Tuesday 18 August 2015

Day 2 – Up and Over Dartmoor Followed by a Few (Killer) Hills

Most people I've spoken to about Lejog get a a knowing look in their eyes when talking about day 2.Well, from today I've acquired the same knowing look. Leaving Liskeard we set out at a gentle pace and made good progress. I had a bonding moment with fellow rider Dave when I lost my balance and attempted to knock him over at a crossroads while I was looking round to make sure there were no other riders behind me. The rest of the group will tell you that I was more likely looking at another cyclist, not part of our group, who was looking at her map for directions. Anyway, no damage done apart from minor bruising of my pride.

We made good progress towards Tavistock with a few long but not especially steep climbs. Gradually Dartmoor came into view and we were quickly onto the famed Rundlestone Climb. This takes you up to the top of Dartmoor. Apart from a couple of sections at the start, it is not especially steep, but it is long – very long. I completed the climb in 31 minutes. The target time in Simon Warren’s book (a sort of climber’s bible) is 28 minutes so I was quite pleased with my attempt.

Then after regrouping we managed to roll along quite briskly over the top of Dartmoor. So briskly that Dave and I failed to spot Ray waiting with lunch so my beer bribery the previous evening was obviously wasted. Dave and I rode on to Moretonhampstead where we dined alfresco on the best the local Co-op had to offer.

After a quick lunch we were off again and the “fun” really started. A constant succession of steep climbs and sharp descents as we crossed the deep valleys in this part of south west Devon. These were really strength sapping and on a couple of them I could barely manage to keep moving forward. My long weeks of training certainly paid off today- this was some of the hardest riding I have done for a very long time.

After a very steep descent to Crediton we were through the toughies with only a long drag and a few kicks up before reaching our Tiverton, our overnight base. My little old legs certainly knew they had been given a workout today. Following a refreshing shower as soon as I arrived I felt half-human again!

Miles today 67
Total miles from Land’s End  148
Miles to John o’Groats  838

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