Day One: Lands End to St. Agnes

or, The One Where Tony Realised He Wasn’t in Kansas Any More…

‘Oh dear God, not another hill…which b*st*rd decided to route the roads like this…how on Earth am I going to get through the whole journey?!’. Yep, you’ve guessed it…that’s me. Funny thing is it was on the short trip to get to the start in Lands End! More on this later…

There was a good start to the adventure as I somehow managed to miss the turn to Paddington and ended up meandering the streets of London trying to find the station – oh well, what’s another mile and a half in the grand scheme of things…?!

Got to the station and boarded the Riviera Express. Have to say it’s all very Poirot or James Bond with the narrow corridors and small cabins – I half expected to be awoken by a Soviet temptress informing me that ‘the snow lies deep in Moscow’…

…that didn’t happen though. I settled into my berth, watched a bit of on-board telly and drifted off as the train pulled out and headed westwards.

To say it was a good night’s sleep would be a lie, but I’m not sure it would have been much better had I done the preparation with a day train down and a night in Penzance or Lands End.

I was up by six o’clock, and watched a bit more telly before the knock on my door let me know my breakfast had arrived; bacon roll and a pot of tea, lovely!

We rolled into Penzance bang on time and the seaside town looked lovely bathed in the late-May sunshine. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the journey as I readied my bike, clipped myself in and set off…

I’d decided to head down to Lands End via the scenic back roads rather than the more direct A30. It was a lovely start, following the shore for a good spell, but I was questioning the decision as I hit the first hill of the trip just ten minutes later…

…hmm, that hill training that people talked about was obviously for a reason! I struggled my way up this ‘beast’ of a hill, and continued my way up and down numerous hills (the downhills quite exhilerating, the uphills less so!) before joining the A30 for the run-in to Lands End.

I have to say that the last mile into Lands End is wonderful, a lovely downhill roll and I couldn’t help but think how nice a finish it would be on a day like this, in the sunshine and with Penzance and the train home just twelve miles away. Oh well!

I sat for a bit as people packed up some flags from the finish line (found out later it was a John O’Groats to Lands End run, sixty miles a day for two months…!), reset my cycle computer and then pootled over to the start line. I asked one of the official runners’ photographers to photograph me on the start line, had a bit of banter and then that was it…the journey had begun!

I travelled back towards Penzance on the A30 and the difference in the journey was amazing…rolling hills, warm sunshine, a lovely view over the sea and a far better road surface made it a far more pleasurable journey.

It was about five miles to go ’til Penzance I realised I didn’t have my RoadID on…must have left it on the train! As I was due to go past Penzance anyway, I made the decision to detour back in and see if I could retrieve it…

…the staff at Penzance station were excellent. A phone call from the information desk saw me introduced to Kane, who directed me to the depot and met me there to see if he could find it on the train that was sat there. Well, he managed to find it and I got it back…thanks Kane, and good luck with your mammoth car journey later on!

It was here at the depot that I got chatting to someone and explained that I’d taken the, er, scenic route down to Lands End. His comments of ‘Really? Is that not a bit hilly?!’ made me realise that perhaps it wasn’t the best option for my first leg if even the locals consider it hilly!

Fully equipped once again it was onto Lizard, and I made good time on the trip down south. Another random individual was persuaded to take a photo and I decided to have lunch in England’s most southern cafe overlooking the seemingly endless sea.

After the break the trip back up towards St. Agnes was hard work. A headwind has developed and the road signs were seemingly only there to taunt me – Redruth was a waypoint and seeing ‘Redruth 8’, ‘Redruth 8’, ‘Redruth 7’ and then ‘Redruth 8′ wasn’t that appreciated!

After making it to Redruth I looked on the Garmin to see what my distance left to cover and my ETA into St. Agnes. It was a bit of a concern to see that it thought I had fifteen miles less than I made it and an ETA that would mean I had to cycle in at 20mph for the rest of the day…which wasn’t going to happen.

It took me a while longer whilst cycling to remember that I’d reset my Cateye cycle computer back at Lands End, the GPS was right and it was a pleasant sight as the Penkerris Guest House rolled into view!

After settling in and showering I had a wander into St. Agnes’ ‘town centre’ and a stroll down to the beach. It’s a lovely little village and the fish and chips I had for tea were as good as seaside fish and chips should be!

Back to Penkerris and a bit of telly and an early night awaited. Day one, done…

Stats for the day

Distance for the day: 66 miles
Time in saddle for the day: 5hrs 18mins
Average speed for the day: 12.5mph
Maximum speed for the day: 37.8mph

Route for the day…

Day One: Route

Route profile for the day…

Day One: Route Profile

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One Response to “Day One: Lands End to St. Agnes”

  1. Mags Says:

    The Cornish headland is lovely but, yeah, a tad hilly. It’s where I’ve been cliff-walking a few times…

    And one of the finest things in the world is chips by the seaside – they always taste sharper and saltier than when you’re inland.

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