A day that should have been memorable for reaching the south eastern corner of the UK seems to have been anytihng but. All started well enough and after saying goodbye to Dan and Val, I freewheeeled down into Canterbury and spent all of 15 minutes cruising round the Cathederal and ancient streets before getting back into the pace. Surely this is just a taster for a real trip!
The loss of the Garmin has significant consequences as, unless I stop frequently to check the map, I need to keep to major roads. Again, I am on a schedule to reach Hastings in time to say a few words after the 1800 mass so need to crack on. The A2 into Dover was memorable as Andy Dogherty, (who is to join the ride on Monday in Worthing), John Hughes and I, rode the final few miles into Dover along the A2 when we rode on our first big biking adventure, The Mission to Seafarer's Tour Pour La Mer ride, in 2006. At least the traffic on this occasion was lighter, but the expected exhillarating 1.5 mile ride down Jubilee Way into the docks didn't materialise due to very strong head winds. The result was a hasty snap of the cliffs and then out of Dover and up the A20 towardes Folkstone, where I planned a coffee break.
The A20 out of Dover is a nightmare for a cyclist. A long grinding hill, juggernauts passing at speed and a lack of hard shoulder all make for a depressing ride. Add the wretched head wind and to compound that, a puncture as well, and my misery was complete :-( I was able to get away from the road by climbing the grass banking to a refuge at the concrete base of a large sign post, change the tube and resume the climb feeling none too happy.
Leaving the A20 into Fokstone was a relief, but the head wind remained with me for the entire day. Losing time to fix the flat, I skipped the coffee break and made up time until encountering a bike shop-cum-cafe. With soup on the menu, I ordered this and then went across to the bike section to buy a new tube. As you do, I fell into an intersting bike conversation with the owner, and when I returned to the cafe, the soup I'd ordered 15 minutes previously was lying on a table. The kindly girl at the counter asked as to whether it might be cold, and if I would like it warmed up. Of course I agreed, but was taken aback when her technique for warming it was to add boiling water! Sorry she said, we dont have a microwave! Oh well, at least it was hot...
The ever-reliable reception committee in Hastings - Salvina and her daughter, Candice - was waiting on arrival and the Seawheeling banner up to announce this memorable event. A quick hot drink and then off to the church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, for the vigil mass. Many thanks to Fr O'Brian for giving us this opportunity and for the parishioners for their kind contributions.
My host in Worthing was Elizabeth McReadie, but this kind hearted lady needed to be away. Nevertheless, she put me in the capable hands of her son John, who was a gracious host. He did, however, recommend that we might prefer to eat out and so we took in large helpings of pasta at a local Italian. A very pleasant end to a tough day.