Proposed Route: Topsham-Poole
Estimated Mileage: 80 miles/128 km
Actual Route: Topsham-Poole via Lyme Regis
Mileage Covered: 77.88/127 km
Average cycling speed: 14.9 mph
Maximum speed: 42.6 mph
Cycling time: 5 hours 13 minutes.
Terrain: Hilly to Bridport, then relatively flat.
Weather: Fair, with cool mist on the high ground. Wind S Force 3.
Degree of Difficulty:
What a great send-off from Topsham! If the goodwill, support and enthusiasm
of virtually an entire community were sufficient to ensure that we reach our
goal, than we shall certainly do so. Thank you to everyone who turned out to
see us off, especially the children of Elm Grove School and the Topsham Middle
School. The message "chow" was particularly apt, especially considering how
hungry we now are after today's ride. And it was great to ride through Fore
Street with our fire engine escort. Thanks alot, lads.
Even the weather turned out fine, with the sun coming out as we left, a glorious way to begin. How lucky we are. Last night, when it was pouring with rain, Jane asked us if there was anything else she could do -- yes, I said, please arrange the weather for tomorrow. And, of course, she did.
We have rated today's ride as a 3-banana, moderately testing with some killer hills between Topsham and Bridport. In fact, the first 15 miles were the worst, the hill out of Newton Poppleford particularly unpleasant, soon followed by the climb out of Sidford, and similar hills out of Seaton and just before Lyme. The terrain remained testing to Bridford, though from there to Poole the ride was exhilarating, with a tail wind pushing along at times as we clipped along at 20-25 mph.
I think the adrenalin and excitement of finally beginning the ride was carrying us along and there was a real sense of euphoria to be actually cycling towards our destination, at first in the company of Chris and Paul from Summit, Meriel of FORCE, and our good cycling mates, Phil, Martin and Ken.
The only problem we encountered early on was a chilly mist on the high ground between Seaton and Lyme Regis. That and finding the support van which we somehow managed to miss: it was parked in a layby above Lyme, but as we were descending at time at no less than 40 mph we didn't actually see it (in fact, I didn't even see the car park). No matter, Hugh and Harry finally caught up with us at Bridport, where we were sitting out at a pavement cafe enjoying an alfresco lunch -- almost like being on the continent already.
The boys from Summit, meanwhile, were carrying on manfully, not that far behind us, enjoying the beautiful Westcountry scenery, I imagine. From Bridport, we cracked on at an impressive pace, with il maestro Phil helping to pace us. We reached Poole Harbour just before 5 pm, an excellent first day's ride.
The only black mark on the day was an icy cold shower at our campsite, but even that mattered little. Nello has now set up his mobile kitchen, so he's happy; Paul and Chris pulled in at about 6, we are all now relaxing with a glass of vino. The menu for tonight: risotto alla milanese con salsicce in umido -- saffron risotto with Italian sausages slow cooked in wine and tomatoes.
Saluti a tutti!
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West Midlands B93 OHL
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