I was in Exmoor on Tuesday with a full day to fill with cycling. My life these days is less BikeVCar and more BikeVEverythingElse. Fortunately I’d managed to delegate, dodge, postpone or ignore all my other life-related duties and so I absconded to the moors for a whole responsibility-free day on the bike.
The original plan was to ride 100 miles. It wasn’t until I’d stopped for lunch that I worked out that at my average speed there weren’t enough day-light hours at this time of year to fulfil this ambition. Certainly not when dressed to combat the sub-zero temperatures, climbing the never-ending hills of Exmoor on a steel bike and carrying the excess baggage of an enjoyable Christmas period.
I re-calibrated my ambition.
Despite the mileage reduction it was a glorious day. Clear blue skies, sun and very little wind. However, due to the temperatures it was still icy well into the afternoon. I stuck to the main roads which had been gritted.
In the end I rode 72 miles. At an average speed of 13ish mph. Despite the 2000-odd metres of climbing, the hardest part of the day was descending down from the moors to the coast at Porlock. Dropping 400 vertical metres in about 3 miles – I had to stop several times and try to shake some life back into my fingers and was desperately looking forward to the next climb to warm me back up. It was a great day – Exmoor, I’ll be back …