This Torplex 200km Audax event runs alongside the Devon Delight 100k. They are organised by Graham Brodie with Devon CTC. The organisation is excellent and the event runs like a well oiled machine.
Sunday 20th July was warm and sunny and 25 or so riders set off from the Pro Cycle Centre at Newton Abbot.
It was quite a swift ride over the initial lumps and bumps to the control at 42km: the morning coffee stop at Stoke Canon. There was a lovely spread of food provided at the village hall. Lots of cake!
After Stoke Canon I chose the flatter alternative along the B3181 to Cullompton and then to the info control at Willand before heading West through a very pretty route on small lanes to Butterleigh and the Exe crossing Thorverton.
Crediton is by passed on what can be considered a ‘proper hill’ before continuing up and down through more beautiful Devon countryside to Yeoford and Hiittisleigh then upwards to Whiddon Down.
After about 50km I had settled into my own rhythm and speed and although I fleetingly came across other riders on the event – usually passing me at speed on a hill – I was happily trundling along enjoying the ride.
The mainly downhill section from Whiddon Down to Moretonhampstead was very pleasant and there were quite a few riders at The Bakery enjoying lunch in the sunshine.
At this point we had completed over half the distance but I was well aware that there were some challenging hills ahead as the route now headed straight across Dartmoor on the B3212 reaching a top elevation of 457m. Crossing Dartmoor obviously involves a lot of upwards but there are some lovely descents too and the scenery was fantastic in the sunshine.
Just before the B3212 reaches Yelverton we turned off for Burrator. There were a lot of people around here enjoying the lovely weather. I had incorrectly assumed that once across Dartmoor the hills would ease off. I was wrong – I found the steep rise from Sheepstor particularly gruelling but was encouraged by a round of applause from the occupants of a Range Rover who had kindly pulled aside to let me through on the narrow lane.
There was a lovely descent to Plympton but then more hills to the garage at Chaddlewood where there was a brief stop to buy some Smarties and more drinks.
The route then follows along beside the A38 through Ivybridge and then just before South Brent a brief dash down the dual carriageway followed by a fast section on the A385 before turning towards Staverton.
I hadn’t seen any other riders since Ivybridge and was very pleased to follow the track on my Garmin as from Staverton to Denbury the route follows narrow Devon lanes with many junctions. It would be quite hard to follow using just the route sheet but I just became lost in my own thoughts and enjoyed the scenic ride. I didn’t much enjoy what was to be the final steep hill up into Denbury and after 10 or so hours riding I was looking forward to getting off my bike.
After the lovely descent back into Newton Abbot I did get a bit lost finding my way back to the Pro Cycle Centre and was quite pleased when it was all over.
It was a long, hard ride. However, as I am quite busy doing other stuff in July and it was a good opportunity to get this months AAARTY and RRTY in one ride.