The words had left my mouth before I’d had a chance to sensor them and certainly before I had the chance to do my research:
“I want to ride from Plymouth to Pontardulais for LATCH… in 24 hours”
I quickly added the caveat:
“assuming I can do it staying off the massive roads” (which I knew was possible even at the time)
We were driving home from visiting our godson, Luke, who is being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Luke was diagnosed on 18/02/14 and has to be one of the bravest kids, and part of the strongest family I have ever known. Seeing him carry on with his life, as much as possible, has been inspiring.
As soon as I said it the seed had been sown. When I got home I popped the kids in bed and began to research tentatively. I starting with route planning, I looked on a few web based route planners to get an idea of distance (244 miles), I was moderately reassured that there wasn’t a huge amount of climbing, but it’s a long way – a bloody long way!
The first – and only to be honest – routing decision to be made is right at the beginning. My personal preference is to go from Plymouth to Exeter over Dartmoor. Dartmoor is my cycling playground, right on my doorstep, with its quiet (outside the summer holidays) roads and lanes, sweeping corners with breath-taking views. Oh and the climbs, the sick in your mouth 20%+ climbs that give any ride an elevation chart the look of sharks teeth. It is many things, but easy cycling it isn’t. The pragmatic option is to ride the minor roads the follow along the A38 and then the M5. Pragmatism wins! The rest of the route I am not as familiar with, I have cycled parts of the Somerset levels while doing the Exmouth Exodus, but that was at night, and a little in south wales but non on the route I have planned.
So I guess it is ‘do-able’. Better start to putting some meat on the bones.