Long distance Training completed despite crash!
With a month to go James and I completed our long distance training last weekend with an eventful ride from Barnstaple to Padstow and back. This was a challenging 88 miles (141 Km) each way across the hills of Devon and Cornwall.
Having set off in the rain on Saturday morning on the Tarka trail, we stopped at the Puffing Billy cafe for a quick bacon butty before heading on to Holsworthy and across the no-mans-land border country into Cornwall. We then headed across Bodmin moor as the sun came out but the wind rose to a level where we had to lean into wind to stay upright!
However, we rapidly dropped off the moor (noting the ride we were going to have to do back up on Sunday!) to the Camel Trail. After a coffee and surprisingly excellent, gluten free brownie (I know, what's going on? Next I'll be reading the Guardian and buying avocados!), we carried on the trail to Wadebridge and Padstow. This was expected to be a gentle descent but was more off road than we had expected and more effort than we had planned for... But I guess that's what adventures are all about, even the small ones!
At Pastow the wind was even stronger getting funnelled into the estuary so we were actually glad to get off the flat and over the headland for the final 5 miles to Treyarnon Bay youth Hostel which has a cafe and bar, so no further travel was required!
After a shower, pizza and relaxing night, we got up to a full breakfast and 08:30 start home. Despite retracing our steps, it was a completely different ride back. The weather was good and doing a journey in reverse always provides a new experience.
We stopped to enjoy the brownies again at Snail's Pace cafe and slogged our way back up onto the moor, making steady progress, aiming to take a break at Holsworthy. It was just on the Cornwall / Devon border that disaster struck!
We came down a hill and round a sharp bend. I was ahead at that point and saw a young driver heading towards the bend, thought 'I hope James takes the corner wide' and heard a bang. Turning back and fearing the worst, I was surprised to find James standing there, rolling his shoulders saying 'that's going to hurt tomorrow'! The Fiesta was bashed with a smashed windscreen. It's new driver was a bit shaken and cut slightly from the glass. James's bike was snapped in two!
The ride was over for James. He phoned home to reassuringly request assistance while the driver sorted himself out. After a few minutes it was apparent that James was fine and there nothing I could do to help sort things out. So I carried on alone for the final 38 miles to James's house. By the time I got there he was enjoying a roast dinner and had a plan to adapt another of his bikes for Africa.
So, we're still on course for Lake Victoria. We've proved we can do the distance and learnt a lot about touring, safety and riding as a team. Can't wait to go!