Another return to the hilly roads of Dartmoor, this time for my sixth lap. As we ride a variation of the route every three years I knew we’d be back on the Pepperdon Hill circuit, which is by far the hardest of the three. Last time around this took me 5h20, more than 20 minutes slower than the other routes.
For once the forecast was for a fine day and indeed, it proved to be so, even better than the year before although the roads were covered in wet leaves from the rain of the last few days (the infamous Pepperdon Lane was definitely a walk, although I made it about 2/3rds of the way up before a lack of traction and the gradient defeated me). It was very cold early on, especially freewheeling down to the start from Haytor although once we were tackling the first few climbs I soon warmed up! I felt like could’ve done with some more hill training in the weeks beforehand and struggled up some of the gradients later in the ride but the fantastic views this year more than made up for it. I got back to the Kestor Inn after about 5h35, so a bit slower than the previous time, but I was happy enough with that, as I’d had a bit of a hold up with some cows being herded down the road near Drewsteignton.
I paid Kevin, the organiser, for a six-time award to be posted to me, I’m not sure whether I’ll go back for another ride – this audax seems to come right at the end of a very long season and I struggle to find my motivation for training for it in some years. Maybe though, I should aim for a nice round 10 completions?