If you have read the previous entry, you'll know that the weather meant that the climb of Crewcombe Coombe was impossible, and so with a stomach still brimming with fried breakfast I set off to tick that one off the list. Conscious sated and ego soothed, I headed back to the B&B to meet to with Clive for the day's ride across Exmoor. From the outset we knew that it was going to be a hard ride, and in Exmoor the road never flattens out. After coming through several showers and dipping down to the coastal town of Watchet and returning back to the busy A39, we turned off towards Luccombe and the hills of Exmoor-proper. The first hill was Dunkery Beacon, which started as a lovely climb through the forest before plateauing out and then kicking back up towards the bleak top of the moor. On the way up, I came across this chap who I chatted to briefly - if you watch the video you can see me at about 2.25, and let's just say I was envious of all of his gears especially on the steep bits towards the top of the hill!
|Clive getting to the top of Dunkery|
Reaching the village at the bottom after topping out at nearly 50mph, it soon became clear that nothing was open on a Sunday, so we turned around and headed straight back up. Porlock is a hill to be taken seriously - so seriously that it offers all who dare to climb it an alternative route (via a toll booth, naturally). Heading past the first hairpin (with the smell of burning clutches hanging heavy in the air), the climb just keeps on dishing out the pain with long stretches of 20+% before 'flatting out' to a mere 13% to the top. Fortunately for us, Selene had the forethought to buy up the last remaining sandwiches in Porlock before the shops closed, and we sat under the boot of the car stuffing our semi-traumatised faces to bring us back down to Earth.
|Climbing Porlock - so slowly that Selene could take multiple exposures|
|Clive executing a perfect zig-zag climb manoeuvre in an attempt to reduce the gradient|
Our penultimate climb was the 'Exmoor Forest' out of Lynmouth - a measly 3/10 and really gentle compared to Dunkery, Porlock and Crewcombe. The gradient probablt didn't get above 10% for the entire length and the sun had even come out so we were able to enjoy the meandering views over the ravine below. Reaching the top (and the highest point in Exmoor apparently) we had a quick pow-wow with Selene in the team car and then pushed on for our final destination on the coast.
After that it was a case of get changed, repack the car, drive to Tiverton to drop Clive off on the train, and then drive down to Hayle. The perfect recovery activities! Let's just say that not many of the snacks in the car made it to the end of the drive...
|Clive on his last legs|
|Finally reaching the top of Challacombe|