. It all loaded into and on the trailer which was hitched on to the back of the bike and looked very compact and reasonably tidy.

The trip went really well – the trailer towed like it wasn’t there most of the time, although I did notice it on the hills. As ever, met some really pleasant people on the way because I always get lost and rely on the kindness of strangers to put me right. At one point I got on the Granite Trail in Okehampton and got waylaid by a small group selling tea. They were the scouting party for a major shindig in the church hall a little distance away, where I was served tea and buns by lots of yummy mummies!

Got down to Truro in blazing sunshine and spent a bit of time with my mother before catching the train back to Taunton. That was part of the trial as well, because I was unsure if I could get all the gear on the train in time before they waved it off, but it was easy!

In Taunton I met friends for dinner and then cycled home with a few glasses of wine inside me – an interesting experience, and probably illegal as well. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Here’s a picture of the first night of many, camping in a field at Tregadillet.

The First Camp at Tregadillet

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