Today in my training I decided to ride on the iconic Land’s End to St Ives coast road up Eagles Nest past Zennor, one of the toughest roads in West Cornwall, and personally one of my favourites, even if I hate it on a rough windy day. I once read a cycling writer say something along the lines of “when the cycling gods made roads they started at Zennor”.
I’m really looking forward to going to Spain next week… smooth tarmac, big mountains, sunny weather, and I expect it’s going to be luxury after riding on the Lands End coast road, which has very rough tarmac and steep short climbs that put you in suffer mode, even if you want to take it easy.
The weather is usually foggy, rain and very windy, and of course the coast road isn’t luxury, but it’s quiet in winter – yes the road is mine, where I can focus, forgetting everything else, just hearing the waves crashing in the distance and the howling atlantic wind. Just me and the bike on the lonely road, surrounded by the moors.
It’s funny how your mind can wander on long training rides. Passing the old derelict mining ground and granite buildings always got me thinking that this road used to be busy with horses and traffic, with hard-nut tin miners heading to work.
The Eagle’s Nest is my favourite part, possibly the toughest hill on the road. You can see the house perched at the edge of the cliff at the top, while you’re at the bottom of the hill, and at that point you know that the hill is long and tough, but not only that, the typical coastal winds blowing at you head on, forcing you not to climb, but you do.
So that’s what I love about it, to keep pushing and pushing until you get to the top, and once you’ve reached, you are rewarded with an astonishing view with a descent.
After enjoying blasting through the coast road I had to re-join the main road full of traffic with stressful drivers, beeping at the red lights. I have to keep my eyes wide open, repeated stop and go, difficult to keep the flow and rhythm of power.
The road was noisy, very noisy. It made me think about the lonely road by the coast with pure clean ocean air, traffic free, not worrying about anything, just constant power and focus. The coast road will always be my road.