Where do I start with this one?
So exciting it is!
So in no particular order, I have to tell you about the journey to Lands End, my pack of stuff for the ride, my new cycling attire, and who knows what else. It is so close now, only 13 days to go, and that is downright scary.
So about a week ago I thought I had better sort out the logistics of getting to and from Lands End. Now getting back is not going to be a problem, as Dan and also Mel will be coming down to watch the rugby and see me arrive at the stadium (walking of course :p) in Twickenham. Thankfully Mel has a car big enough to get my bike in (thanks Mel :)) and so I can at least get back at the end of it all.
Getting down to Lands End is another matter. If you happen to live in London then the GBBR people have arranged transport for both people and bikes, which is great. Trouble is everything leaves at 7am, and so if I wanted to take advantage of that it would probably mean a 3am start to get there, which would not exactly be ideal preparation for the rigours ahead.
I therefore decided to ‘let the train take the strain’. Easier said than done, at least for the bike. If it was just me, it would have been no problem. I could have got any of about 10 trains that day via a number of routes to get me from Didcot to Penzance. Penzance lies about 7 miles from The Sea View Holiday Park, our camping location for the evening before the ride. However, with a bike, you cannot just turn up these days and lob it in the guards van. Oh no, sir! You have to register it, and it has to be booked in, as they only allow (I think) 6 bikes per train. Health and Safety or something you see, probably :).
Anyway at least if I get it booked I am at least guaranteed to get on and get there. Trouble is, what would have been the choice of any train at any price, (cheapest would have been £30 for a single journey), turned into a half hour on the phone to ‘a British Rail call centre’ and the outcome was that there was only one train in the whole day where I could book my bike on. I got off the phone £93 worse off. Ouch!
So I leave on a 7.56am train on the 31st August, and get to Penzance at about 3pm. There I will get picked up by some nice army chap (employed by the GBBR guys for this purpose), who will take me and my bike the remainder of the way. Apparently we assemble sometime before 5pm that afternoon for registration and a photograph. Sounds good, and I hope very much that there is no bar open when I get there – did I ever mention to you that I have a willpower problem?
So having run out of time here I will put the other stuff on my next post. Oh and I must tell you about my visit last weekend from Darina and Paul too!