Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sunday 18th May
A bike ride, Campervan trip and a run

 There are photos which I will add later when I have sorted, so do check the blog again for the piccies!!

Last week I managed to get nearly all my Blog title activities in, only the Fell walk missing, unless I count the 2 mile walk from Sennen Cove to lands end and back!

What a great week it’s been. It started on the Saturday 10th May with bike preparation for the New Forest Audax on the Sunday and driving down to stay overnight with my eldest son as he is only an hour away from the start at Lymington. It was a beautiful drive down on Saturday evening, quiet roads and the sky cleared to give a fine sunny evening, driving down to Wimborne meant the sun was behind me, giving everything a warm glow. A bouncy Bramble with Frisbee in mouth greeted me as I stepped out of the van [Bramble is a brown Lab cross].

The Sunday morning weather looked good, very gusty wind and with only a chance of a shower. Clothing was a problem, what to wear not to get too hot, or  be cold, especially if it rains. It was very cold and windy standing on the start line, there were quite a few for the New Forest Day out Audax 100k event, the 200k started earlier!! Off we went and Rich and I had a good pace, surprisingly leaving many of the other riders behind, Richard did most navigating from the instructions as my Garmin GPS decided not to give turn by turn directions. A head wind out, heading north, up through the New Forest, beautiful views around us, there were  lots of donkeys and their foals on the road at one point, refusing to move from the middle of the road. Way up past Fordingbridge to the half way point of Breamore House, which happened to have a steam engine rally on at the same time, so it was dodge the mini steam tractors as we entered the site to get our card stamped. We had seen few riders on our way up, but riders soon started to arrive as we had something to eat and drink, 33 miles covered. The route back saw us with a tail wind at times, whilst one stretch across the Forest past Fritham and Ocknell Plain was a full on head wind, a very exposed stretch of road, Richard and I took it in turns to lead, allowing the other to shelter behind, swapping frequently, at times I had to work my way down the cassette to maintain forward momentum as the wind was so strong. It was a relief when we finally turned and headed towards the 3 mile down hill of the Ornamental Drive and Rhinefield. Entering Brockenhurst we were treated to be escorted towards the main street by a Highland cow walking down the middle of the road, clearly his party piece for the tourists!! With another 15 miles to go it was a handful of Haribo as we took our stamp at the bike shop, there were also a few spots of rain, fortunately it was only a few spots and we did manage to get away without a wetting, this saved until we were driving home later. Some great place names, Lover, Bohemia, Nomansland and Mockbeggar! Not to mention the impressive Tower at Sway.
The last 6 miles was a round about way of getting back to Lymington, through Boldre and went over a large hill, we were both tired by now and glad we weren't doing the 200 k!
We arrived back at the finish in good time 5 hours with stops, not the fastest time but Audax is not about fast times,  Richards navigation spot on all the way round. A feast was set out in the center with soup, pasta, beans cakes and my favourite after a long ride, cold rice pud with tinned peaches, this with several mugs of tea brought a nice finish to the day. A really good enjoyable day, catching up with Richard, cycling through some fabulous countryside, no punctures or mechanicals, but the wind had been horrendous, at least it didn’t rain.  I hope we will be back in September for the New Forest coast ride another 100k Audax.

