Flat on the average!

Picture of author's green Dawes Galaxy touring bike leant against a red fingerpost bearing directions to Chard and Wambrook.

Red signpost close to Wambrook. The reason why some finger posts were painted red was because this marked out the route that prisoners would take on their long march from prison to the docks, where they would be deported to Australia. As many of the prison wardens were illiterate, the signs would tell the wardens that the marching group would need to turn right at the junction.

This being Sunday we have a lie in. It wasn’t raining when I eventually woke up. It was about 1030 when I decided that today I would ride the Audax ‘Coast Roads and Coach Roads’ Permanent 100km. Husband, being helpful, offered to drive me to Uplyme where I could start the circuit. He suggested that to get added value from the day I could ride home after completing the 100km – a further 32km. Audax inform me that this ride attracts 2 altitude points as it is extra hilly.

Uplyme is in the bottom of a valley so the first thing I had to do was climb out and cross the A35 before heading down to Thorncome and then on to Crewkerne. The next section went to Hewish first, then down to Winsham up to Wambrook where the picture of the red signpost was taken and then it undulated its way to Honiton. (Undulation is a euphemism for going up and down steep hills continuously). From Honiton up again on the A375 and down to sea level at Sidmouth. So far there had been a lot of steep hills but these were to pale to insignificance with the climb out of Sidmouth to Salcombe Regis. I was barely moving but managed to stay on the bike. Downwards then to Branscombe village. I thought it would continue down to the beach – but no –this route has a sense of humour, another steep climb from the village before descending to the Sea Shanty tea rooms. I arrived at 1650 just as the CLOSED sign appeared.

Picture of author pointing at closed sign on cafe door.

Closed???

I was here – twice – on Mothering Sunday this year. Not for some gentle outing with one of my daughters – but running The Grizzly – with one of my daughters. Does that count as a Mothers Day treat?

Back up and over to Branscombe Village and then the second of the very steep long climbs to get out of Branscombe only to plummet once again to sea level at Beer. Here the route has to deviate slightly as the coast road has fallen into the sea and thankfully only the gentlest of inclines (it’s all relative) to get to Seaton. It’s steeply up again from Axmouth, to the A3052, before going down to finish the 100k at Uplyme.

Picture of Cannington viaduct in distance with forked road and signpost in foreground

Cannington viaduct at Uplyme

This little lane goes underneath the Cannington Viaduct. Opened in 1903 for the Axminster to Lyme Regis branch line, this 600ft long viaduct was the first in the UK to be built in solid concrete. Unfortunately, subsidence was discovered between two of the arches and the builders had to reinforce inside the arch. The line was closed in 1965 during the Beeching cuts. It was a bit odd really to see this huge bridge out on its own in the countryside with nothing to do.

So that was the first 100k. Or 63 miles. I then once again climbed up out of Uplyme to the A35. With great self discipline I strongly resisted turning right onto the main road to take the most direct route home and continued to Marshwood where I descended Mutton Street and through Broadoak. There is a nasty little hill which I loathe before reaching Dottery and the descent into Bridport. Then all that remained was to drag myself along the coast road for another 3 miles and I was home.

All in all this was just short of 82 miles which is quite good in a day. The elevation was 8,556 ft. That’s a lot of hills. The ridewithgps site tells me I spent 4 hours 19 minutes ascending. I hope we don’t have any days like this on LeJog.

The Ride With GPS track is here.

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