Axe Valley Pedallers tackle 100-mile challenge ride to mark the 2013 Tour of Britain
PUBLISHED: 14:20 24 September 2013 | UPDATED: 14:21 24 September 2013
The first day of the 2013 Tour of Britain saw 14 cyclists from the Axe Valley Pedallers tackle their annual 100 mile challenge ride.
Bikes on parade varied from trusty steel tourers and rather unsuitable mountain bikes to full carbon racers purchased only a few days before; and their riders similarly ranged from hard bitten men with bus passes in their back pockets (just in case) to ladies whose main training for the event was canoeing, plus a 14-year-old teenager on loan from Germany. However, the group stuck together, and nobody trailed behind, as the sun shone and good progress was made towards the first coffee stop at Culmstock.
It was not to last. Perhaps a little too long was taken over lunch by the pretty river bridge at Dulverton, but by the time everyone was ready to get going the predicted rain storm was looming. Those with special rain gear wasted further time donning extra layers, which ultimately proved ineffective against the drenching rain, but the group finally got up steam and made good time through the minor roads to Bampton and thence along the Exe valley to Hemyock, after a cunning diversion through a housing estate in Tiverton.
After much dogged pedalling, as conversation dwindled in the heavy rain, the roads gradually became more familiar and the last substantial climb was surmounted at Upottery (hardly anybody walked). Then it was just the exhilaration of the final wind-swept blast along Seven Mile Straight past the mast, before descending at speed into Shute and home via Whitford and Axmouth. 104 miles completed in just under 12 hours, total ascent 4738ft. Not the Tour of Britain, but a creditable shared achievement.
Details of all rides at Axevalleypedallers.org.uk
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