As my family are all away on holiday I awoke early to an empty house and started filming various clips of me getting ready. This extra task, that I felt I had to do, came from talking with my friend Charlie a few days ago; he suggested I make a short video of my departure and I instantly realised I had no choice, I’d always regret not trying it now that the idea had been planted in my head. I’d advise you not to take it too seriously and, please, feel free to laugh:
Almost everything was ready when I woke; all I had to do was film myself getting out of the house and pick up my toothbrush, I managed half of those things; I’ve since been to boots… my cat didn’t understand it was my last day at home for a while so he was typically rude and pushy in trying to coerce me over to his bowl for feeding. I don’t think cats are capable of emotions and I don’t think he will miss me, but I will miss him and his manipulative ways. My granddad came down (he lives close by) to see me off and a few photos later I was on the road with 100 miles between me and my destination in Reading.
The bike felt really heavy at first and I felt unsteady as I rode up the hill and out of the village, I couldn’t believe the packing stage was over and I had a terrible feeling that I might have forgotten something. As I cycled away from my base of operations, under my own power, I frantically started doing mental check-lists of my most essential equipment, after about 20 minuets of that I had convinced myself that all the important stuff was accounted for and so swiftly moved on to euphoria and happiness about cycling. After the euphoric stage came the doubt; doubt about whether I would enjoy such a long ride and that amount of time ‘on the road’ travelling then, finally, I slipped into a peaceful indifference and contentment that was to last for the next 80 miles.
80 miles in, and with a heavy bike I had run out of calories in my body (or so it seemed), I was exhausted crawling up a hill, on one of the least pleasant roads I had encountered on an otherwise fantastic day of cycling. I hadn’t experienced fatigue to that degree before yesterday; my concentration was slipping and I realised I needed some food, preferably some sweet food, before my cycling became dangerous. Fortunately I remembered my sister had bought me a big bar or dark chocolate and so finding a field and some short grass I ate most of the chocolate bar and quickly fell asleep in the warmth of the sun. The last ten miles were not exactly fun but they were helped by the chocolate and some rest.
Other days on tour are not likely to be as long as this one, I’m not a masochist, I prefer to take a moderate pace and enjoy the places I visit but I do enjoy a physical challenge such as this, albeit infrequently.
I’ve got two days of rest in Reading with my dad and his family before I’m met by Joe and we head to Dover for the ferry to Calais. In the words of Voltaire – “If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.”