29/07/2010 - 29/07/2010 20 °C
We have no qualms about packing in the calories of a Full English before hitting the road in the morning. Battlesbridge is famous for its Antique centres, but they don't open until 10, so we dont hang around other than for a couple of photos of this pleasant little place.
Following the Sat Nav is much easier now we're in the countryside, and we amble down pleasant little country lanes to Maldon. Having set off at a sensible time, we're not in such a rush today, and that's just as well - the bones and joints and muscles all ache. I've been reliably informed that nappy-rash cream is ideal for relieving more delicate sores, but I'm still going to pamper myself today with a padded seat cover.
The weather is British. Howling light breezes. Torrential tiny spots of rain for a full 30 seconds. The sunshine is rudely interrupted by white clouds. Temperatures soar to an unbearable 20C. Perfect cycling weather - absolutely perfect. Long may this continue.
In Maldon (famous for its sea salt, apparently), we head down to a pub (of course) at the quay, and Dave finds a key in his pocket - for the room at last night's B&B. Oops! It's too far now to go back, so we'll have to put it in the post.
A few short miles further on in Tolleston Major and it's time for a country pub lunch. Then another few miles after that we pull in for an ice cream at the Abberton reervoir nature reserve. That's then just a few miles short of Colchester, where we do a few chores. Breaking this trip into small chunks like that makes it all quite manageable, even if I'm still probably piling on more calories than I'm burning! I'm also going through quite a few litres of water... if you haven't already, please go to www.justgiving.com/BenHambidge to donate a couple of quid to WaterAid.
Dave stays with me as far as Manningtree, 10 miles morth of Colchester. He's tempted to catch the ferry with me to the Netherlands, but wants to stay married. Those last few miles take us along some gorgeous country lanes with no traffic at all, and then a fantastic downhill - I see the cycle computer just touch 60km/hour.
Manly goodbyes at the station, and I'm on my own. This is it! I couldn't have got through the first bit without David - at least not at that pace - but now I've achieved that, it all seems more manageable. I've got another 10 miles to my B&B, just outside Harwich, and I take this at a leisurely pace, enjoying the scenery. I'm watching the Sat Nav count down the kilometres until I'm just 2km away.... and it leads me down a VeRy BuMpY TrAcK...ending in a private residence. So it's back down the vErY bUmPy tRaCk and I have to find another way round... on my own! Oh no! Eventually I get to the other side, and it seems it was intending me to go straight across a field. Hmmm. Someone that has experience and qualifications in technology and transport should really sort this out. Now where can I find such an one?
Final suicide mission was to cross the busy A120 to the Farm Cottage B&B, arriving to a friendly welcome, piping hot shower and hearty meal. Thanks Andy! Anyone looking for somewhere to stay in the area, visit www.farmcottage.org.uk