CTC Lejog 2010

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Day Minus One

I repeated Lejog with the CTC this year, having done it last year, also in July.
British cyclists are obsessed with this tour and indeed there are finer tours you can do in Britain, but this one has the feather-in-the-cap element and I think that that's the attraction.
I decided around Christmas to repeat it, as Mary suggested it and I enjoyed it quite a lot the first time. I cycle all year round, but for this I decided to get extra fit and did about 12 weeks of around 200m/week, including two centuries, some hard hilly stuff , etc. I wanted to lose weight, and I started at 14.10, as against 15.12 last year. Big difference.

I had a different bike as well, a Thorn Raven Tour (Rohloff hub). I decided to bring a lot of gear this year as there was van support and it would carry what we didn't need during the day. This turned out to be a mistake (most of us made it) as we had too much kit to easily find stuff. I actually started with 43lb of kit!
Arriving from Cork in Newquay, courtesy of Southwest Air, I quickly got on the road. My bike flew naked, as they should (they suffer much less damage if they do. I've huge experience behind this statement).
I got on the bike and cycled into Newquay itself. It was quite difficult to get on the correct A road for Redruth (A3075? or some such number. Not A3). This was cycling hell. It was very very hilly, narrow, had hellish traffic and I'd a big load on the bike. I hated it. Eventually got to Redruth. Had to do a small bit on A3. Eventually you reach a place with a left turn, where cyclists are banned from going straight on. This takes you into Redruth. I stayed at the Penventon hotel where Mary and I had stayed for a night on a Cornish tour some years ago. Fine hotel, fantastic restaurant. Had gorgeous meal including sensational Creme Brule with rhubarb. One of the waiters was a double for David Beckham, though he had brown eyes (Everyone tells him that, it appears). I think that Becks has blue eyes, but it's not something that would keep me awake! Had a good night's sleep.

CTC Lejog 2010

CTC Lejog 2010 route map – overnight stops marked TO-01, TO-02, etc

Select pages below to read individual day reports.

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31 comments on “CTC Lejog 2010”

  1. Chris wrote:

    Hi, Garry. Will you be able to keep us up to date almost daily, in the style of Mick F?

    Anyway, good luck, sir 😀

  2. Mary wrote:

    Wishing all the best Garry, I know what you mean with a lot of kit, when I set off on my C2C I travelled light (enough clothing for 3 days only, and washed kit each night, as I stopped at B&B's). Kit does make the bicycle balance very different. And 42 pounds of kit is a lot, but you are going for a long distance, and have to be prepared for everything.

    Will be thinking of you as you go. Keep in touch as much as possible.

    I am doing this trip next summer, so will keep my eyes peeled for your reports.

    Mary

  3. Garry Lee wrote:

    I've actually done the trip folks. I'm just working on a writeup of each day. I only carried about 8lb or so with me every day!

  4. Chris wrote:

    Aha. Yes, the clue comes in the very first sentence, doesn't it? Oh, well. Congratulations 😀

  5. Mary wrote:

    Hi Garry, I have been waiting your report with baited breath, as I am doing this ride next season. (but with another group). I have never stayed at a youth hostel before, and by the sounds of it, I dont think I have missed much. I like my own space and privacy, its going to be bad enough having to share my space with others let alone sharing my 'sleep' space wiht strangers even if of the same gender.

    Although I found B&Bs a bit pricy (I am staying in London shortly with my daughters for less than the price of the B&B's on my C2C trip), but I do prefer good showers and a nicely laid out breakfast arrangement in the mornings. How much does it cost for an over night at a hostel by the way?

    With ear plugs, do you worry, you might miss a fire alarm? I wouldnt use them just because of this fear, but I do not know how much sound they block out.

    What did you do for food and what/where did you eat?

    Your group picture was taken on a brilliant morning by the looks of things and I do love your picture of St Michaels Mount, my parents retired near the Bretton version of this castle in Normandy, Mont St Michel, equally stunning, a twin version of St Michaels Mount.

    Looking forward to the next episode.

  6. Garry Lee wrote:

    I think they cost about 15 pounds or so. We ate in all of them and the food is good. Don't know how much dinner costs as our trip was all pre-paid and we only had to buy about 3 dinners. The breakfasts in the hostels are fine. It's just that many of them have restricted space which makes bringing a lot of kit (as we did as we had support) a mistake. Ear plugs would not block out an alarm as an alarm has a painful volume. I won't be able to continue this account for about 10 days as I'm off cycling to Co.Mayo with Mary. Will continue when I return.
    My advice if staying in a hostel. Don't have too much kit!

