I needed to rise early and get going quickly if I had any chance of completing the ride in time to catch my train in the afternoon. Accordingly, I woke up at 6am found all my cooking paraphernalia and set to work making tea and heating beans and sausages for breakfast. I then struck camp and was ready to leave by 7.20, when the landlord opened the door to let his dogs out, conveniently allowing me to make use of the gents!
So, off early through Tiptree, Colchester and Maningtree without stopping, through a lovely morning of sunshine and picturesque mists, and on to Ipswich for breakfast. 32 miles done, followed by a Wetherspoons large breakfast (two of everything plus black pudding). By the time I had eaten this and checked the route it was after half past eleven. Having also checked the train times, and found to my horror that the train was nearly halfan hour earlier than I had thought, I began to despair of making that train, and was facing a costly and potentially difficult journey home.
I decided not to push to hard for fear of damaging my knees, but to try to avoid stopping and see how I went. But approx 50 miles in 4 hrs 15 with heavy packs, and slightly weary from yesterday’s ride, seemed a tall order. The weather was fantastic, really sunny but not too hot, and the scenery in the Suffolk lanes was equally good as I cycled through such places as Monewden, Framlingham, Badingham (where I stopped for a brief energy giving snack of bananas and Jaffa Cakes, washed down with Lucozade Sport) then on through Huntingfield to Rumburgh.
At this point I realised that I had about 15 miles to do, including finding Ness Point (my objective), and about an hour and fifteen minutes to do it in. Barring any serious hills, this was just about achievable if I pushed hard. So push hard I did through Redisham and Mutford and on to Lowestoft, where I guessed fairly accurately the way to my objective:
Ness Point, Lowestoft, the furthest East point on the British mainland. Just time to ask a stranger to take my photograph and ask him the way to the station, before hammering it there, and making the 16:06 with less than three minutes to spare. Tick!
The route today had been 83 miles, making the total for the ride 185 miles (or 195 including the cycling to and from the train in London).
So has the weekend achieved its objectives? In the main I would say it certainly has:
– I have proved to myself that I can sustain long rides over more than one day
– I have proved my new equipment: tent, camping stove, handlebar bag all good. Although due to the nature of the accommodation my microfleece towel did not get tried, and I am going to invest in another solar panel for my phone charger.
– I have learned valuable lessons about getting going in the morning, and planning sensibly.
Overall I feel both ready for, and more relaxed about the task ahead.