Archive for January, 2013

Map - Worcester - ShrewsburyDay 6 was relatively short, distance-wise. Though what it lacked in kilometers, it certainly made up for in terms of hills and winds. There were a few big climbs though the worst part of the ride was the headwinds which slowed us down to around 6 or 7kph along flats and we even needed to pedal on some of the downhills.

The night we had spent in Shrewsbury was extremely pleasant. We stayed with Caryl and Lyndon, who live in a lovely house just outside the boundaries of Worcester city and, as with our other hosts we had met with couchsurfer and warmshowers, they had prepared a delicious meal for us. The hospitality and friendliness of the couple, as with the other people we have stayed with over the last few days, was wonderful. We hope that we will be as good a hosts when we have guests from couchsurfing, and it is great meeting and chatting with people who live in the areas we are passing through. When we stayed in a hotel in Taunton, it certainly lacked that social element to it.

Stats - Worcester - ShrewsburyFrom their place we cycled along another dual carriage way up to Kidderminster and then up the A442 and A458 north-west to Shrewsbury. The town is slightly away to the west from our main direction, but it will be no problem getting back to the right track when we head to Manchester later this morning. The road, which was picturesque and went through a number of very pretty small towns, eventually turned into a standard single lane road after Kidderminster and climbed over a couple of pretty steep hills; the second one of which had a nice 12% descent on the other side. The problem wasn’t really with the hills, however: it was with the wind. There was a reasonably strong wind all day, but after Kidderminster it just seemed to be a constant head or cross wind that slowed us down massively and caused a few alarming moments as my front wheel was pushed towards the centre of the road quite frequently – a bit nasty as there was a lot of traffic.

With speeds reduced on a few occasions to around 8km per hour on the flats because of the head wind our average speed was very low. At the beginning of the day I had a bit of knee problem which didn’t help and as the day progressed, Paulo’s knees were hurting a bit which caused him to slow down a fair bit as well. So ultimately, a relatively short day took quite a bit longer than we hoped and we  arrived with Jon and Angie in Shrewsbury just after dark at about 6pm.  It was great to meet them.

Sorry for no pics again – too tired to download much from all the equipment, but more with the next post..!

Charts - Worcester - Shrewsbury

Hora de ir - rumo a Taunton

Já que a ideia era ficar em um B&B dessa vez então resolvemos economizar os quilômetros, a princípio o Ben tinha planejado um pedal de 80 e deixar o próximo dia bem curto mesmo, mas como não teremos mais um dia de descanso achamos melhor ter dois dias relaxados. A parada escolhida para depois de Exeter foi Taunton, um pedal de 53km. A rota até lá foi pelas estradas pequenas e recheadas de lindas paisagens Passamos por vários campos verdes, fazendas com criação de ovelhas, vacas e cavalos. O tempo não estava ruim, choveu um pouco mas a maior parte do tempo o céu estava azul então deu para parar bastante para tirar fotos, tomar cafés e aproveitar bem mesmo. Mesmo indo num ritmo de passeio chegamos em Taunton antes das 15h. Lá comemos em um pub, acho que até comemos demais, voltamos para o quarto e assistimos uma séria da BBC com locução que fez o Ben dormir – detalhe a voz era de David Attenborough uma lenda viva britânica

Eu ainda dei uma organizada nas coisas e mais tarde os meninos ficaram com fome e o jeito foi comer um fast food.

Antes das 20h estávamos dormindo e relaxando para o pedal do dia seguinte.

Acordamos às 6h30 e arrumamos as coisas, às 7h30 era servido o café da manhã e não queríamos demorar muito. Às 08h15 estávamos pedalando sentido Timsbury, apenas 65km. Fomos no mesmo ritmo do dia anterior, a diferença de km era pequena e essa rota também prometia ter poucas subidas e teve. Na verdade só uma subida de mais ou menos 4 km e com 11% de gradiente. Nada fácil mas fizemos super bem. Para mim as descidas sempre são mais problemáticas e aqui a rua era sinuosa, bem estreita e de mão dupla por isso redobrei o cuidado. Depois daqui algumas subidas leves até a casa do Jon e da Allyson em Timsbury nossos anfitriões do couchsurfing. Eles nos receberão super bem e de janta comemos cuscuz marroquino com azeitonas, queijo feta temperado e vegetais ao forno. HUMMMM!!! Comida vegetariana de qualidade eu diria. Papeamos um pouco, arrumamos as coisas e capotamos. O quinto dia já não seria tão fácil quanto esses dois.

Dia 2 – 111 km sem chuva nem vento!