  7. Mick F wrote:

    Hi Garry!
    Lostwithiel eh? Not far west from here. I've sat on that bench a few times!

    Great report. I look forward to Day 2.

    No doubt you're off via Minnions and Upton Cross, then perhaps Rilla Mill?

    Regards, and good luck,
    Mick.

  8. Patrick wrote:

    Garry's completed his ride Mick, and doing the writeups bit by bit. He's now away for 10 days somewhere else. This is probably clearer now that the different days are spliced together. I agree... a very good read. It's a pity Land's End and John O'Groats are such a faff to get to and from, but I suppose that is the nature of the beast. If I was doing it – and I'm still planning to – I'd avoid most hostels. Like Mary, I'd want my own room. Travelodge is ideal in my experience, if you can find them in the right locations and with a Little Chef next door.

  9. Kern wrote:

    Hi Garry,

    Irish whiskey: on our exit from Dublin I picked up a bottle of 12 year old Red Hen – lovely, lovely stuff. It almost got confiscated at our last connection in Toronto (Toronto has a nasty reputation for relieving passengers of their duty-free goods – I wonder where it all goes). I'm with you on American and Canadian whiskeys; they are bad news and are best avoided.

    It sounds like you had a good crew on your tour. Group riding is a bit like group dining – one bad apple can ruin the whole experience. We've ridden with a group only once and soon dropped off to let the others go their merry way, to our mutual relief. So far your comrades are hanging in ... but maybe the fireworks and friction are yet to come! We'll keep following.

  10. Patrick wrote:

    I too wondered about the group dynamic thing, and I agree, they look a good crew. At least when you're out on a bicycle ride you can go ahead, fall back, swap companions, etc, as you would with a party on a walk. Comparative fitnesses comes into it as well. Not so easy to strike out on your own with group dining (not that I'm experienced in either myself).

    The photos really help tell the story.

  11. Garry Lee wrote:

    It was a great group. There was VERY little friction. The previous year there was some and a particular clique formed early on which stuck to themselves. You can be lucky or lucky in this respect, but also, sometimes you have to boot someone out who does not play by the rules. We got rid of a longtime touring companion who was utterly selfish, would turn up with little training and expect people to wait for him and was always looking for a route to avoid paying when it was his turn. He no longer comes and will not be tolerated. The fact that people like that have no insight is no reason to put up with them! The number one criterion in a cycletouring companion (after being fit) is a flexible attitude. Another no-no is the consistently negative person. I must be a good touring companion myself as people are always trying to get me to come touring!

  12. Mary wrote:

    Really been enjoying your write ups Garry.

    When you set off with a group such as you did with the CTC, are you given a map, which has the route on, or do you all cycle wheel to wheel along the route with one leader?

    Do you manage to get the route downloaded into the Garmin, or again are you using it as a bicycle computer and following paper maps? I am doing this ride next year, but with Saddle Skaddaddle and am wondering how long you get with the route.

    Loved the picture of the castle.

    I am having my first 'go' at camping in October! :)

    Something Ive never done before, and hoping it will mean i can afford longer cycle tours. (Have to bring wagon loads of batteries thou' for the GPS).

  13. Patrick wrote:

    Mary wrote: I am having my first 'go' at camping in October!

    Well done Mary. I've camped most years since I was a teenager. I come from a camping family. My parents camped well into their seventies and one of my brothers even camped at University rather than stay in halls of residence. The key to it, I think, is good campsites and good equipment – especially tent and sleeping bag. The main issue for me nowadays is my susceptibility to cold, and noise at night. France is the place to go camping if you get the chance. Warm, and they normally lock the gates at 10.30 pm, which cuts down the risk of noise (except on the 14th of July). Noisey campers is what's put me off it in the UK, but you can get round this if you stick to well-run sites.

    The castle photo on page 12 is a good one, but so is the photo after it.

  14. Garry Lee wrote:

    This year those of us who had our own Garmins were supplied with the routes, the others had Garmins supplied with routes. We had backup maps as well, but I certainly didn't need mine and had little or no trouble navigating apart from getting out of Exeter and one or two other spots. I camped a small bit as a young man but never cyclecamped, but I'm going to do it next year as I intend to do some long tours, now that I'm retired. Maps are fine for simple routes but most of the CTC route is very complex. Would be problematical to follow on a map, as was illustrated last year. This CTC Lejog tour is a fairly new tour. It's hard and last year it knocked 12 lb off me and left me fit, but I've lost another 6lb this year and am the fittest I've been for about 14 years. I would only recommend it to someone who was willing to suffer a bit!! Most of the tours I do are relatively MUCH easier than it.

