Updated: Sep 10, 2019
And so on to the coast and I am leaving mainland Europe behind. I have loved and hated individual parts of the ride, as is inevitable when you spend so much time in the saddle. But as a whole, I have loved it all. It has delivered everything I wanted. It's not over because I still have ride for a bit on the other side and then into London tomorrow, but I am writing this part of the blog on the ferry across the Channel. I am already missing the Adventure and the discovery of it all. Yes it has been hard, but worth the effort. I won't say it's 'once in a lifetime experience' because I already know I want more. Strangely I've loved the downs as much as the ups, because overcoming them in incredibly rewarding.
This morning I left Roubaix feeling heavy legged. It was hard going and I don't know why. I just couldn't get myself going physically or mentally. I hadn't slept well and have continued my usual practice of being a mosquito magnet. I must have 30 bites on me and last night it seemed like they to be itching or pulsing in turns. I should have been happy to be heading home. Even the Garmin was playing ball now that I had deleted the EuroVelo 5 route. It seems it's just the sheer size of that file that the Garmin couldn't handle. I was now following a new route sent to me by a friend rather than using EuroVelo 5, because I was heading for Dunkirk instead of Calais. The route took me back into Belgium briefly and just for old times sake there was a town with 500m of cobbles, which if nothing else allowed me to send home a moaning text message. But the cobbles were short lived, as were the sections of cross wind. Belgium was just acting like a teenager muttering under its breath after it's lost an argument. At 80km I reached the outskirts of Dunkirk and there were no signs for the ferry port. Another check revealed it was a further 17km along the coast. For a few brief moments I was annoyed with the guy who sent me the route (sorry Kimbo). Then I reminded myself it was entirely my fault for not specifying the end destination and reviewing what had been sent. Not for the first time on this trip, changing my mindset was all important because there was no alternative to getting back on and riding the extra distance - another 25km in the end. I have learned over and over on this trip that changing your own mindset is essential. I am always telling others to do do. I should take a little of my own medicine.