Thursday, 20 June 2013
Exmoor Spring Audax - 7th April
A group of Bridgwater riders meet in the car park to the village hall and tried to blend in. I had forgotton my helmet and was not pleased with myself.
We left a few minutes and started the ascent of the Porlock Toll Road. This is a lovely steady climb winding its way up through mature woodland before delivering you to the heather of the moor above. A short stop to regroup the Bridgwater contingent and off, heading south along a unmetalled surface for a few hundred rather too exciting yards, then back onto a narrow strip of tarmac.
We worked together in the cross wind until the first check point. It was in a pub, I asked for cake and no coffee. £4.50! Not for a cake! Apparently you couldn't have one without the other. I handed the cake back. Shortly another rider who only wanted coffee. We had a deal. The young lady bemused handed over a coffee and a cake to two different people and got her £4.50.
Onwards and up another long and draggy climb, one of those where you can see the road ahead, and it is up. Then we soon turned into the headwind. Nigel got dropped, Darren pushing on at the front couldn't hear me to ease off, he was on a mission to catch the other part of our group. When the gap was closed, Steve went back for Nigel whilst we rode more gently on the descent towards Dulverton and the check point.
We stopped, ate and off again up the valley. It was the home run and gaps began to form as we headed up the valley for Wheddon Cross. I held my own, towards the back, although the reality was the gaps were not that big at the top of what was an easier climb than I remember. I lovely desecent into to Dunster with Darren and I taking the lead, aware of my lack of helment. I love to descend and don't like to break unless at all necessary.
Dulverton and onto the main road. This is the worst part of this ride, but we now had the wind behind us and I could see that I was riding at about the same time at last year. I pushed on, giving what I had and getting little for it. Flying down into and through Porlock I finished 20 seconds faster than last year, better, howereve marginal.
This audax has good quite roads and a good variation of hills and desecents. The food was overpriced at the first checkpoint, I didn't bother at the second. Pubs are not ideal stopping points as they aren't really geared up to the cycling trade of coffee/tea and a cake/snack. This was made up for by the cream scone and jam back at the start though.
We finshed in the first 10.
I give this audax 3.5 out of 5 let down by the first check point prices.
My GPX file can be found at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/294562902