Friday, 27 April 2012

Exmoor Forest, far easier than I thought it would be...

I've driven down the road into Lynmouth many times over the years and I've even walked up it to watch the Tour of Britain go by but up until now I've never cycled up it. The roads round that part of Devon are steep enough to give my car grief and on a busy summers day the smell of the sea is usually overpowered by the odour of burnt clutch and ruined brakes.

Even though Lynmouth is in a particularly steep part of North Devon the route was only graded as a 3/10 and I was pleasantly surprised that the initial part of the ride was pretty easy going. The ride up the valley road early in the morning was really picturesque and the sound of my efforts was drowned out by the River Lyn and bird song. I was even able to use something other than bottom gear.

Once I turned off the main road however the climb got steeper as it climbed through the last part of the forest. At one point I was starting to think that the gradient was never going to slacken off but after two steep hairpin bends I slowly climbed onto the edge of Exmoor. Once up on the top the views really opened up and I was able to stop wheezing like a 60 a day smoker, get into a higher gear and rattle along at a fair old pace. I didn't hang around too long up the top however as I could see storm clouds gathering and the temperature dropped. Its probably a ride I'll do again however as it was a great feeling being up on Exmoor and I was sorely tempted to keep following the road for a few more miles.

                                                     The view was rather good up top

The ride back down to the car was lumpy to say the least. On the way up I'd been moving slowly enough not to notice the rough road surface. On the descent I was bounced all over the road. The footage of that part of the ride is punctuated by the sound of me swearing and swerving all over the place. Not good viewing.

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