Posted: January 30, 2013 by Natália Almeida in Cycling
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Map of the route- Day 2

Map of the route- Day 2

Depois de um dia tenebroso como o primeiro, acordei um tanto receosa quanto ao que viria no dia seguinte. Mas em nenhuma de minhas previsões poderia imaginar um dia como aquele. Sem chuva e sem vento, céu azul e nuvens brancas no céu. As ruas que saiam da casa de Jacob não pareciam nada com as da noite anterior. Muito verde ao redor, animais pastando e poucos carros. Saímos um tanto tarde, porque não teve como resistir a um bom bate papo com a família que nos hospedou tão bem. Mas mesmo assim não ficamos preocupados com o tempo.
Boa parte do caminho foi em uma estrada estreita e um tanto sinuosa com popucas subidas e descidas mas muito bonita – irresistível não tirar umas fotos. Me concentrei em manter a rotina alimentar aconselhada pela Isabela Alencar (nossa nutri), então segui o caminho olhando a rota e olha o timer a cada uma hora chamava o Bem e comíamos cada um a sua porção de carboidratos. Seguir isso acredito que tem sido o que mais nos tem ajudado nessa empreitada. Entender o quanto seu corpo precisa de combustível e administrar isso é o que garante um bom desempenho em dias longos. Seu corpo não fica consumindo massa muscular para transformar energia e assim você não sente dores ou cansaço.
Como hoje seria um dia longo minha preocupação era com a luz e o tempo que o dia dura. Então me parecia muito simples seguirmos comendo lanchinhos e não parar para comer enquanto fosse dia. Isso nos garantiria segurança no trajeto. E assim fomos. Porém esqueço as vezes que toda essa re-educação alimentar e planejamento que eu e o Ben temos já vem sendo incorporado na nossa rotina faz tempo. Desde quando começamos a pedalar a Isabela vem nos ensinando e melhorando cada dia mais a nossa alimentação pensando na nossa performance. E em todos os nossos treinos em São Paulo já íamos seguindo os conselhos dela. E assim parece simples para nós, mas o Paulo já tem outra rotina e para ele parar para comer em algum momento é necessário. Paramos em um café aos 80km do dia, e ele estava um tanto irritado. Afinal estava com fome, o que compreensível. Como somos um time temos todos que tentar entender o ritmo e as dificuldades do outro. Então desde esse dia todas as paradas feitas ou passadas a frente são conversadas.

Alongside the A30 towards to the moors

Alongside the A30 towards to the moors

Pegamos a rodovia também e pedalamos pouco tempo no escuro. A chuva nos pegou no fim do pedal mas não fez o mesmo estrago que o dia anterior. Ao chegar em Exeter acabamos rodando bastante pela cidade, o que me deixou um tanto triste por não podermos ficarmos por lá um dia a mais. A cidade é linda, cheia de casas, catedrais e tudo mais super antigo. Numa próxima vez certeza que ficaremos mais.
Os nossos anfitriões da noite foram Sheila e Garth, um casal um tanto velhinho mas pura simpatia. Nos receberam com chá e um cozido de frango mais que delicioso. Purê de batata e ervilhas não poderiam faltar sendo que estamos na Inglaterra.
Papeamos bastante com eles sobre diversas coisas. O Ben um pouco mais porque o irmão do Garth conheceu pai do Ben – que mundo pequeno né?
Dormi super bem e sem me preocupar muito porque o dia seguinte seria curto e relaxado.

Map - Timsbury - Worcester

Day five, distance-wise, was a bit of a marathon. A long way to haul ourselves and our gear.

As with most of our previous nights, our stay from day 4 was with people we had met through couchsurfers was wonderful, this time with Alison and Jon who live in the small village of Timsbury, which is just south of Bristol. Great to chat with and they cooked a really lovely meal, and it was certainly nice and refreshing staying with them. The roads to and from their place are a bit hilly, coming and going through the Mendips, but definitely worth it!

En route to WorcesterWe managed to head out reasonably early at 8.30am, after we had spent ages getting our stuff together. The worst part of the ride was going towards Bristol and along the Bristol ring road. Not sure if cyclists are meant to be on that road as there is a cycle path that goes along it, but for some reason, we managed to leave this path and ride a good few kilometers along the road itself – not particularly pleasant. This part seemed to be the most hillyof the day as well.

After escaping the ring road, we got on to a nice flat A road working its way north and eventually to the west side of the M5 which runs north to south from Birmingham to Exeter. Our average moving speed seemed to be around 20kph, which was nice in comparison to our suffering aling the hillier roads! The weather wasn’t great, but it hardly stopped us all all, really. It was just incredible seeing all the flooded areas where rivers had burst their banks. Fortunately none of the towns we passed through had been overwhelemd (at least not today), though water levels looked dangerously high at least to me.

