It had been firmly imprinted on all of our minds for some time that today would be a tough one. With 5,115ft of climbing over just under 81 miles it is one of our hilliest days.
With that in mind, we persuaded the surly hotel owner to start breakfast earlier for us and set the alarms for 7am so we could make a speedy getaway.
And so it was that Chris led the team off across the hotel’s gravel drive, watched by support driver one (Jean) and another hotel guest…and promptly toppled over!
After making sure he was ok, we then set off properly, heading back down the steep hill we struggled up yesterday and on to The Camel Trail. Overnight rain meant it was a mud bath and ourselves and the bikes quickly became caked in mud.
It was also raining and incredibly misty. This did make for an atmospheric ride across Bodmin Moor, where we of course kept an eye out for The Beast, as you can see…
Our lunch stop in Holsworthy was a fairly miserable affair despite the large steak Cornish pasties our support driver had bought for us. We were too wet and muddy to sit in the support car so ate them quickly in the car park in the rain. But we did all feel better after changing at least some of our clothes for the afternoon.
We set off again and were excited to see a sign telling us we were now in Devon. We stopped off in the village of Hatherleigh for a tea and coffee and the friendly welcome of the shopkeeper really lifted our spirits.
It was just as well as we then set off up and down and up and down Devon’s rolling hills. We were keen to press on but did stop to take pictures of some great place names – Puddington, Three Hammers and Black Dog were some of our favourites.
With fives miles to go to Tiverton thoughts had turned to a hot shower and dry clothes. But there were two long drags in our way which sapped our remaining energy.
Cycling into Tiverton we were impressed with the welcome they had laid on for us, a Tour of Britain sign that could only have been for us…