|Eating the monster from the deep|
- yes, lobster does make you go faster
Straight out of Tavistock was the road into Dartmoor, and instantly the road kicked up the Rundlestone climb. A strange beast, this is rated 7/10 by Simon Warren, and probably would be a killer climb if it didn't have a strange descent in the middle of it. I had forgotten this part of the profile map, so reaching the first 'summit' thought that the climb was over. After a short downhill section, the road went upwards again in a similar manner - again, nothing too difficult although I could have done without the headwind.
|A slightly exaggerated view of what a |
Dartmoor pony looks like
|The view from the top of Rundlestone|
|Sheep (left) and horsey-sheepy (right)|
|Foggy, but not that foggy|
After Dartmeet, there was only a small distance to cover before reaching the pretty village of Widecombe, complete with over-size church and inviting-looking cake shop. Unfortunately, cake is on the 'banned' list for Lent so I pushed on up the 7/10 rated Widecombe climb. Similar to Rundlestone, this was fairly manageable once out of the the saddle and in the right gear - with the added bonus of being arrow straight, and with great views both up and down. I had agreed to meet Selene at the top for a bite of lunch so I set down in the car park waiting for her arrival. Unfortunately, Selene had been held up by the driver in front of her carelessly running over some livestock (the animal was unidentified, but apparently it was too big to be a sheep and to small to be a horse - I can only home that the horesey-sheepy I had spotted earlier hadn't thrown himself in front of a car in a fit of angst at his lack of identity). There is very little mobile signal in the middle of Dartmoor, so after around 20 minutes of waiting with no clue as to the hold-up, the car emerged over the brow of the hill and I jumped in to warm up and chow down on some delicious Tavistock market food.
|Instagram view from the top of Widecombe|
|Undignified instagram self-portrait. Smile, man!|
|Slightly reluctant to get out of the warm, food-loaded car|
|View from the top of Haytor |
(conveniently the rest of the hill has been obscured...)
The road out of the city down the coast wasn't so pleasant, being narrow and very busy with cars - climbing gradually again before descending into Otterton (which has a disappointing lack of otters, despite the name). Another sharp surprise hill sent me way up above the town of Sidmouth with a view across to the final hill up the opposite cliffs. After an extremely short and sharp descent into Sidmouth, dodging OAP drivers, I ended up lacing through the town going the wrong way up one-way streets as my Garmin demonstrated once again that it's not the best for town-based riding. Finally making it to the base of Salcombe Hill Road, the last push up the climb was again a tough one (rated 5/10, but in my opinion significantly harder than Haytor Vale). Rising up through dappled forest and past an observatory, there was plenty to distract me from the gradient, and 10 minutes later I emerged over the brow of the hill, where Selene had walked up to. A quick smooch (not sure she appreciated my salt-encrusted face, but I enjoyed it!) and I headed back down to the car for the 'get changed in a car park' routine again. Oh the cycles of life...
|Top of Salcombe - with bare arms in March!|
|Recovery picnic on the seafront|