And so arriving at Worcester where we stayed with Caryl and Lyndon (met through Warm Showers). Again, a really nice couple who are cycling enthusiasts, who have had some great cycling adventures across the world. It was after dark by the time we arrived – again, never a particularly nice experience especially with the headlights from traffic coming towards us generally making vision even harder by blinding us… The road to Caryl and Lyndon’s house was also pitch black, though away from all the traffic and it was nice to find their lovely house through the trees.

The ride, combined with a delicious evening meal combined with a spot of wine left me pretty exhausted so I just about collapsed into bed at the end of the day, knowing that we still had three more days cycling before we would get our first day of rest in Lancaster…

On route to Timsbury, going through GlastonburyI will try not to write much today though knowing me, I will probably ramble a bit! We have completed another 65km, which brings us to around 300km in total – only another 1,200km to complete!

Am feeling quite exhausted as I write. even though today was relatively short – there were some long nasty climbs uphill as we got into the Mendips, and they took their effect on us. My knees are also still fragile from Day 2 when I stuck with my seat too high for too long. I guess it serves me right, though, for not having made any adjustments when I noticed, so I won’t complain further. The countryside was lovely, and we also went through Glastonbury, which was a nice little surprise. Not quite the time of year of the festival, but still… it was good, and because we were going a relatively short distance, we had time to stop off at a pub in the town, which had some great food.

It was an okay day weather-wise: it started off nice – overcast but not too much wind or rain, though in the afternoon it all closed in again and it got blustery with strong gusts of wind, and the rain got harder. Fortunately the wind was coming from behind us for most of the time, so we actually got a helping hand going up the steep hills, which was a nice change.

After having stayed at our in-personal B&B in Taunton, we are now with a family again in this small village, Jon and Alison who we met through Warm Showers. As with the other people we have stayed with, the couple have been extremely nice, supportive and friendly, and it was great being able to have a shower and some delicious food when we arrived. I also showed Jon the Garmin and the ridewithgps.com software, which I think he liked!

Tomorrow will be a much longer day – we will go about 120km to Worcester – but the website says that the amount of climbing will be much less than what we have been doing over long distances, so hopefully it won’t be too hard.

Am afraid my eyes are closing so it is hard to write much more! Am sure I will fall asleep as soon as I put down the computer (if not beforehand!!)…! But before I sleep, another note about our Charity, Cool Earth – please support us in donating to them! Any help you can provide would be fantastic! Our Just Giving page is at https://www.justgiving.com/360-Extremes and remember that donations through this site go straight to the Charity and not to us!!

Before I write anything else, I just would like to mention once again that whilst this winter LEJOG ride is partly for training, we are also raising funds for Cool Earth – a fantastic charity that works with local communities to help protect rainforests. As a team, the environmental changes that are happening have always been of concern – indeed, this is something that we hope to highlight further when we embark on the full journey as we will go through many areas that have been massively affected by human activities – and if we can help Cool Earth in any way with their work, we would be so happy.

I know, lots of people do the Land’s End – John O’Groats cycle ride. It seems very common these days (the place we stayed in Land’s End is already almost completely booked up from February onwards with end-to-enders…). However, we have come from the heat and sun of Brazil (must have been around 30C-35C when we left), the beaches of the Brazilian coast… to endure this 1,500km journey in the cold, rain, wind, snow and goodness knows what else the weather might have in store for us, in order to complete this ride – something I don’t imagine occurs quite often! Indeed, I think everybody we have met, stayed with and talked to about the journey have simply thought we are nuts! (And they are probably right!!)

So with this in mind, please support us with this and give generously at our Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/360-Extremes. Remember that with Just Giving, any donations go straight to the charity!!! We really would appreciate your help!

On the Road to Timsburry
Agora a pouco terminamos nosso 4 dia de pedaladas. O primeiro teve 95km, o segundo 111km, o terceiro 53km e hoje foram 65km.

O meu resumo dos 3 primeiros dias é o seguinte:

Dia 1: (Land´s End -> Bodmin) Muito molhado, mesmo estando muito bem equipado e com roupas ideais ficamos completamente encharcados! Ventou muito, e todo o goretex não foi suficiente.

Dia 2: (Bodmin -> Exeter) O dia mais longo até agora foi bem cansativo. Assim como no primeiro ainda estávamos pedalando em vias principais, algo pareceido com a Castelo Branco, mas com mais subidas! Choveu bastante também, mas nada comparado com o primeiro dia! Aqui a roupa já conseguiu segurar a chuva.

