To anyone interested there will be a car assisted ride from Ashburton free carpark Grid Ref: SX 754 698 Sunday 17th 9.30 am (weather permitting)
Three of us planned to do this audax ride plus my hubby John. The other doughty pair were George and Andy E. We knew if the weather was unfavourable we would be unlikely to finish in time. The weather was distinctly unfavourable, the worst storm for 25 years due that night, gale force gusts already in action, but we were not deterred. We had all entered for the 8am start and we were there! Only George had done this one before, so some anxieties amongst us others.
After the start George and I rode roughly together only seeing John and Andy at the controls. They were generally leaving as we were arriving. We got to the first control at Drewsteignton with less than 10 minutes to spare, so a quick piece of cake and we were off again. The wind, rain and hail only really got a grip as we were cycling over the high moor, blowing us two lightweights about like litter. But we were well within time, until that is, until George punctured. He sought refuge from the low walls but found none. He sent me on and I arrived with 20 minutes to spare at the Ashburton control. Hot soup and rolls, delicious. But no sign of George. He arrived about half an hour later having struggled in the atrocious conditions to replace the tube. We deliberated. The easy option of cycling back to Bovey Tracey and the cars won the day. John meanwhile was at the Ashburton control re-building a back wheel which had been unwinding. He carried on, saying later that the ride to Princetown with the head wind was atrocious, he struggled to make the time. He'd passed Andy having real problems. In the end though they both completed, John finishing within the time allocated, but Andy returning to his car in the dark.
It was a dramatic day, which we all enjoyed, in retrospect! We were glad to have taken part and maybe next year . . . .
Our start from Ashburton was delayed by wondering where George was. There was his car in the car park but no George and no bike. We never did see him or catch up with him. Just four of us for the ride; Andy E, Graham B, Phil and myself. The idea had been to recce the first half of the Dartmoor Devil for those of us who were going to ride it the following Sunday. An easy ride to Bovey Tracey (the start of the Devil) followed by an undulating ride up the A382 to Moretonhampstead where we had coffee. We delayed our departure due to a heavy downpour but eventually dragged ourselves out into the maelstrom. Then we followed the Devil's route up over Mardon Down descending to Clifford Bridge. Narrow lanes to Drewsteignton; pot holes galore, mud and grit in the middle and autumn debris everywhere. From Drewsteignton onto Castle Drogo - Andy wanted to see the outside so we cycled up only to find we couldn't get near without paying. (It was wrapped anyway!)
More lanes, pot holes, grit and junk. The route now took us to Bughead Cross and down to North Bovey only to climb again onto the moor with such delights as Jay's Grave, Hound Tor, Bonehill Down and onto Cold East Cross. More gales. Phil was heard to say that he'd not had so much fun since he trod on a nail and it went right through his foot! Next a huge descent into Ashburton. Tea and cakes were found in a town pub. 70km on the clock and 1400m of climb. Roll on next Sunday.
There were 7 of us at the start; Andy P (leader), Bryan, Mike, Graham R, Yolande, Andy E and myself (Jean). Having satisfied Bryan that we had a suitable way to Lopwell Dam we set off. It was a lovely route, but sadly when we got there we realised that the tide was completely wrong, there was no way of crossing. We had a coffee stop at the cafe leaving Mike, Graham and Bryan to return. For the four of us it was a hilly ride over to Weir Quay where we had a delightful picnic spot. Thank-you Andy for a lovely ride.