Julian is a very strong single-speed rider, having ridden the Shark every month last year I believe. Have managed to persuade him to join ACH so now have four finishers for LLEL I believe!
The ride was fairly firmly pitched at experienced randonneurs only so was surprised by the DNS/DNF rate as well - @motoko witnessed that when I found out I was 8th back just after him & Anne.
I had previously abandoned the Cornish Riveria Express due to the atrocious levels of traffic so was mentally prepared for that, but of course it's only got worse over the last two years and will probably continue to deteriorate until the sea level has risen enough to destroy Cornwall as a tourist destination.
Turns out I messed my calculations up, not compensating for my 30mm rear tyre, so rather than being on 77" then gearing down in Langport to 71", actually did it on 79"/74", which might explain the amount of walking I had to do but generally happy with my setup.
Having experienced the Blackdown hills before on the Brimstone 600 knew what to expect and opted to avoid them on the way back. Had originally planned to bivvy outside Taunton Deane services, but having seen the forecast and the thought of carrying an extra kg of gear didn't appeal so made a last minute £80 booking for Tiverton Parkway Travelodge which was worth every penny. This also meant my last day the shortest which I knew psychologically would help a lot, and could set off at the relatively civilised time of 6:30 to make the control closing time at Langport with ease.