Once again there’s been some great stuff going on judging by all your blogs. And whilst it’s been fantastic to have some long over due decent weather it certainly adds another dimension to this exercise lark.Not much running to report from this neck of the woods, during the last fortnight I’ve only run the once a lovely 5 miler around the costal path. Again not fast but as so many of us finding out with these runs times aren’t important its going out completing a different challenge and enjoying what’s right on our doorstep.
The lack of running has been due to last weekend’s Dartmoor Classic cycling sportive. The last couple of years I’ve completed the 107 mile version. This year there was a group of us from the running club who had entered the 67 mile version. Despite having done as many of the preps as possible on the Sat evening we still had an early start on the Sunday. It was clear even when I left the house at just before 7 it was hot damn hot and was only going to get hotter.We arrived at Newton Abbot race course at about 7.40 it was clear that everybody seemed to have the same idea, get as much of the tough stuff done before it got too hot. Oh what a difference a year makes. Last year I wore a base layer, cycling shirt, gillet and foul weather jacket and was cold and wet virtually the whole way round and here I was wearing a cycling shirt, sun cream and I was sweating and we hadn’t even startedYou start off from a pen on a first come first served basis, we finally managed to get away at 08:40. It soon became apparent that it was going to be very busy in the early stages with a lot people riding very close together.
After leaving Newton Abbot we went through Chudleigh Knighton and on towards Bovey Tracey . After about 8 miles we came to the first climb of the day and disaster struck. The guy I was following moved out across my riding line to avoid somebody who just stooped in front of him to get off and walk. Before I could react his back wheel clipped my front wheel and despite fighting the unforced wobble for what seemed an age I went down. Fortunately it happened at low speed and I didn’t take any body else down. Did manage to pick up the standard grazes and bruises to my left hand side and damaged my left wrist which got progressively worse through the day and is still playing up now, damaged ligaments and tendons apparently. The bike didn’t get off scott free either. Wrecked the tape on the handlebars and the impact had moved the brake/gear levers.After a quick check over for both me and the bike and I was off again. By now we were heading to Haytor and the pass the finish of a stage of last years Tour of Britain. But to get out on the main road we had to negotiatea lane that had been re-surfaced recently and it was covered in loose chippings. As you can imagine 2 wheels and loose chipping can be a receipe for yet further disaster. And it happened again on a incline just in front of me and no I wasn’t involved this time. But once again somebody had to get off on one of the climbs this lead to the person behind them loosing momentum and falling off. All done at low speed and not too much damage done. The climb up to Haytor was pretty steady and the views were simply stunning from the top you see for miles, oh for a camera. Then it was a dive down skirting pass Widecombe. By now one thing was clear I could more than hold my own on the climbs and flat section but I was struggling with the down hills. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t hanging about but I seemed to be exercising a lot more caution than some of the others. Hay ho I’d had my one disaster and didn’t fancy repeating it again. By now we passed the 20 mile and the next biggy was the climb through Holne and to me the toughest climb of the day, very narrow and very steep though not particularly long. Yet another downhill before the long steady climb to Two Bridges and a site of the half way point at Princetown..
So 35 miles in a little under 2 and a half hours and a chance to top up the water bottle and grab some goodies from the feed station before heading for home and by far the easier of the 2 half’s. Heading towards Postbridge we soon found ourselves with a head wind fortunately by now the field had become a lot more stretched out and it became a lot more enjoyable. The wind didn’t help at all on the climb out of Postbridge but now there was only one more significant climb left. The next section to Moretonhampstead was particularly quick and the miles were flying by several were knocked off at 2 min/mile pace and certainly helped on cooling me down. Finaly we got to the last climb of the day just a case of dropping it in to a low gear and just keep at a steady pace. Definately think the running fitness helps on the climbs particularly the amount of recovery time I need at the top of the climbs. Then it was another long down hill section through the village of Doccombe and I was suddenly aware that I was all on my own and this may sound a bit selfish but I lved this section the peace and tranquillity were unreal. Then it was a right turn and we were heading for home through the Tegin Valley. Unfortunately this section was littered with road works, I think they’re still trying to repair the winter damage in this neck of the woods, so it was very stop start with the traffic lights which of course everyone was being bunched together again. Once we exited the valley we were well on the road to home and probably the worst part of the ride, a small section that takes you through clay pit country before you hot the out skirts of Newton Abbot and the finish back at the race course. Second half including feed station time was just under 2 hours so definitely and ride of 2 half’s and my first negative split.
Well that should be it for cycling challenges for a while from me and I hope to be able to report on some half decent runs in the next couple of weeks or so. Enjoy yourselves out there what ever you’re doing but stay safe
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