The ride up to the top of Dunkery Beacon was the second of the rides I undertook on the 18th March. I did it with Porlock Hill still hurting my legs and so got off to a slow and wobbly start.
Dunkery Beacon is a relentless climb; you start with no run up to it and are immediately faced with a 17% gradient. I'll be honest, as I rode past my car parked in a layby I was quite tempted to get in and drive to the top. Then I remembered that firstly it is an underpowered Fiat and so would probably struggle as much as I was. Secondly thats not really the point of all these climbs is it? So I decided sticking on my bike was the most honourable option.
Dunkery was full of surprises following the mauling I received at the hands of Porlock. For a start I wasn't alone. There were loads of fellow cyclists out and about, even somebody I know (hello James, I may well take you up on that offer for some company on the rides in Kent and London). The climb was also, to an extent, quite manageable. Ok, I'm not going to win a mountain stage in the Tour de France anytime soon but my 'stick the bike in bottom gear and grind up' approach seemed to work OK. It isn't the most elegant way to get to the top of Exmoor but then I doubt I'm the most elegant of cyclists.
The views on the way up Dunkery and from the top were also fantastic. I'm sure in the more typical Exmoor weather of low cloud and sideways rain I would feel differently but the scenary did help lessen the pain of the climb.
Finally there was the descent back down from the top. I was a bit knackered by the time I started heading down but unlike Porlock I was able to relax on this climb a bit more and build up a bit of speed.
When I get a chance I'll upload the descent video. I reckon it took me about 40 minutes to get to the top (I did stop to 'admire the view' a few times) and just over 5 minutes to get back down again.
Next ride will be on the 31st March when I take on Cheddar Gorge.