Day 4, Monday 26 May, 2014 - LEJOG begins

The train trip via Reading was uneventful, with some great coastal views. As it was school holidays, my carriage was full of kids on holiday to the coast.
Arriving at Penance after such a long, muddled journey had me both excited and apprehensive. The saying "getting to the starting line is always the hardest part" seemed even more relevant.

With pirates of all shapes and sizes everywhere, and the rain just starting, I put the bicycle together on the footpath. No bits missing, disposed of the box by some friendly railway workers and ready for my first pedaling.

The rain stopped as I headed out thru windy, hilly, picturesque Penzance on the minor A30 on the 17km journey to Land's End. There was a steady stream of cars overtaking me on the narrow, undulating road which was a bit intimidating. Turns out they where generally very patient and I was a bit tentative.

After the photos at the 'commercial' Land's End sign and taking in the great view of the pirate coastline full of nooks, caves and cliffs, I had a tailwind and clearing sky for the easier ride back. I had 'officially ' begun my LEJOG.

The trusty GPS took me straight to the Lynwood B&B and a genuine welcome by Terry the owner. I told him I would skip 8:00am breakfast as the next day was a long one.
At dinner at 'Taj Mahal', I almost fell asleep. Hoping into bed, I was happy to have started and hoped to unload a bit more weight and that tomorrow's weather is good.
Distance - 34km

 Changing trains at Reading. It was quite cool and had been raining. It was a public holiday, so the trains were full of either kids on school holidays or walkers and cyclists.

Changing trains at Reading. It was quite cool and had been raining. It was a public holiday, so the trains were full of either kids on school holidays or walkers and cyclists.

 The bicycle assembled and ready to start the ride from Penzance to Land's End. All the stations were historic.

The bicycle assembled and ready to start the ride from Penzance to Land's End. All the stations were historic.

 That's the pirate coastline behind me. Very scenic, green and no longer raining. This is the furthers south west point, not the furthest south. That's not far away and is called "The Lizzard". Some LEJOGers go there as well, but not me.

That's the pirate coastline behind me. Very scenic, green and no longer raining. This is the furthers south west point, not the furthest south. That's not far away and is called "The Lizzard". Some LEJOGers go there as well, but not me.

 Historic road signs are everywhere.

Historic road signs are everywhere.

 The village of Penznace was attempting to recapture their previously held record of the most number of "Pirates on the Promenage" held by another coastal town. They fell short this year, but they still seem to party.

The village of Penznace was attempting to recapture their previously held record of the most number of "Pirates on the Promenage" held by another coastal town. They fell short this year, but they still seem to party.

 Note the lighthouse in the top right. The coastline is full of rocky outcrops. Land's End is quite commercial as well. Hence the number of tourist.

Note the lighthouse in the top right. The coastline is full of rocky outcrops. Land's End is quite commercial as well. Hence the number of tourist.

 Penzance Partying Pirates!

Penzance Partying Pirates!

 Land's End: A great marketing opportunity. Reminds me of my father's description of Byron Bay having Australia's most easterly toilet.

Land's End: A great marketing opportunity. Reminds me of my father's description of Byron Bay having Australia's most easterly toilet.

Day 2 - 3, Saturday 24 May/Sunday 25 May, 2014 - Beijing - Stockholm - Gatwick

Falling asleep and missing my connection to Stockholm from Bejing was definitely not part of the plan.

It's midnight on Sunday night and I've arrived at London Gatwick airport, having flown from Beijing to Stockholm then on a new ticket to London.

The moral of story is always set an alarm on the iPhone before departure time and don't eat the omelette breakfast on the plane. I was trying to sleep off the reaction, which contributed to sleeping through the boarding call whilst at the gate. Fortunately my family in 'mission control' helped me get new connecting plane and train tickets and Skype allowed me to reschedule hotel bookings for first two night.

Sleeping in airports requires a strategy to always be looking for an upgrade until I eventually got a prone, full length couch!

I have recut the daily schedule for the first week of cycling. The first two days will be the litmus test as the average is up from 109 to 138km/day until next weekend. I have a scarce seat on Sunday's ferry to Isle of Man to watch the motorcycle TT.

Off to Penzance this morning on a 6 hr train trip. The hotelier warned me that they are expecting there to be 17,000 pirates as they are going for a world record.

 

 Catching the next days flight from Beijing to Stockholm. I will not miss the connection a second time.

Catching the next days flight from Beijing to Stockholm. I will not miss the connection a second time.

 Sleeping in airports (Yes, there is a website). Any rest is good rest, and that purple couch is the ideal spot.

Sleeping in airports (Yes, there is a website). Any rest is good rest, and that purple couch is the ideal spot.

Day 1, Friday 23 May, 2014 - departed Sydney

After a day's work, Karen, Simon and Patrick bid me farewell for the flight to Stockholm via Beijing. Arriving into a wet Beijing after 11hrs, I decided to rest in transit for 7 hrs instead of another visit to Tiananmen Sq.

 The bicycle box came in under my 20kg limit. It's always a gamble if the box is charged as oversize, as it exceeds the allowable measurements on the Air China website. In 2 Europe trips, so far so good.

The bicycle box came in under my 20kg limit. It's always a gamble if the box is charged as oversize, as it exceeds the allowable measurements on the Air China website. In 2 Europe trips, so far so good.

 Farewell photo as Sydney Kingsford Smith airport.

Farewell photo as Sydney Kingsford Smith airport.

 Beijing Airport - resting in the transit area, trying to recover from the adverse reaction to the breakfast food. This is not the spot I slept through and missed my connection, but similar.

Beijing Airport - resting in the transit area, trying to recover from the adverse reaction to the breakfast food. This is not the spot I slept through and missed my connection, but similar.

Day - minus 18

With less than 3 weeks to my departure on May 24, 2014 from Sydney to Penzance (via Beijing, Stockholm, London) the plans is to solo/unsupported cycle:

1. LEJOG - Lands End to John O'Grootes - approx 1,500km in 15 days
(May 25 - June 9, 2014)
2. IOM TT - Island of Man TT motorcycle race- overnight visit via Heysham ferry for a look at practice.
3. 300km Vatternrundan cycle event. Dept Fri 13 June @ 20:58). Plan for 13 hrs finish.

Training has been 150km/wk for last 2 yrs, and last 3 wks is now 200km/wk. Hoping LEJOG is training for Vatternrundan.

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