We had a great breakfast at the Cape Cornwall Golf course and were on the road by about 9:30 am. It was a little late and the day was already getting hot. Even though it was only about 70 F (20 C) it you stood in the sun it just bore down and baked you. We rode down the 7 miles to the Land’s End Visitor’s Center and took the official start of the ride photo and were off. With the seven miles to the start we had a 54.4 mile (88 kms) day. The total climb turned out to be 3335 feet ( 1016 meters).
There was a stiff and steady wind of about 10 mph (16 kmh) out of the east which was straight into our faces most of the day. It was at times nice as it cooled you off but most of the time is was just another annoyance.
The goal of the ride was to try and stay off roads with center lines. So we were on a lot of bike paths today. Unfortunately the bulk of them were not paved. I think that bike trails compromised 35-50% of the route. Of this about a third was sand, a third pack dirt and a third large loose rocks. The sand and the loose rocks increased the amount of work a person had to expend exponentially. It was very dry and has been for quite a while so the trails were all totally dry. If it had of been wet or rainy it would have been a total mud bath. Surly did a great job with his 32 mm tires of maintaining traction and was so sure footed I never felt loose all day. The trails were really steep as well often hitting 15-16% and Surly’s low gearing powered me up every one.
It sounds like I am complaining but in reality it was a very beautiful ride. The sun was out and we were riding down oh so exquisite country lanes. We saw some very cool stuff. We stopped at Land’s End and took photos. We stopped in a meadow a saw the Merry Maidens stone circle. This is not on the bus tour stop list but is a 100% genuine stone circle dating back to the same time as Stonehenge. AND we had it all to ourselves in a beautiful meadow. We stopped and went for a walk through Mousehole which is a tiny little port which was used by the smugglers/pirates in the 1600’s. It just doesn’t get any quainter. Saw a bunch of the Cornwall tin and copper mines which were built in the early to mid 1800’s and are now all abandon. This left huge old stone structures dotted across the landscape. They are currently part of the UNESCO World heritage Sites. Agnes went and saw the Levant Mine which started as a copper mine in 1820 and then commenced mining tin in 1852. The tin is much deeper. The mine shafts run out 1.5 kms under the sea and go to a depth of 650 m. It has only working walking beam steam mine pump remaining.
By time I got in I was totally beat. I was out of water and all in. If it had of been another mile with one more climb I would have called a taxi.
Jos and Patrick ran out and found giant chocolate milks which were great. Then off to supper in a historic downtown pub. The chicken curry was great. An after dinner walk around the Truro cathedral topped the day off.
Yes it was a tough first day but a lot of fun and one which will go down in legend.
I"ll get some of Agnes pictures up in the next couple of days. Just too tired to night. The quick preview looks awesome.