A drive back home to prepare the van for the trip to Cornwall on the morrow[Monday] , drop Richard and bike off first.
St Ives - Cornwall
Monday morning saw me and Mrs B van packed setting off to drive to St Ives in Cornwall – we were booked in at the Ayre campsite which is on the edge of St Ives and literally only a 10 minute walk. We arrived just after lunch, the sun was shining but that stiff northerly breeze was still there,  we were on the cliffs so there would always be a breeze – we were given pitch number 13! Ominous!!!! The pitch was sloping but the park provide blocks to drive on, to  ensure the van is level, nothing worse than the sliding out of bed feeling you get when the van is not level, or your tea slides to one end of the table. The views from the pitch and the campsite were stunning looking over Porthmeor beach, the sand and sea glistening in the bright sunshine,
After a refreshing mug of tea and the obligatory digestive biscuit we walked down the steep road hill into St Ives [we found the coast path later which was much easier and more pleasant]. There were lots of people around for early May, a mix of old and young families. Its several years since we have been to St Ives and the high street seemed to have lost the surfing theme with shops such as Seasalt, Fat Face and many galleries replacing them. Tea in Wetherspoons before returning to the van, a nice Veggie burger and chips!
On return to the van it was far too cold a wind to sit outside, but the forecast was to improve over the next few days, which it did with great effect, as soon at the wind dropped – but we had clear blue skies and sunshine every day, which was lovely.
Tuesday saw us drive over to Penzance and to the new Sainsbury’s on the old heliport, a large new shop, likened to a French Hypermarket. Penzance itself was still run down, but always a pleasant place to visit. Lunch in ‘Sainsbugs’ was followed by driving to Marazion overlooking Mount St Michael – the car park wanted £6 to park as we were a ‘motor home’ luckily a local council site up the road was only £1.90 but a longer walk . The wind was still strong as we walked down the beach to Marazion and looked over the choppy seas to the Mount, the tide rapidly coming in, motor launch taxis ferrying visitors back and forth.
The walk back to the van was hard work and we were pleased to get the kettle on when we got back, somewhat windswept.
Wednesday morning I was up early [6:30] and determined to get a run in along the coast, the weather was beautiful, the wind had dropped and the temp was already on the up. A Lovely 6 mile run up the coast path, quite muddy in places and very rocky, foot placements was a mind focusing exercise, looking at the fabulous views would have to wait. Up past a stone circle of the ‘harvest girls’ up and down with bluebells casting a blue sheen across the cliffs, the sea crashing in below as it was high tide. The path was lovely singletrack and narrow in places, making the running interesting. My Garmin Watch GPS decided to that its battery was in need of recharging, so went blank at the 3 mile mark!!  I ran on for another 15 minutes or so to the next Headland Trevega Cliff past Pen Enys Point and then turned to run back to camp. The sun now was high and I was running directly into it, what a nice feeling with the sun on my face, the sea crashing below and no other person in sight anywhere [until 200 yards from camp] A nice hot shower followed in some of the cleanest facilities I have ever been to, and with piped ‘Pirate FM’ being played throughout the day!
A day of walking down the coast path to St Ives, coffee and bakewell tart on the beach front, followed by much beach sitting etc. for the day. A nice evening meal in the van followed by a quick stroll up to Burthalla Cliff to watch the sunset, and the seals in the cove.
Because the weather was so nice we decided to repeat the day before, not go in the van but walk down to St Ives again  and along towards Porthminster Beach and Carbis Bay. Much sitting again enjoying the weather and the views, at one point a sea mist drifted across, blotting out everything, it disappeared as quickly as it came leaving a hot sunny rest of the day.
The final day dawned, a well intended run was planned, but! Never happened, too lazy! We packed up, easy in the van,  we were away by 9:30, driving over to Sennen, easily parking before walking across to Lands End, beautiful views with fabulous beaches, the tide was going out. It was a quiet walk across to Lands End with few people around. The ‘visitor centre’ was still reasonably quiet, we bought a ‘takeaway coffee’ at a stall, pretty poor taste, poor value etc. the whole Lands End ‘experience’ was ‘tacky’ the beautiful scenery was its saving grace.
Walking back over to Sennen we passed several groups of German tourists, some struggling with the walk. Nice to see foreign visitors enjoying the views.
Lunch in the van in the car park, views across the beautiful beaches before setting off home, I did manage to stop off at ‘Riccis’ bike shop to check out saddles and handlebars, purchasing a Bontrager Affinity after a ‘seat fitting machine’ told me the size I needed, the assistant even gave me 10% off!  Traffic was busy the rest of the way in both directions.

Saturday after a 3.6 mile early morning run round the town, saw us with itchy feet after several days away, so we spent the morning in Sidmouth with egg, chips and peas in the ‘White Horse caf√©’ best chips in the South West. A hot sunny day, shame I had to mow the lawns when we got home!

Finally end to the week before Bikeability tomorrow [Monday] was a cycle ride over Lopen head via the Roman road ‘Fosse Way’  and then dropping down through South Petherton and Martock before going through Muchelney and Drayton and Curry Rivel, dropping down the steep hill to the Athelney road, back over Ham, Slough Green, Broadway and Crock street gave me 46 miles in the warm sunshine – very enjoyable. 
Weeks total 111 miles cycled and 9.6 miles run, quite pleased with that, trying to keep fitness in both cycling and running, Charmouth Challenge run  and Audax Devon Delight in July, with a fortnight break in the middle for our French holiday.

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