Dia 3: (Exeter -> Talton) O dia mais curto e mais tranquilo até agora. 53km, sem muitas subidas, com um tempo muito bom, percorrendo uma via vicinal bem bonita e terminamos a pedalada ainda com bastante luz do sol.

Hoje apesar do tempo não estar tão bom quanto ontém também foi bastante interessante, seguimos na mesma estrada vicinal de ontém, bem bonita mesmo! Começamos com um tempo bom, mas ele foi ficando mais fechado com o tempo. Mais ou menos na metade do caminho estava Glastonburry, uma cidadezinha que desde 1970 é sede de um festival de artes que leva seu nome. O festival é um dos maiores da Europa e já teve apresentações de bandas como Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Smiths, Jhonny Cash, Paul McCartney, James Brown, Lou Reed e muitos outros. Lá paramos em um PUB, pra um almoço bem gostoso. Nessa hora foi que o tempo virou de vez e a chuva e os ventos apertaram. Pelo menos era um vento nas costas!!! Alguns kms depois de Glastonburry enfrentamos uma subida bem complicada, algo parecido com o Pico do Jaraguá, apenas um pouco mais fácil, mas mais longa! Com todo o peso das bikes as subidas são bem mais complicadas! Agradeço sempre a relação 22×32!
Depois dessa descida foi só alegria até chegar no nosso destino: Timsbury! No caminho vimos algumas partes que ainda estão sofrendo um pouco com as recentes inundações que afetaram o sul da Inglaterra!

O que eu tenho achado bem interessante da viagem até agora, é que além de um ótimo treino, tem sido um incrível intercãmbio cultural! Tirando ontém que ficamos em um Bed & Breakfast, as outras noites foram em casas de pessoas que conseguimso através de Couch Surfing e WarmShowers(igual Couch Surfing mas exclusivo para ciclistas). Essas pessoas tem nos acolhido muito bem e trocado muitas experiências, nos explicam sobre as coisas da região e assim me sinto cada vez conhecendo mais da cultura britânica!
Já me acostumei com as chuvas e com os seguidos dias de pedaladas. O frio é realmente o menor dos problemas, não incomoda em nada! Tudo que posso esperar agora é que o treino continue como está, tempo suportável, motoristas respeitando e corpo funcionando!

Early start

Only 53km today, from Exeter to Taunton. We figured that with our heavy bags, it would be better for us to not consistently do 90-110km journeys (at least not in the first week or so), especially considering that the main complaint of end-to-enders is that of fatigue after the first three or four days as people are not used to riding so long on consecutive days. Okay, we are in pretty good condition from our pre-departure training, but still. Best not push ourselves too much at the start.

Exeter to TauntonIn Exeter we stayed with Sheila and Garth Thorne – a lovely couple who live near the centre and who we met through Warm Showers. It is a small world really as their brother knew my dad from the Orkney Islands, as while we lived there, my father tuned people’s pianos on the various different islands up there. He continued to do so, going up there every summer especially for this until he passed away in 2001. So when they saw my surname on warm showers, they recognised it. Very small world! Garth had also completed the LEJOG and had some good stories of his experiences on the journey. They made us feel very welcome in the house (though there was a bit of confusion as they were expecting two instead of three of us – not sure what happened, but fortunately they were able to accommodate us) and it was a fun farewell in the morning when it was rather amusing seeing us with all our bags fitting on to the bikes (and then trying to get on them..!)

The weather was great, in spite of one brief, cold rain shower as we went along. It didn’t last long at all and it quickly turned to being sunny with clouds for the rest of the time. The route took us through a number of very picturesque country villages as well – quite a contrast to the A30, where we just went through the country and didn’t get to experience much of this part of English life. The scenery, the sites, the sounds, the smells… even the temperamental weather… It all definitely reminded me why I do like England a lot (we shall see if I will still say this by the end of the journey!!).

We actually managed to arrive in Taunton by around 2.30pm, so time to make ourselves settled at the bed and breakfast here, and have  a nice pub lunch. We had decided before getting here that we would have our main lunch upon arrival, which turned out to be a bit of a shame as we passed a couple of lovely looking pubs along the way with delicious smells of sunday roasts coming out into the road. The pub we went to in Taunton itself was still nice and the food was filling – a roast beef meal… perfect!

So, about 260km complete… around another 1,240km more to do…!

On the start line... 1,500km to go..!

On the start line… 1,500km to go..!

