There were a few tears as I rode out of Okehampton this morning. Partly because it was the last day, partly because I was really tired from the day before, and partly because I didn't want to go up anymore hills.
It was a rough start - we went off and were almost immediately climbing. As foretold, the climbs weren't long, but they were very, very steep.
From the start, we wound our way south to Launceston and then towards Bodmin Moor. I discovered that the climbing went better when I focused on the road just ahead of my front wheel as opposed to looking up the road and worrying about how steep it was. After about 20 miles, I started feeling pretty good, although my thigh muscles were beginning to consider absconding to the Caribbean before they were completely ripped to shreds. Thankfully the last few miles into the first pit stop were mostly downhill, and we made the first 38 miles in about three hours.
From there we headed up, down, up, down, and one long last up into Truro. We were riding along tiny little back roads, some with grass growing down the middle. I started to get worried with every downhill, because I knew that meant another sharp, steep hill to climb. On any other day, it would have been totally demoralizing, but these were the last miles on the last day - every hill climbed was one hill closer to the finish.
We had one fairly flat section at 98 miles, running along the shore in Penzance. At 100 miles, we hit the steepest climb of the entire ride, and I discovered that my ankle actually could handle standing to climb, once my quads were screaming loudly enough that is. All five of us made it to the top, where we paused to catch our breath and curse Mr. Cook roundly. From there, it was continued up, down, up until we finally hit the main road and the straight shot to the finish line.
And just like that, it was done.
Day 9: 111/965/~953