I woke up on Thursday feeling OK but I knew I had done a hard ride on the previous day, my legs felt quite tired, especially when walking down the stairs!
After a good breakfast of cereal and scrambled eggs on toast, I packed up my bag and set off east towards Holsworthy. The first mile to Holsworthy was lovely – a flat section of new, smooth tarmac, a cyclist’s nirvana. Alas, the road out of Holsworthy kicked up to about 15% so that immediately took some of the freshness out of my legs. The road to Hatherleigh was relatively easy, more undulating than hilly. It then climbed again out of the village, another 10%+ gradient and the story continued through Tiverton and on to Taunton as I skirted round the southern edge of Exmoor.
I stopped for lunch in a small village called Halberton at a pub called the Barge. They gave me a great lunch of gammon, egg and chips, which went some way to refuel me. As I would find over the course of my journey, walking into pubs at lunchtime wearing lycra usually gets you some attention. After asking me what I was doing, the staff and locals clubbed together sent me on my journey with some extra sponsorship money.
After negotiating the cobbled streets of Taunton, I was cycling with more enthusiasm, as I knew the rest of the day was going to be wonderfully flat as I passed into Somerset.
I had arranged to meet Tim (a mate from home) just south of Bridgewater where we could then ride the last 8 miles to the B&B we would be staying in. These last miles passed quickly as the roads were flat and it was nice to have some 2-wheeled company finally.
Our B&B, Ilex House in West Huntspill was a lovely old building, run by an equally old and rather strange couple. The husband was pleasant enough, just exceptionally old and I was sure I would have to give him some kind of medical attention at some point during our stay. The wife was not quite as old but she made up for this with her bluntness and negative outlook on everything outside of her own little world. On arrival, we were immediately made to feel like 2 young schoolboys again and this continued through to breakfast on the following morning.
85.7 miles, 5 hours 40 minutes, average 15.1 mph, 4363ft of ascent