O dia antes do começo do pedal foi tranquilo. Passeamos e conhecemos um pouco de Lands End. O dia estava bonito sem chuva e vento. Um tanto animador para o dia seguinte. Pena que o inverno nessa ilha é impossível de prever. E para tornar o nosso primeiro dia de pedal ainda mais desafiador acordamos cedo com o barulho dos ventos e da chuva, Nos atrasamos arrumando as coisas e tentando dar uma arrumada nas bikes. Anotamos o endereço da bicicletaria mais perto e saímos. O caminho até Penzance foi tranquilo. E a bicicletaria já ficava no nosso caminho. Lá arrumamos o câmbio do Ben e meus freios. Não demorou muito e pegamos a estrada A30. A estrada é bem movimentada mas achei bem tranquilo de andar por ali, sem muitas vistas e paisagens mas muito muitos carros. A chuva forte também não ajudou. Cheia de subidas e descidas longas e com um acostamento estreito não me sentia confortável em usar os pés clipados, o problema era que o pedal estreito escorregava toda hora. E os ventos nas costas ajudava nas subidas mas quando resolviam mudar de direção e bater na lateral dava uma certa sensação de instabilidade. Cada novidade que a natureza adicionava para esse dia exigia uma adaptação e me ensinava como manter o controle da bike que às vezes parecia estar viva.

Rota dia 1Entramos na cidade Redruth para comer e acabamos almoçando em um restaurante português, foi bom ler e falar português de novo. A comida bem gostosa e a dona do restaurante simpatia pura. Depois de 1h30 para comer seguimos viagem, estávamos na metade do caminho mas a luz duraria mais algumas poucas horas. O tempo continuava ruim ou ainda pior do que quando começamos.

Os ventos loucos atrapalhavam ainda mais nas descidas porque o atrito da bicicleta com o solo já estava diminuída e a pista molhada também não ajudava em nada, qualquer vento lateral me deixava muito insegura, então tentei controlar a velocidade nas descidas.

A chuva ia consumindo aos poucos, apesar de não sentir frio em nenhum momento, o que cansava mesmo era a água batendo na cara e com o passar do dia foi ficando escuro e pra mim era bem difícil de enxergar então eu precisava forçar mais a vista para ver e diminuir o passo.

Ficar mais lenta era ruim também porque eu acabava ficando bem mais atrás do Paulo e do Ben o que não ajudava para os carros me enxergarem e me estressava bastante porque meu medo era deles virarem em algum lugar e eu não ver.

Assim quando encontrei com eles parados embaixo da ponte me esperando pedi para pelo menos um ficar mais no meu ritmo porque me ajudaria a ver melhor a estrada – seria mais lanternas iluminando o caminho.

Dali em diante seguimos mais próximos. Depois de 8 horas pedalando os 3 já estavam bem cansados, mas finalmente vimos a entrada de Bodmin. Entramos e dali a casa do Jacob (nosso anfitrião da noite) deveria ser simples mas a estradinha que levava até a casa dele era cheia de subidas, lama e bem estreita. A noite estava extremamente escura e durante essa pedalada de poucos quilômetros mas de muitos sobes e desces eu podia ouvir meu freio fazer um barulho metálicos. Nas descidas fui controlando a velocidade com o pé no chão já que meu freio traseiro havia terminado. Na ultima subida eu já estava começando a pensar se a casa desse garoto existia, mas pude ver o Ben conversando com Jake. Chegamos! UFA!

A noite foi de tortas de legumes, papo e chá. A família era muito calorosa e receptiva. Conversamos por horas, eles colocaram nossas roupas na secadora, tomamos banho e deitamos para dormir em volta da lareira. Eu capotei, o Paulo apagou e o Bem ainda ficou um pouco escrevendo post e checando a rota do dia seguinte.

Primeiro dia foi duro e o seguinte recheado de novas sensações, mas isso eu deixo para o próximo post!

Day 02

In spite of being a good 16km longer than the ride to Bodmin, today was sooooo much nicer and better in general!

First of all, the weather. For the better part of the day the weather was perfect: cool, fresh and sunny with very little wind. Even when the weather did close in on us at around 4pm, it didn’t even come close to the treacherous, constant and strong wind and rain of the preceding day, and the winds only got strong when we arrived at our destination in Exeter. This was like paradise in comparison to the living hell of the first day!

Second, the traffic was also much better. I guess this had to do with yesterday being Friday and lots of people travelling particularly in the late afternoon though pretty much constantly throughout the day. As I said, the constant thunder of all the cars and lorries yesterday was not pleasant and left my right ear ringing. Today, again, was a paradise in comparison (though the road, the A30, was the same main road as yesterday). Yes, there were cars, but much fewer in number and less nasty.

