|Graham - ready for the mountains|
Over the magic bridgeSet off about 9pm over the Clifton suspension bridge, then due west, turning south (although Mark had a puncture around here) to hit the Mendips and the first big climb up the gorge of Burrington Combe. Halfway up here it started raining heavily. A few miles later, zooming down Cheddar Gorge and nearing the bottom (by which time you can easily top 30 mph before braking for the hairpins), some youths doing handbrake turns in their 10-year-old Vauxhall Corsas added to the excitement. Then the first feed stop at which Mark noticed his tyre was flat again, at which point the repair team there offered to repair it.
On the level
|Giles crouches with Graham|
The only way is up!Next, after miles of skirting Taunton, was the climb of Blagdon Hill, steeply out of Pitminster village and then 2 long hairpins, before the endless road into Devon and the last tea stop at Ewins Ash.
To the seaThen the interminable navigation to get to the last climb of Lympstone Common, via an abortive climb where we had to retrace, but hey, sh1t happenzzz! After this a fast downhill into Exmouth and an artery clogging blow-out in the beach café, which after leaving we discovered I had a puncture to complete the set.
Getting backWe got a train to Exeter, where Mark and I stayed with his sister (riding down to Dawlish and back on Monday) and Giles got another train back to Bristol. We only narrowly caught the train back to Waterloo, crossed London (overtaking a trendy cycling couple I just about heard the words “Wow! Old school streeters” (whatever that means) and I discussed with the considerably-more-attractive-than-her-bike female what we had been doing) and arrived safely back in St. Albans by about 8pm.
So in Summary: loadsa miles (approx. 290), punctures, rain, beers, great company and sense of achievement….