Today is the do-or-die day. Where I find out whether I would make the whole trip or not. It’s understandable, I suppose, that I’d wake up stressed a little early. 3:15, to be precise, with my heart thumping like it used to on the mornings before actuarial exams. After trying unsuccessfully to get a bit more sleep for an hour, I gave up, got up, and got going. My alarm, set to go off at five with the sound of crickets, went off three minutes after I started, with me thinking “why’s my bike making that noise?” before realising what it was. So, on the road at 5, then, heading roughly Northwest initially. Over the pass to Llanwrtyd Wells (where the full ride would have a sleeping spot for the first two nights), and then West towards the coast at Fishguard. Once again, beautiful scenery – through forests, over mountains, down valleys – and there were far more photo opportunities than I had the time to stop for. Such as this one – sunrise over the Usk river.
Or this, by the river Towy (again, you can see how low the water levels are here):
It’s a long slog into Fishguard, with some 10,000 ft of climbing done by that point, and knowing that the others who stayed at Abergavenny were overnighting there played a few tricks with my mind. The next stretch down to St Davids was terrible – it felt horrendously long, and despite the good scenery along the coast, the road was busy, and it was a continuous up and down steep coastal valleys which never gave one the opportunity to gather any momentum. No free miles, as I’ll explain tomorrow. Also, having to work into a headwind for much of this wasn’t pleasant either.
But rounding the corner at St Davids made all the difference – for the first time in the day, I was actually heading vaguely in the direction of where the endpoint was. And having less than 50 miles to go made it feel doable, and I finally had the wind behind me. Sort of.
I did have to do some serious self-motivation to keep moving from this sort of thing, though. Sundowners on the beach. Hmmm:
Thankfully, the last few miles were mercifully flat, and the house was easy to find, and on the route itself. And what a house it was – one of those old Georgian-style mansions, with four storeys, each with it’s own function. Kitchen / entrance rooms, then lounges, then bedrooms, and who knows what on the fourth floor. Yes, I had to climb two flights of stairs to get to bed, but a soak in a Victorian bath, and comfortable mattress, and I was out forty minutes after arriving. Sixteen hours of travelling, with fourteen and a half of actual cycling, and using 14,500 calories – by far the most work I’ve done in a day, ever.
There’s no video today – the limit is 12 hours, not 10 as I thought previously.