The country roads, in all their glory, revealed to us after having cycled along them in the pitch black night

The country roads, in all their glory, revealed to us after having cycled along them in the pitch black night

So yes, in spite of the distance, it was a good day. It was good being able to see the country roads we had gone up in the pitch black the preceding evening (though a bit alarming going down as Natalia’s brakes had been destroyed by the mud, rain and sandy material on the road – we stopped off at a cycle place in Bodmin to get that sorted). Going through Dart Moor was great – pretty lovely countryside there (just a shame, from the environmental point of view, of the very existence of the massive highway we were going on… (though obviously we were using it so I can’t complain!… it was just nasty seeing a lot of squished animals here and there). Some snow still insisted on staying on the peaks of some of the hillier parts of the moor, but not much.

The distance was ultimately okay – though our bags are not getting any lighter. It was tough climbing and there was a total of over 1450 metres of climbing over the course of the ride, but the climbs were long and gradual and were coupled with plenty long and gradual descents which allowed me at least to get to a speed of 67kph without even trying to ride fast. With the road being a trunk road, there were no nasty curves that could have presented dangers of losing control into an incoming vehicle, and visibility was very good so you could see everything, really.

We made it, tired of course, and maybe am starting to feel a bit of the accumulated effects of the two days riding – the bags we have on the bikes are indeed heavy. But tomorrow should (distance and elevation wise) be much easier as I think it would be wise not to abuse our bodies too much so soon into the whole journey! Weather-wise, however, am not sure what it will be like… it is really howling and pouring with rain outside as I write this post and the weather forecast isn’t particularly pleasant… so hopefully things are not made too hard.

As a reminder !! We are looking to raise funds for Cool Earth – an organization that works with local communities to protect the rainforests; something that means a lot to us, especially coming from Brazil and seeing what is happening to the forests there. Our Just Giving page is at https://www.justgiving.com/360-Extremes – please help us in helping them!!! 

Day 01

What can I say..? Wow!! “Wow” simply because the conditions were so tough. We wanted a challenge in doing the Land’s End – John O’Groats journey in winter, but this was… yes, it was a challenge and a half!

Day 01 - Stats95km or so… (including a stop for lunch in Red Ruth) in what felt like winds with gale-force gusts throughout; the direction of which changed all the time as it swirled around us; with driving rain, cold (average temperature was 4.8C) and low light… riding along the A30 from Land’s End and it felt like a never-ending torrent of traffic passing by us. This latter point surprised me as I just didn’t expect so much traffic, and it just seemed so loud – my right ear was ringing with the constant thunder of the cars and trucks. Not sure why it was quite so loud – seemed much worse than say going along the Marginal in São Paulo: the noise just seemed to be magnified somehow. I think it was because of the balaclava I was wearing covering my head and somehow making it worse with the noise vibrating through that and being further channelled into my ear… but that’s just a pet theory and am not sure!

The place we are staying at is a few kilometres away from the main A30 trunk road we were riding along, but the last kilometres after leaving the highway were difficult. Very hard – through pitch black along a narrow country road that in some places was covered by water that was flooding a little over; low-lying cloud that meant the visibility was even further reduced and, even though each of us have three front lights, they pierced only a short way into this mist – it seemed like part of a horror film! The road had plenty of fine grit which played havoc with our brakes as well – hopefully they haven’t worn down too much, but we will need to stock up on brake pads tomorrow, that’s for sure.

It took us a long time, with a low average moving speed of just over 15.3km, but this is consideration of the conditions and the fact that we are carrying all of our stuff with us, unsupported! We were delighted to finally reach our destination – meeting Jacob and his family who invited us through Couchsurfers… great guy and a great family! It was so nice that they had also prepared a lovely dinner for us when we arrived as well – certainly appreciated!!!

So tomorrow it will be onwards to Exeter – a little further than today at 111km, though apparently the weather is meant to be better… here’s hoping!!!

Oh and one final note – I will write another separate post about this, but it is worth a mention here!! We are looking to raise funds for Cool Earth – an organization that works with local communities to protect the rainforests; something that means a lot to us, especially coming from Brazil and seeing what is happening to the forests there. Our Just Giving page is at https://www.justgiving.com/360-Extremes – please help us in helping them!!! 

Day 01 - Temperature

Day 01 - Elevation

On the start line... 1,500km to go..!

On the start line… 1,500km to go..!

O dias até agora não tem sido dos mais fáceis.

