Eventually, however, there was a glimmer of hope on Friday 7th August. Monday or Tuesday looked possible. The excitement should have been considerable, but for the fact that hopes had been dashed several times already. I arranged for further charts to be faxed through on Saturday morning.

When these arrived, I showed them to John, and he cautiously stated that Monday looked 'not unreasonable' for a start. Well, actually Monday morning wouldn't be very good, but from Monday afternoon through to Tuesday night looked favourable. Wednesday was expected to feature light crosswinds.

This was obviously not ideal by any stretch. However, I wanted to make an attempt at the first sensible opportunity. I had previously informed Edwin (the RRA secretary) that I wanted to go on the Monday, with a view to postponing if Saturday's forecasts showed a worsening. At 11am Saturday, I phoned to confirm that Monday was ON.

Then the panic started. The day I'd been looking forward to for ages was approaching! I rushed home and phoned the rest of the team. I also had the foresight to arrange accommodation, about five miles from the start.

In the style of Dave Pitt, I then assembled my tricycles and checked they worked.

The next stage was preparing food for the first 24 hours, and finally getting clothing packed up for several days away.

As a final weather check, John visited Met. Office HQ at Bracknell late on Saturday night. Once he'd talked his way past the security guard, he soon found his way to the 'central control room' - helped no doubt by meeting a forecaster who he'd worked with 40 years ago! The important result from this was that the forecast had not worsened, and in fact seemed slightly better than previously thought.

On Sunday 9th August, Audrey, John and I left for Land's End, in my heavily laden car, with virtually the entire contents of my bike-room (except the bikes, of course).