Cycling day 14: West Taphouse to Princetown
My plan for today had the largest amount of cumulative climbing for any of my days – a little over 1500m – onto Dartmoor. So I was dreading the climbing a bit, but greatful that today’s weather was notably cooler.
I took a wrong turn fairly on in the day, so didn’t quite take my planned route. I adjusted my route accordingly and this will actually mean that I did even more climbing than planned in the end.
Not too long after passing a sign welcoming me to Dartmoor National Park it started to rain. At about the same time a series of cyclists turned onto the road I was following 100m or so ahead of me. It turns out that there was some kind of organised cycle event on Dartmoor today together with marshals at the junctions I encountered. As I climbed into Dartmoor I passed some of the riders, but was slightly slower than the majority of them. One of them commented “I don’t know how you do it with all of that!”, referring to the fact that I was pretty much keeping pace with him on his unladen bike while I was carrying four panniers, a rack bag, and a handlebar bag. I had an advantage on the event riders though in that it looks like they had to go a bit further on the moor whereas I was stopping at Princetown for my accomodation. I also had an OS map in front of me with the contours, which used together with my GPS’s altimeter (even though that’s not entirely accurate) helped me plan my ascent reasonably well. When I’d achieved most of the final climb for today I even had my photo taken by one of the event photographers. I think that having other riders around prove very helpful with giving me a pace to latch onto, the rain was helpful in keeping me cool too. I feel proud that I was keeping up so well, and I hope it bodes well for the other tough climbs I’ve still got in some of the days ahead.
In the end I arrived a little over 3 hours early at today’s accomodation, so I’ve been out to have a snack and found a cafe that claims to have WiFi access. I’ve got a rest day planned tomorrow, so I’ll probably be spending quite some time there catching up on some data entry.