It was no easy task, organising 24 people to cycle the Devon Coat 2 Coast over a weekend. Most of us managed to get to the hotel for supper on Friday evening and most of us managed to get directly back home on Sunday evening although one couple who shall remain nameless, managed an hour and a half detour via Cornwall by mistake!
An eclectic group of ‘cyclists’. Eleven of us were very experienced at cycling together, having cycled the 500km through Vietnam and Cambodia together in November. How fantastic it was to cycle together again. The criteria for the others joining the group was simple:
- To know at least one person in the group
- To own a bicycle or be able to borrow one
- To commit to a hilly hundred mile cycle over two days
Please note, there was no requirement to cycle regularly or have reached any particular level of competence!
We were transferred from the beautiful Bovey Castle to Ilfracombe on Saturday morning, where we would begin our 72 hilly mile cycle back to the hotel. Transferring 24 people, bikes and kit took longer than anticipated so we were under time pressure right from the start.
Despite the atrocious weather forecasts all week, the sun shone all day and the conditions were perfect. Thankfully this glorious weather remained for the entire weekend.
The hardest hill were during the last 12 miles which took us off the C2C route and back to the hotel. A number of us were beat at 60 miles and were very grateful to those who transported us back to the hotel at that point. The hardy ones amongst us completed the whole, hilly 72 miles and still managed to party on Saturday night!
Hilly, hot and hard work, everyone gave their all and many achieved personal bests, made new friends and loved the camaraderie. Very unfortunately Ric hit a pothole during the afternoon and came off his bike. Thank goodness for helmets (his was badly broken), a good medical team (at last count: 9 doctors, 4 nurses, a midwife, a vet, a dentist, a dental nurse, a podiatrist and a physio – where are the orthopaedic surgeons when you need one?!), the help of a few locals and lashings of stoicism. Despite being badly shaken, enduring a fractured elbow and shattered thumb he still managed to enjoy Saturday evening before being chauffeured back to Gloucestershire for Sunday morning for the medical attention he needed. Impressive surgery to realign his fractured elbow followed and Ric is now recovering well at home.
Sunday for the rest of us started with some impressive, long, hard hills over Dartmoor.
36 miles today, with a welcome descent to Plymouth for the last few miles.
Great learning for those of us doing LEJOG but more about that later……..