Perranporth to Wadebridge: a very difficult day - Southwest England in April - CycleBlaze

April 17, 2014

Perranporth to Wadebridge: a very difficult day

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490 metres (1607 feet) up, steepest grade 14%


After a good night's sleep and a fine breakfast, we left Trevian Lodge and just at the edge of Perranporth immediately encountered a long steep hill. Eva started feeling a bit faint, and when we stopped for a rest her pulse rate did not slow down to normal. She occasionally gets tachycardia, rapid heart beat, but not usually while exercising. The tachycardia can last for as little as a few minutes, but sometimes goes on for hours. It means that she has no energy, and the slightest exertion is exhausting. Here we were at the very beginning of our cycling day, and she had to walk up even the slightest incline.

We kept hoping the tachycardia would go away, but it continued, and when we reached tiny St. Newlyn East we stopped at a pub to get some hot chocolate, since sugar sometimes helps. Unfortunately at 11:30, the pub wasn't open yet, and the proprietor suggested we try at the local shop. The shop had some powdered Aero to mix with hot water, but no place to sit out of the cool wind. We perched uncomfortably on a bench outside the church and drank the brew, but it didn't make any difference and we continued slowly onward. Al would cycle up a hill, leave his bike and walk back down to take Eva's bike so she didn't have to push it. It took us four hours to travel the 24 kilometres to St. Coulomb Major, our lunch stop. Of course today it turned out that nothing there was open for lunch. The pubs only served food at dinner and the tea shop had closed a few months ago. We were left with the Co-op supermarket where Al found some sandwiches and fruit. A bit of sun came out as we sat on a bench overlooking a parking lot, so it wasn't too cold.

Emerging from the grocery store in St. Coulomb Major where we found some sandwiches and some water
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The bench in the car park where we stopped to eat
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Topping up the water bottles for the second half of the ride
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After lunch, with Eva's pulse still racing, Al decided to modify our route the rest of the way to Wadebridge. Today was “Good Thursday” the day before Good Friday and the start of the Easter long weekend. Traffic was predicted to be very heavy, and Al had mapped a route avoiding the main roads. He decided to take the more direct A39 and hope for the best. It was a shorter distance to Wadebridge and hopefully there would be fewer hills. It turned out to be infernally busy and noisy and actually quite dangerous with no shoulder most of the way, and there were still some hills. However we finally made it to the very nice Wadebridge B&B, on a quiet street a few blocks above the city centre. Our host, Steve, was solicitous, carried Eva's panniers upstairs and parked our bikes in his garage. He brought us a tray of tea and biscuits, and we were finally able to rest in our warm and comfortable room with its view over the rooftops of Wadebridge.

The much-appreciated pot of tea revived our spirits after our arrival
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Looking down from the landing outside our room at the breakfast room at the B&B in Wadebridge
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Steve, a model for thoughtful efficiency, had put together a binder full of restaurant menus, and we chose Warnes in the central pedestianized area for dinner. This was downhill from the B&B, so Eva had no trouble walking there. The restaurant was completely booked, but they had a table available downstairs in the bar, which was fine with us. Al had tomato soup to start and Eva chose the poached pear, blue cheese and rocket salad. We both had haddock with a pea-lettuce fricassee for a main course. The meal was good and the rise in blood sugar may have helped Eva because on the way back up the hill, her pulse rate suddenly returned to normal—what a relief!

Today's ride: 38 km (24 miles)
Total: 276 km (171 miles)

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