Como eu disse no post anterior as bagagens do Paulo se perderam no meio da conexão e para reencontrá-las tivemos que fazer diversas ligações, ele teve que ir ao Aeroporto mais de uma vez e isso tudo levou mais de um dia para se resolver. A família do Ben já estava oferecendo todas as bikes e roupas que ele poderia precisar. Mesmo assim não seria nada confortável fazer uma viagem dessas com coisas emprestadas e com as suas sumidas. Eu não podia remarcar a minha ida a Penzance, então eu e o Ben viemos ontem. O Paulo conseguiu recuperar as suas malas e veio para cá no trem das 7pm.

The beginning of the journey

The beginning of the journey

A falta de sorte não parou por aí. Ao chegarmos aqui em Penzance a ideia era montar as bikes e seguir rumo ao hostel pedalando – a distância de Penzance a Lands End é de mais ou menos 17km. Mas a bicicleta do Ben deve ter colidido no avião ou veio com algo pesado em cima, porque o câmbio está amassado e a princípio pegava nos raios da roda. A minha tem problemas no freio. Acredito que a mudança de temperatura deu uma desregulada geral. Demos uma mexida e conseguimos arrumar um pouco mas não 100%.

Se o trem não tivesse atrasado poderíamos ter resolvido tudo ontem mesmo. Mas chegamos aqui já era escuro e a Bike shop estava fechada. O trem do Paulo também atrasou invés de chegar aqui a meia-noite ele chegou quase 3am.

Tudo isso nos fez chegar no consenso de atrasarmos o planejamento e começarmos o pedal amanhã.

Como tudo que é planejado direitinho. Esse dia parado aqui não programado nos leva a um efeito domino porque perderemos o dia de descanso em Bristol e também temos que avisar as casas que iremos ficar que chegaremos atrasados.

Dos males o menor.

Aproveitamos o dia de hoje para filmar e conhecer a região. A cidade é fria mas com lindas paisagens. Tiramos a foto do marco de Lands End e o Ben teve bastante vento e tempo para brincar com seu brinquedo novo: uma pipa. O que nos gerou diversas situações legais a pipa quase me acertando e depois quase “matando” o Paulo. Só ouvi os gritos do Bem para ele correr da pipa desgovernada que fazia piruetas e rajava em alta velocidade pelo ar. Uma pena porque com isso as cordas se enrolaram toda e tivemos que acabar com a brincadeira. A fome apertou e foi hora de procurarmos um lugar para comer. Acontece que a cidade é pequena e tem poucas opções para comer e nessa época do ano ainda nada abre. Uma caminhada longa até o pub mas com lindas vistas do alto para a enseada. Que por mais frio que fosse tinha alguns surfistas investindo nas poucas ondas no mar. Comemos e até experimentamos a cerveja local, recomendo muito a Cornish Tribute.

Depois foi reorganizar as malas e papear muito regados a chá.

Que meu próximo post seja recheado de aventuras nas estradas inglesas.

The beginning of the journey

The beginning of the journey

It turned out that Paulo arrived this morning at 3am, and with his bike still in a box and with our bikes still needing maintenance, we decided that it would be best dedicating the day to maintenance and also riding around Land’s End – taking advantage of good weather to film and take some pictures. Fortunately the damage to the bikes from the flights wasn’t too hard to deal with in the daylight and it didn’t take too long to sort out once we got down to it, so we’re in good shape for the start of the journey which we have put off until tomorrow. Ultimately, we have actually started the ride – just all of 2km from the start point at Land’s End to a little way along the A30 which is part of the route to Penzance, before we turned off down towards a beach, and with that in mind, we took all of our gear anyway down to the Land’s End sign to pose for the cameras..!

The slight delay won’t be the end of the world – we will just not have a day off in Bristol. The good thing with Bristol is that when we go through there, it will be on a day that we won’t be riding very far – just 50km, so we will be able to stop there and wander around a little. It really does look a beautiful city and it would be nice to spend more time there, but ah well, needs must…

Flying high with a stunt kite by Land's End

Flying high with a stunt kite by Land’s End

I also got a stunt kite! Nice long 2m wing-span, light-weight, carbon-fibre HQ Sports kite… (Ordered and arrived just the moment we left my brother’s house in London!!!) It will be a bummer riding around with it as it is long even when packed up, but at least very thin so we have worked out a decent way of carrying it (on the top of the baggage rack and just running over the central span of the bike frame, not interfering with my riding).

It’s a beautiful thing – nicely acrobatic and can fly in some pretty strong winds. We got an opportunity to fly it just near the Land’s End direction sign. A lot of fun, and it brought back a load of memories when I was a kid, but quite tough – it really does pull! Got it doing circles and a few tricks, but unfortunately, just as I was getting into it, one of the knots which wasn’t done properly let loose meaning that as the kite came to ground, it did so doing circle after circle, getting the lines all twisted up..! Hmmm! It is now in treatment (Natalia is the only one capable of untangling these things!) and hopefully it will be fully fit to fly another day…!

