It was a cold wet start to the 2013 Exmoor Beast, the annual cycling challenge to conquer the hills of Exmoor. At least the thunderstorms that had woken us up through the night had subsided and we arrived in Tiverton at first light, planning our start time to be as early as we could without actually needing lights.
The team were Andrew and Christian, both Exmoor locals and myself and Simon – who’d come up for the event. Despite having some good base fitness from my Lands End to Lowestoft tour earlier this year, that was 3 months ago and my training has seriously tailed off since then – certainly not the training I would want to do for 67 miles of Exmoor with 6,000ft of climbing. We were on the shorter of the two routes – the longest being 100 miles – but 100 km over Exmoor is quite enough of a challenge thank you!Read the rest of this entry »
Andy and I made a welcome return to our mountain bikes yesterday when we took part in the Trail Break ride at Woodcote, Oxfordshire. Trail Break organise several rides throughout the season for both road and mountain bikers and each ride has a number of different lengths to suit all abilities. We do one or two of these a year, normally as training for a bigger trip, or in this case as a post big trip meetup.
They are well worth the entry fee (£13 for the standard distance) mostly because the route is well thought through and clearly marked. This means we get to go and ride some great trails we wouldn’t normally find without having to worry about navigation or ending up down some heavily rutted and overgrown bridleway (which tends to happen when finding my own MTB routes!). You also get timed, and there are drinks stops and refreshment stands at the start and finish and it’s nice to see some other cyclists and talk about their favourite routes.
We had a pleasant ride on the standard (41KM) route – no insane climbs, some enjoyable fast single track, 1 puncture (Andy) and 1 minor off (me – thankfully onto some soft dirt). We were pleased to find that endurance wise we found the distance very comfortable so clearly have retained at least some of our fitness from our recent Lands End to Lowestoft road trip. Roll on more of these – a great excuse to meet up and get out on our mountain bikes!
On June 22nd 2013 Andy, Tom and I set out to ride from Lands End to Lowestoft – the western most point of mainland Britain to the eastern most point.
In the end we covered 505 miles over the 8.5 day ride.
£3,367.25 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support.
- had only one puncture on the whole trip
- introduced the world to the personality of Sharon – our GPS unit.
- ate a whole lot of food! (especially Mars bars in Andy’s case)
- had a ton of fun
Thanks to all those who followed the trip – it meant a lot to see that people were interested in following along.
If you want to read all the posts from the trip as they happened you can do so here.
Here’s some of the best pictures along with the map of our route again:
We made it to Lowestoft!
Despite the ominously named finish road (gas works lane) it was a great finish with welcoming party complete with Sharon banner (she is more famous than us now?), union jack flags, champagne and commemorative tankards. The weather was lovely as well.
As we are about to ride the last 24 miles of our Lands End to Lowestoft trip some thanks are in order… Read the rest of this entry »
Today we reached Suffolk and it is flat flat flat! Well not totally, but the hills are little baby ones. For the first time I think it felt like we were just going for a ‘nice ride’ – albeit a 61 mile one.
We have arrived in Cambridge! It seemed to take so long to get out of the West Country but we are now racing east and are only a day and a half riding from our destination Lowestoft!
Some stats for the day: Read the rest of this entry »
We are currently holed up in a pub in a place called st Neots hiding from the rain.
Some poetry for the day: Read the rest of this entry »
We made quick progress over today’s 66 miles despite some killer hills right at the end and the spots of rain we got were actually welcome, cooling us down slightly.
We are now in the lovely Staverton park hotel just west of Daventry. This hotel would have been well over our normal budget for this trip if it wasn’t for the special deal I got – the appropriately named: “summer love special” – well, appropriate for Andy and Sharon (the GPS) at least who are the only team members sharing a room. They are probably doing their Yoga together right now actually…
Read the rest of this entry »
The kind of tour we are on would be best termed light weight touring. We are carrying a minimum of gear and staying in hotels (rather than say, camping). I’m carrying just 1 set of cycling clothes and 1 set of evening gear, though the evening gear is mostly also made up of cycling/outdoor clothing for weight and ease of washing. Here’s my routine each night on arrival at my hotel room: Read the rest of this entry »