Coast 2 Coast 2013

  • 0

On 5th October I took part in the school's 'Coast 2 Coast Challenge'. This is where we cycle from Illfracombe, on the north coast of Devon, to Plymouth on the south coast from dawn to dusk - a ride which is advertised as being a 3 day trip. The ride was very successful and we were faster than the previous two groups who had attempted to challenge in the last two years. Below are the details of the ride which I recorded on my phone, and the write up of the challenge from the school's Wednesday letter.

Twenty one pupils took on this year’s cycle challenge to cross Devon, North to South in a day. As usual the Friday night was spent at a hostel in Ilfracombe to ensure that the 7.30am start time could be made the following morning. After a good journey down the boys raided the fast food outlets of the town to ‘carbo load’ before their efforts of taking on the 102 miles and 9000ft of ascent provided by the route. As staff plotted the location of support vehicles and access to the Beechen Cliff peloton the following day, the boys drifted to bed by 10:00pm.

A 6:00am start saw Weetabix and bananas for breakfast followed with liberal portions of chocolate spread on toast. The boys quietly sorted their bikes being aware not to wake nearby residents. That was until the inner tube on Miles Lloyd’s bike burst in spectacular fashion, echoing across the harbour like a gun shot. So much for stealth!

The mass start assembled and at 7:30am on the dot the journey started to the bemusement of tourists
catching an early coach from their hotel, as 30 pupils and staff cycled past. The first hour saw the group into Braunton after spectacular views across Woolacombe beach towards South Wales. The Tarka trail around the Taw estuary was picked up with the high tide and calm weather allowing for mirrored reflections of the surrounding hills. It also became apparent that this was a fast group as the E.T.A at Great Torrington was broken by an hour, a pacey start. Could it carry on as the hills and undulations of mid Devon made their presence felt?

Punctures punctuated the leg between Great Torrington and Hatherleigh before the steep downhill drop into Okehampton for lunch of a hot pasty, still ahead of schedule. A steep ascent out of Okehampton ensured the pasties did not sit comfortably in the stomach as the Granite Way was gained. This is a stunning stretch of cycle track, skirting the west side of a brooding Dartmoor with clear views across the Tamar valley into Cornwall. This was busy with other cyclists who turned to look when hearing 60 tubular tyres humming across the tarmac towards them. The pace was still quick and the boys sensed that the last climb of Brent Tor signified the ‘breaking’ of the route if they did not break first!

A grin inducing downhill ride to Tavistock saw the group gain the Drakes Trail, the remaining 20 miles to be on cycle track. A last ‘top up’ at the buses at Yelverton saw energy levels replenished for the final push to Plymouth Hoe. A puncture for Ben Goodman meant that he and Mr Moat stayed back and had to watch the peloton sweep onwards. Would they be able to regain their place for a group sprint finish? With the help of a bridge swing in the Barbican Harbour in Plymouth they did and en masse the Beechen Cliff cyclists invaded Plymouth Hoe under a beautiful blue evening sky. Ten hours of cycling behind them.

A big well done to all pupils and staff involved. Hopefully a good sum of money has been raised for the charity ‘Help for Heroes’. We hope for more success next year when a new bunch of budding cyclists will attempt this fantastic Devon test route.

Mr D Brewer 
Trip Coordinator

No comments:

Post a Comment