This morning finds me in a b&b in Seaton, Devon. I originally intended to camp last night but only arrived with a small amount of daylight left so ducked into here rather than pitch in the dark.
The past two days could not have been more different in terms of riding. Riding from New Milton over to Dorchester as really really nice, despite a very thundery and rainy start to the day.
Dropping down from Christchurch to Boscombe pier I was able to cycle all the way along the front to the Sandbanks chain ferry. I lived in Bournemouth for nearly 7 years, so cycling past the iconic pier, brought back a wave of memories. (Excuse the pun)
Crossing the ferry i had chance to have a look at something which had been bugging me. I was convinced the front forks on my bike were backwards, so on landing I took my bike to pieces and reassembled it. Hurried assembly by two amateurs in Broadstairs had obviously missed this!
Heading up into the Purbecks with the sun breaking through was gorgeous.
I rolled into Dorchester just about on time and checked into the pub for the night.
Next morning I set off quite early. After a very disturbed night's sleep I headed off towards Seaton in Devon, leaving behind Dorset and entering the first of the last two counties I need to cross to get to Land's End. 5 counties already ticked off in less than a week. I was quite chuffed, however I considered Dorchester to be around half way - counties get bigger and much more lumpy from here.
The ride to Seaton was a challenge. I had nearly 270 miles under the belt on these tyres without a single puncture - they were living up to their puncture resistant claim very well. Until today. Not just one puncture, but two, within three miles of each other on the same tyre.
I had a repair kit and was able to find the culprit pretty quickly in both cases, so not a major issue, just slowed my progress significantly.
The countryside between Dorchester and Seaton was spectacular.
It's very difficult to get a sense of the hills from my photographs, there were some beasts and I have to admit to leaping off and pushing at points. There were moments when for the first time I really questioned my ability to get to the end of this, let alone enjoy the experience. The feeling of cruising down the hill into Seaton having made it over the hills and the 45 miles was certainly worth it though. A feeling of achievement and a much needed adrenaline kick. I can only imagine how good its going to feel doing the same to the Land's End and there's no way I'm giving up now. The leg muscles are burning, back is aching and the bike is in need of some professional maintenance, but I'll get there.
The next leg is Sunday and I feel a light day is very much called for. After some maintenance on the bike I am heading for Exmouth - still no trifle, 20 odd miles over a couple of big hills. I will see how I feel about it when I get there, but its only another 13 flat miles from there, over the ferry, to Dawlish.