But still a bit more needed:

The good news is that Paulo’s bike arrived along with all his gear. We were starting to think the worst in that without any receipts for it all, it could easily have gone for walkies with someone looking for a new means of transportation, but fortunately it all came in over the course of the day. He wasn’t able to travel with us to Penzance, though, but it arrived in time for him to get the 7pm train from London, meaning he will get to the place here in Land’s End (the Land’s End Hostel and Bed and Breakfast by the way for anyone thinking about doing this ride in the future: great place, good price and really nice owners who have been incredibly helpful!) by about 1am. We ourselves did arrive slightly late as the train was delayed due to signal troubles. I guess lots of trains have been affected by problems lately with the freezing weather everywhere, so I wasn’t complaining that we ended up only half an hour or so after the scheduled time, getting to Penzance station at about 5.30pm. The train ride was great as well as the snow in the countryside made it all look very beautiful outside (even when we reached areas where there was no snow, it was still very nice to watch as we sped by) and travelling during the day let us see it all.

Now, I say that an improvement in fortunes is still required. Yes, unfortunately (there always seems to be an “unfortunately” lately… sorry!) in the course of the flight over, the rear gear shifter got bent meaning that the chain, when on the largest gear, goes into the spokes of the wheel…. which is never nice. Also, problems with the brakes on one side moving, but the other side not. Which isn’t great for efficient braking…

In the morning when leaving London we were in a pretty big hurry and we needed to get the bikes setup and bags all ready to go so as to make the train, which meant that we didn’t have time to sort these problems out straight away. We got into a black cab to get us to Paddington and then when there put the bikes into the bike car at the front. We were then only able to give a real look at everything when we arrived in Penzance in the middle of a badly illuminated front area at night. After an hour or so messing around outside in the cold (they threw us out of a waiting room (though there was nobody else there at alll) because bikes aren’t allowed there) with the various bolts and screws etc, the gears and the brakes are now slightly better – the chain no longer goes into the spokes and it shifts between gears okay, and the brakes work… just not properly… so it is still not ideal. (Indeed, if anyone has any tips with sorting out brakes where only one side works, very happy to hear from you!) What we did will suffice as a temporary fix – in the day light tomorrow we will hopefully be able to sort out all the problems properly, but at worse, there is a bike shop en route at Penzance that we will be able to stop off at. So yes, from a bad start, things are looking much better and I don’t think there will be any need to deviate from the schedule now.

As my brother said, it is much better having the problems at the beginning of the ride than in the middle, so that’s a definite positive. And also, this whole thing is part of a learning process for us all, and it is certainly proving to be.

Oh and sorry not pics yet – will start getting some from tomorrow!!

Could think of better starts!

Posted: January 23, 2013 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , ,

I have finally joined up with Paulo and Natalia in London and it is great to be back here and able to catch up with family for the first time in a year. We had a nice meal in the centre with my mother, three other siblings plus spouses and friends. So it was good. My flight from São Paulo was good – slightly delayed in São Paulo but no problems in London in spite of the weather. Managed to sleep quite a bit as well… Same with Natalia on her flight over here. Paulo, however, had a bit worse of a journey…
His flight was with KLM and as such was through Amsterdam with a change of flights there. Problem was that with the foul weather causing so much travel disruption in England, his connecting flight to London was cancelled. He had to wait six hours or so for another one. Even more of a problem was that when he was put on to another flight, they did not put his checked luggage, including his bike, on with him. Not quite sure what happened to it… He put in a complaint and for some reason they did not give him a reference number, and they asked for him to give them his baggage receipts so they could keep them with his file … And they would call him once the bags had arrived.
This was Monday. Yesterday, Tuesday, nothing arrived. The train to Penzance is today, Wednesday. So it’s not a great situation. We have a certain amount of flexibility in the route meaning that we can take one extra day in Penzance to wait and see if Paulo’s bags arrive later on Wednesday or early Thursday, and then start the main route on Friday, though this would mean losing one of our rest days. Not ideal but then it isn’t an ideal situation in any sense of the word. Another alternative is for Natalia and I to start the route on schedule, if we know for certain that his bike hasn’t yet come, and then meet Paulo one or two days down the route. Not ideal either as that would be us down a team-mate. If the worst comes to the worst Paulo would be able to borrow equipment from family here, but hopefully things don’t come to this as he has all his tools, clothes and everything for the ride in his bags.
Fingers crossed we will have some good news later today.