After travelling to Devon on Sunday and a days relaxation and family visiting on Monday it was back on the bike on Tuesday. In the morning we went for an easy, relaxing ride along ‘The Exe Trail’ to Exmouth.
Late in the afternoon I took a ride to Bovey Tracey and then up to the summit of Haytor. I have never ridden up it before but its a ride I wanted to do, I missed out on it the last few times I have been down here and I wanted to know what the Tour of Britain riders were going to experience on Thursday.
The climb is much steeper than it looks when driving up it was my first and lasting reaction. The climbing starts as soon as you leave Bovey Tracey with a gradient that varies between 6% and 14-15%, the 6% bits in between the steep bits allowed a little relaxation of sorts. Most of the ride was under the cover of trees until about the last kilometre which is on open moorland. and winds up again to the summit gradually getting steeper from the National Trust shop and the final 200metres is about 12%.
I made it to the top in 39 minutes for the 10km from ‘home’ just outside Chudleigh Knighton via Bovey Tracey. Thirty minutes of it was actually climbing Haytor.
After a few minutes recovery and a couple of photos I was on my way back down again and the actual descent took me 9 minutes. There was a ‘dodgy’ moment on the way down when three wild Dartmoor ponies decided to cross the road at a leisurely pace just as I was approaching them at about 60kph. Some heavy braking brought me to a virtual standstill within stroking distance of them. The whole 20km trip took just under an hour.
On Wednesday it was a trip to Budleigh Salterton, a quaint old fashioned seaside town. A very un-commercialised town. I took quite a few photos there but I will publish those in a gallery when I get home along with Tewkesbury photos.
Today, Thursday it was Tour of Britain day locally. For the third year in succession the Tour was coming to Devon. It passed within a mile but we biked into Bovey Tracey and found a nice vantage point about a kilometre up the climb. It had a good view down the hill so plenty of time to see the riders approaching and maybe they would be going slow enough to get a good view of them. A slow climb for them is equal to about my speed on a flat road but they are more than a few years younger than me. I am afraid I didnt take any pictures because my previous experience tells me that you see more of the race and riders and who is who if you don’t see it through a camera lens. I did pick out Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish riding up side by side right in front of me.