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Thursday 20th September 2007: “The final push”

I’ve done it! After 928 miles and 13 days cycling I finally reached Land’s End at 16:19 hours. Obviously I am overjoyed at having finally completed this task without any further injury almost ten months after I first planned this journey in January.

The previous night had been one of the most comfortable of the whole journey and with a warm breakfast and a Lemsip I was prepared for a better day. With no trains until midday I was forced to take a taxi to St Columb Road and made a start at 10:30 in the rain. The rain was persistent but not particularly heavy in the morning and if anything it helped speed things up a little by making the road surface slicker and faster.

The A30 is far straighter and flatter in western Cornwall so I stayed on it for most of the day. The anticipation of the finish undoubtedly fuelled me with adrenaline so the going was relatively good for most of the day. I only stopped once for lunch as I was keen to catch a train home if and when I made it to Lands End in one piece. Needless to say, I navigated the hills very carefully today reaching a top speed of just 22.5mph; the last time I rode in Cornwall I hit 38.5mph.

The road from Penzance to Lands End is just as steep and treacherous as I remembered it to be – only a fool would cycle over 30mph on this road. I found the spot where I fell off last time and took a moment to reflect I far I had cycled since that horrible crash. Then I pushed ahead steadily for the final six miles reaching Land’s End in good time.

Many cyclists have commented that arriving at John O’Groats or Land's End can be a bit of an anticlimax but I found my arrival to be the complete opposite. By then the sun was out and there were crowds of tourists enjoying the sights. I crossed the line and made my way to the white sign post where I had started my first attempt on June 21st. I couple of friendly tourists helped me record the moment on camera and then I took a taxi back to Penzance station. There were congratulations from people all round.

It was a great end to a fantastic journey and I left Cornwall that evening with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Whilst I was sipping cold beer as the train rolled over the Tamar Bridge into Devon during sunset, I reflected on the journey I had made. I feel enormously privileged to have enjoyed a front row view of Britain’s landscapes, cities and people over the last two weeks and I hope this journey has helped to raise the profile of the cause it was made in aid of.

Ride Statistics

Started: 10:30 hours
Finished: 16:20 hours
Distance: 48.00 miles
Cycling time: 5 hours 03 minutes
Top speed: 22.5 mph
Average speed: 9.4 mph
Odometer: 927.7 miles

A pretty Cornish garden
Arriving at Land's End
Me at Land's End
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Back to the map

Copyright © John Collins