The hilly day……
Todays ride takes in over 11,000 ft of climbing in around 120 miles, so should be very different to yesterdays flattish ride.
After a bit of a lie in and a good breakfast at the Premiere Inn, we were off at 8:41am – and yes, the beds are as comfy as they are in the advert (although Justin bagged the double bed and I had the single…).
The first 15 mins or so were…uncomfortable….until the bum adjusts again to a day in the saddle. After the first steady climb and drop into Taunton we hit the Blackdown Hills for the first real climb of the day, but with seasoned legs it wasn’t any problem.
The road soon dropped and we stopped for breakfast just after 25 miles at a cafe in The Square, Uffculme (can’t remember the cafe name but it’s the house in the photo). The porridge and honey was a winner.
Following breakfast the road had an overall downwards slope for 20 miles or so, allowing breakfast to settle, until we reached Exeter which was the planned lunch stop for the day and where we would be meeting Andrew and a few others (whose names are omitted so they don’t get into trouble – you know who you are!). Pizza Express was the lunch venue and we chilled, taking in the sights, until the others arrived for pizza.
With Andrew with us we began the climb towards Dartmoor, with a noticeable increase in the steepness and length of the climbs – slow and steady was the way forward.
Unfortunately Andrew had to turn back and ride back to Exeter just before we got into Dartmoor proper – he still had a few climbs to get back too.
The climb to the highest point of the day in Dartmoor was really enjoyable, with sunny weather and just a gentle headwind. Wild horses crossing the path and the odd ice-cream van for temptation, the climb was soon over and the views were spectacular.
Reaching the highest point however, the climbing was far from over, with only around half the climbing and half the distance for the day in the bag. After a quick snack and pee stop the road undulated before dropping into Tavistock and continuing on for a quick stop at the Gunnislake Stores for a snack and drinks top up at around 85 miles in. Although nowhere near as hot as yesterday it was still hot riding and fluids needed to be kept topped up – hydration tablets were a winner too.
The roads of Devon and Cornwall live up to their reputation of being ‘up-and-down’ and the next chunk of the ride was just that – short, steep climbs with short, rapid descents….again and again and again. This was really enjoyable riding and definitely preferable to the monotonous flat sections of the previous day. A quick pee in the entrance to Dobwalls Quarry was a sure sign we were hydrated enough. Spotting the sea for the fist time we knew the end of the day was close, and we cruised into St. Austell and to the White Hart Hotel.
Even though they had finished serving food about 30 mins before we arrived, the Hotel were happy to feed us and we ordered our rare steaks before ditching the bikes and heading to the room for a quick shower. The room phone rang and our food was ready – brilliant service. Downstairs we were treated to a local husband and wife duo on the guitar and mic, and the food and local beer was outstanding. After initially thinking we would have to walk into town for a McD’s this was a real treat.
Excellent food and service! The room was very comfortable too with a huge walk in shower that helped wash away the dirt of the day. Definitely a place worth a stay if you are in the area.
118.4 miles, 10:02:47 in the saddle, 11,598 ft of climbing, averaging 11.8 m.p.h. Hilly but great days riding.