Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Exmoor coastal route

The idea after such an intense riding holiday was to have a week off the bike & get back to normal life.  That didn't last long when I realised that the weather in the UK was a huge improvement on that when I left for the States.  After a day of surviving work & jetlag, I was out in the forest the day after surprised to see how much drier it was.

I got my singlespeed rear wheel back from the shop (new freehub) later that week & promptly went to Somerset for a Saturday ride that was supposed to be hilly with some of the Combe Raiders.  I was still quite excited by Moab (heck, I still am & it's over two weeks later), so John & Anna got the undoubted pleasure of sitting through a lot of photos as I tried to contain myself - Anna probably got bored & John really jealous.  Getting out the door early Saturday meant I didn't get to see much of the twins, but hopefully they'll still remember me.

We met at Dunster Castle and the four of us headed to the beach for a bit of a sandy seafront section.  It was almost warm & definitely sunny.  The ride was a good mix of nice downhills and some big climbs - one of which ended up defeating me on the singlespeed & I had to walk a little.  As always riding with this small group the put-on West Country accents abounded & there was much amusement.

There's the Quantocks behind - our more usual riding destination.
We're all still quite pleased with the shirts
After a slight detour for a much lauded plate of ham, egg & chips and a pint, we were back on the loop for a nasty climb - close to 15% for much of the first half. As this one had a slightly more reliable surface, it was just manageable - although I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to keep with John on his 29er fully rigid singlespeed (actually the bike is not important - John will always be a stronger rider for me to try & keep up with).

Eventually we ended up back in Dunster for ice creams.

There was a castle - although we didn't get much closer than this - note the map of NZ in the bottom right.

A good ride to get back in to UK riding, pleasantly dry & much fun. I was glad I made the rather mad effort to get across to Somerset on the roundabout route to London to visit a NZ friend & his new wife as they were finishing their big European trip/honeymoon. Unfortunately, my car cut out just as I reached the M25 junction on the M3 & I ended up waiting three hours for breakdown assistance - I was a little cold, tired, hungry & fed-up by the end of that. I never made it to London, limped home exhausted & have sent that rather problematic car back to the dealer - I now wait patiently for an acceptable replacement.

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