Open eyes, open curtains, blue sky, lots of cars, I spy a beefeater pub, must be a Premier Inn then, give up guessing and go for iPhone GPS. Still in Taunton and about to embark on day nine.

The normal routine kicked in with the planned departure at 8.30. The rules say 8 for 8.30. This basically means getting all your stuff out to the van by 8am, leaving half an hour to get the bikes ready, polish your helmet and prep for the day. Checking tyre pressures is also a critical part of this prep and, as you can see here, it normally takes around three people to help Peter sort his.

It still hasn’t sunk in, just what we’ve achieved so far. The last major emotional moment was crossing Scotland and getting to the English border sign. Somehow now, we’re in Somerset, 750 miles into this epic and we’ve cycled every mile. The physical and emotional strain is now showing on all of us. Injuries and frayed nerves have taken us all to places we didn’t expect to be.

And that strain was showing this morning. No guest riders today, so the core team only, and within minutes of the ride starting we’d split into separate teams. Sat navs were on the blink so various different routes were also taken today. The only common goal was getting to Bodmin, alive!

First stop today was Silverton, the village where Jules lives. Quite a reception committee awaited us as we arrived, with several of Jule’s family and friends taking the day off work to greet us.

Here on in, the group split further, the main challenge being to complete a gruelling day of climbing, with every force of nature trying to get in our way. This wasn’t ordinary rain, or even M and S rain: this was the kind or rain where each drop is the equivalent of a bucket of water. It was brutal and the course the toughest that anyone of us have ever done. Here’s the map and elevation graphic for the day.

I have never seen so many climbs. Steep and long and repeating over and over. I cycled up rivers, down rivers and through them and still Bodmin always seemed to be 10 miles away.

The last of the group came in well after 7pm. Few words were spoken, I think Peter’s face said it all.

Bradley however seemed to have had a great day. He’s been busy the entire trip checking out all kinds of sights and joins us wherever we start and stop. Here he is just cruising into Cornwall. His full photo album will be published on the three men site after the ride.

The evening saw our last (ever?) Premier Inn meal and I think ’shell-shocked’ best describes emotions around the table. Tomorrow is our last day together and we will (I hope) complete an extraordinary challenge. It’s a 63 mile route and yes, there are plenty of hills, but I think the weather is ok……

Roadside news

  • Cornish Ferret – will miss the Bank Holiday
  • Woolly Mammoth – Griffiths reckons he saw one, just as he came into Cornwall
  • Vera at the old farm shop – reckons it’s flat all the way to Launceston, ‘except the hills’