Today's mileage: 38.4
LEJOG mileage to date: 38.4

Map view:

Google Earth view:

And the ride to date:

The night before

Getting two trikes and three people into the motorhome was a bit of a challenge. My seat, wheels, fairing and front mudguards went into the large cupboard, aka the toilet. Donald's went onto the rear bed, leaving the frames, rear wheels, pod bags, spare tyres and assorted trikebilia ... er ... here:

Erica was wondering what the hell had happened to her home.

The first campsite was a few miles from Lands End, and the original plan had been to arrive at 8pm-ish on Friday evening, reassemble the trikes and generally get ourselves ready to cook breakfast and then head straight off in the morning.

The gods do enjoy laughing at nice neat plans. The drive down was quite slow, and by the time we got there at 10pm, we were in the midst of a howling gale. Assembling the trikes in pitch black during a storm wasn't entirely practical, so Donald put up his tent with some difficulty and I cleared enough space on the rear bed of the motorhome to crawl under the duvet.

With 50mph winds and hammering rain, we didn't get much sleep. This wasn't the ideal preparation for a 1000-mile ride, and I was cursing the damned wind.

Day 1

The rain finally stopped at 07:45, and the sun put in an appearance.

Though that bloody wind was still going strong.

We showered then drove the last few miles to Lands End, and Donald assembled the trikes while Erica and I set about the challenge of converting the motorhome from a bombsite back to some semblence of a home,

We were disappointed that the Lands End cafe didn't offer a full English breakfast, so we improvised as best we could.

Outside the cafe, we confirmed that we had indeed run out of England:

That damned wind was still blowing like crazy, and as all cyclists know, the wind is always against you.

We orientated ourselves with our backs to the wind. Hang on a minute, that couldn't be right: we were facing down the road we'd be leaving by. We checked on the GPS. Yes, we really were facing along our heading for the day! It was that mythical phenomenon that has been rumoured for centuries but never before witnessed by a cyclist: a tailwind!

Admittedly this was the reason we were doing a LEJOG rather than a JOGLE: statistically, the prevailing wind blows from the south-west, so the winds should, in theory, be in our favour. But we didn't really believe it would happen. The gods were clearly smiling on us. Or perhaps merely smirking, knowing what else they had in store for us, but it was an encouraging start.

Erica took the obligatory start photos:

The Lands End staff are clearly well used to LEJOGers. The car-park attendant greeted me with a cheery "Off to John O'Groats?". I confirmed this, and he bid me a friendly "Good man."

And then - rather later than planned, at almost 1pm - we were finally on our way:

The first landmark, a mile or so down the road, was the first inn in England:

Ahead, the open road beckoned.

I usually have the fairing height set so that my eyes look directly over the edge, but we wanted to make the most of that lovely tailwind, so we both raised our fairings to maximise the sail effect. :-)

I hit 44mph down one hill and was able to freewheel all the way up the other side. Now that's what cycling should be like!

Cornwall is well equipped with public conveniences:

Our original plan had been backroads almost all the way, including Cornwall. However, Cornish backroads are very fiddly indeed, with constant steep hills and hedges & bends so that we'd end up constantly braking on the descents! To a cyclist, braking downhill is a crime.

For that reason, we'd opted to begin the journey by sticking to the A30 on the first leg.

This gave us good open road with rolling hills that didn't feel too bad after my Isle of Wight training.

While the A30 is a busy and fast road, it did have good vision and room for cars to overtake. With my very hi-viz shirt and Dinotte rear light flashing away, 99.5% of cars gave us a very wide berth.

We were averaging around 30mph downhill and - thanks to that tailwind - about 10mph uphill.

A few drops of rain landed on us. No problem: there happened to be a layby 100 metres ahead. By the time we'd pulled in, though, it was a full-scale downpour! We got into our waterproofs as quickly as we could.

Fortunately we'd both learned the Cyclists' Waterproofs Lesson a while back: cheap waterproofs always leave you soaked, whether from the rain without or the sweat within. We'd both bought really good breathable waterproofs that actually work (Montane eVent in my case). The fairings also helped, of course.

We did, though, decide that as we were 20 miles in, this would be an opportune moment for a tea-break.

I have to confess that, faced with a choice between a McDonalds and a pub we chose the former simply because we could sit in a window table to keep an eye on the trikes. It was just too much hassle to secure them properly and cart the bags in - by parking them where we could see them, we could settle for a middling lock around the rear wheels and railings, with bags left in place.

A milkshake and a coffee later, we were back on the road.

Mindful of the fact that hills are a relatively new experience for me, we'd decided to ease in gently with a first day of 38 miles. Given the lateness of our departure, this had turned out to be a good plan.

Seven miles out, I texted Erica to say we were 30-40 minutes away. As it happened, this estimate was to prove woefully inaccurate: almost the entire seven miles looked like this:

We scarcely dropped below 30mph the rest of the way there. :-) Even the one uphill seemed scarcely noticeable, a bloody miracle for me.

Erica hadn't arrived by the time we reached the campsite, so we checked-in and then had the problem of what to do until Erica arrived?

Should we go on a nature ramble? Do some brass-rubbings in the local church? Persuade a local pensioner to teach us some local village history? Tricky one.

Erica arrived about half an hour later, bringing my laptop so I could transfer my photos from the two cameras, the tracklog from the GPS and write most of this.

We got ourselves installed in the campsite. Erica got the storage a bit more logically organised:

Donald put up his tent and put the trikes to bed (we'd each bought breathable motorcycle covers for them):

While I dealt with far more important matters:

iPod dock, AA charger (for lights and GPS), camera chargers (DSLR and P&S) and laptop power. :-)

Erica & I then chopped veggies ready for dinner, which Erica cooked. Erica is almost veggie, while I'm a confirmed carnivore, so we planned on dishes which worked with vegetables alone to which meat could be added.

Dinner was delicious, and supplied in suitably vast quantities.

And that was day one. 38.4 miles in 4h 20m at an overall average speed of just under 9mph, with a moving average of 12.3mph. The altitude profile would have frightened me prior to the Isle of Wight Randonee, but that had obviously been good training as the day seemed fine to me!

Onto day 2 ...