Day Two – Camelford to Tiverton


Mike: We started off the day feeling better than expected. A short run down Camelford centre and then a huge great long climb from about 120 feet to 966 over 3 or 4 miles.
The run to Bude was generally downhill, shortish climbs followed by long sweeping downs where I breached 40 mph for the first time on the ride.

The rest of Cornwall passed very quickly and we trundled past the “Welcome to Devon” sign at about 10am.

From there things got more difficult. At this point in the day, I was feeling ok while Derek was suffering from tiredness so the hills were no longer funny!
We quickly determined that Devon was worse than Cornwall. The hills generally were not a steep but much longer and far more draining.
We did our steepest hill of the ride, from Holdsworth to Hatherlee. We went down a hill into a valley and the bikes were doing over 25 mph within seconds. At the other side of the valley, we ended up on our smallest gear and were still standing up, to achieve a remarkable 1.5 mph!

Lunch couldn’t come soon enough and was found in a tiny little village, but was lovely! We were roasting in the beautiful sunny weather so ate inside.
We had covered close to 50 miles so only had 27 miles to reach Tiverton (apparently!)

After what seemed like days we reached Crediton (much relief for me as I was desperate for the loo, and not the sort that can be achieved at the side of the road!).
The “credit” I give to that town, is for the most disgusting toilets I have ever encountered.

An observation – Devon’s “miles” are not the same as the rest of the UK. After Crediton, we continued on the final leg (17 miles) and after a while passed a sign saying “Tiverton 8 miles”. Two more hours and another sign said “Tiverton 6 miles”, and then another saying “4 miles” which was much, much more than 2 miles further. We had ascended a 800 foot hill in the process so maybe that doesnt count.

We reached Tiverton after 71.1 miles, met up with Phil and put the bikes on the roof to get to the B&B (Rhode Farm & Livery Yard) which is delightful, but up a 17% hill and not on our route so we felt justified in getting a lift. Phil will take us back to where we left off tomorrow so we are’nt cheating…honest.

Derek: The start was rather mixed today. A fast, swift down-hill, followed by a long tedious uphill climb for several miles. After that, things got a lot better for quite a way – lots of rolling hills, some climbs, but lots of good descents – fun!

As Mike says, entering Devon we had hoped the hills wouldn’t be quite as bad as Cornwall – boy were we wrong. In Devon, they try to punish you and work together with the wind to make your life miserable. However, we peddled and plodded on.

The good side of this was a few of the descents – we were hurtling down some at a rate of knotts and there were some very “exciting” sharp turns half way down them. I even wanted to go back and do it again, but the thought of cycling back up the hill was a little too much.

Later in the afternoon, it was Mike’s turn to tire and my turn for a second-wind (probably all the carbs from the sweet-and-sour pork and huge mound of rice I had for lunch). I guess I was also motivated by the picture on the back of Mike’s jersey (pic to follow at some point) 😉

There is a cycle race where about 40km of the ride is on cobbles. Well, arriving in Tiverton felt just like that – the last 2-3 miles were horrid because of the road surface – Mike and I both suffered from numb toes as a result of all the vibrations.

Anyway, we’re now safely resting in the B&B, which looks very nice, and about to head into town to grab a bite to eat and a pint of the local.

(Belated) beer of the day – Marstons Bitter & Marstons Smooth. Apologies for the late addition of this – we wrote the blog entry before we had dinner. The bitter, Phil and I described as Glorious (concise but accurate). Mike described the Smooth as, well, er, smooth. Glad you waited?


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