Monday, 25 August 2008

Dunkery Funkery

I have been a little tardy in updating the blog in the last week - not the usual combination of things i.e. being a bit slack and then getting sucked into something else, but instead there has been a bit of an IT issue back at the chateux.

According to Kelly's brother it is not Itunes that has killed our PC but a lack of RAM. School boy error on my part.

This however has been fixed today. A trip to PC world sorted the memory (after a quick google of the part required and a bit of YouTube time watching some other people adding RAM to their PCs). On the last point which is the saddest - me writing about adding RAM to my machine - or someone filming it and posting it on you tube. Hmm.

So I will post twice this week to catch up.

So then, Devon. Not the cycle fest I was needing and hoping for. The weather was rubbish. Mum and Dad's house was like being on a trawler in the North Sea. Horizontal rain all day and buckets of it. So I watched tonnes of cycling and Kelly and I went to Exeter for the afternoon. Oddly (and a high point of the excersion) was going into to the lobby of the bank to use the cash machine and finding the bank fully staffed and showing the Olympic 100m final on a large flat screen TV. Mr Bolt won - and I got out some beer tokens.

Banks showing sport on Saturday afternoons - I have seen the future.

We then went to Exmouth and watched the surfers in the huge swell - and then took in the kite surfers, which was the second high point of the day. Those guys were getting massive air in the strong winds. I was not sure how much was by design and how much was just because the wind was huge - but I'll give the guys the benefit of the doubt. Very crazy - not very cream tea.

Sunday - the rain was not so heavy so we got the WINTER kit on and made a call that due to heavy rain we were best off going steep to places where the gradient will have helped drainage - and not to risk a trip out on Dartmoor at all. So we hattched a plan to go from Exford up to Dunkery Beacon then onto to Dunster then back over Dunkery.

A couple of routes we had not been on before were selcted to test out, and to add on to bits we already knew - and away we went. The climb up to Dunkery was wet. The down option was on the Dunster path - fantastic and flowing - and a favourite descent. Then I got the direction right and the route wrong with a seriously steep hike a bike up onto the Macmillan way.

Once on the Mac, the coast was in view and the sky cleared a bit - and we steamed into Dunster along the ridge - exiting in the Dunster grave yard. We then found a 'half way' cream tea and a peice of cake.

After the intake of calorie dense sports nutrition, we then went back through the grave yard and did a hard climb out of Dunster and back onto the Mac. The pay off being a wicked plummet down the hike a bike. All very good fun - and a little sketchy.
Then the plan was to get back over Dunkery on the Mac (on a route we spied on the map and had never tried).
With exploration often comes drama. This route was just ridable - it was so steep and rocky it required real concentration and a few rests and some hike a bike to keep it moving. It was on this path that Kelly had a freak mechanical.
On a really steep section, she lost her balence and started to roll backwards. Grabbing hold of the front brake the hose pulled free under the pressure. This let air into the system and rendered the brake useless. I suspected it had something to do with the Brake service at the LBS - but it was not trail bodge situation. Kelly just had to go forth with only a rear brake.
We made it to the top of Dunkery just in time for the weather to close in again - and for it tip down on our final descent into Exford.
The bikes were so caked in sticky red mud at the end, that we had to clean them in a river before we placed them in the car. Not the summer ride I was after - but a great day in the saddle.
All in about 25 miles with some steep climbing - but very wintery feeling.

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