  15. Hilary wrote:

    Your route looks lovely. I've fancied doing this for sometime & now you've got me really wanting to do it!

    I'll second Patrick's comments about a good tent and sleeping bag, you need to know that if the weather should turn unexpectedly foul in the middle of the night your equipment will cope. I love lying all snug in my sleeping bag listening to the rain hammering on my tent! :)

  16. Kern wrote:

    "Every syllable was carved and gently wrapped in heather ..." – fabulous phrase ...

  17. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, I remember it. Page 13. Overall, the best account I've read of a Land's End to John O'Groats. Tells a very good story indeed, and good photos. Well done Garry.

  18. Garry wrote:

    Thanks Patrick. I learnt how to do it as I went along. The most fun I got out of writing it was that it made me remember details of the route that I wouldn't have otherwise. It has cemented the tour in my brainbox!

  19. Chris wrote:

    Great stuff, Garry. Finally had the time to sit down and read your account all on the same day. Great photographs – page 14 is a particular favourite. (I wish I'd taken a camera on my latest ride. I must make some notes and grab Steve's photographs to help me before I forget things.)

    Well done, sir :smile:

  20. Hilary wrote:

    A great read that's got me itching to do the same myself.

  21. Dave Miles wrote:

    A great write up coupled with excellent photograpghs. I did it in 2003 and a similar route. This brought back lots of good memories. Thanks.

  22. Ian Skinner wrote:

    I enjoyed your End to End account and the dynamics of the group. I have done quite a few long distance cycle tours, the end to end being one. All have been self supported sole tours, it may be that I am just anti social, or that I got great enjoyment was being self reliant and enjoying the encouragement, friendliness and generosity of the people I met though out my tours.
    It may be the wrong impression but I like the solitude and sounds of the countryside you silently pass through at a speed that you can enjoy you environment. I am not convinced that would be the case if I were in a group where I would feel obliged to socialise though out the day and evening.

    One pedantic comment on your account, there is only one lake in Scotland the others are lochs, bit like Ireland.

  23. Garry Lee wrote:

    I've toured by myself a bit too, and enjoy it. It's different. I cycled quite a bit of the tour by myself, as I like to take photographs.
    Loch = lake in Gaelic and Irish. To us they would be exactly the same thing!

  24. Les Deacon wrote:

    Day One of Le Jog 2010. I marshalled on test 4 at Pencalenick this morning. The course closing car arrived with a competitor (red Lotus) immediately behind him. He admitted having seen him turning into the approach road to the test, but would not let him run, saying he was too late. All the marshals on the test were experienced marshals, and ALL were absolutely appalled at the decision, the manner and demeanour of the official. It is not good enough if you want to continue running the event and encourage more entrants. If there is not a reasonable reply to this letter, I for one will not turn out to marshal on this event in the future, and will actively discourage others.

  25. Alan wrote:

    Eh? Pardon? Is that a LeJog with (shudder) cars?

  26. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, I think he's referring to the 2010 HERO Land's End to John O'Groats Reliability Trial and Classic Car Tour (4th to 7th December) – open to cars built before 1984: "rallying as it used to be." Entry fee: £2,250.

  27. Garry Lee wrote:

    An understandable mistake!

  28. Kieron wrote:

    Thanks for the excellent site, could you provide a link to the gpx file or google map route that was used, it seems slightly different to the current c2c yha route.

  29. Patrick wrote:

    Kieron, I think Garry said the CTC's GPS route files are copyright. That's why we didn't include them here, just the map. They probably change things a little each year as well. Thanks for the thumbs up.

  30. Kieron wrote:

    Yep Ive joined CTC , do you know if this route is uploaded – it would be cool to provide a members only link to this ? At the moment I am having probs matching this route with the current YHA and BB routes.

    If not could anyone who has their gpx route(s) still knocking about upload them to CTC, Im sure together with this site they would be much appreciated by newbies.

    Thanks again !

  31. Garry Lee wrote:

    The route is copyright, unfortunately and this was made clear to us. That's why it's not available other than to participants in the tour. It was devised by the famous English Audax cyclist, Sheila Simpson.

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