As I head off through a maze of estate roads, trying to weave a way back to the main road, I pootle along at a slow pace.
The name reminds me of The Flumps (sorry small children, Google it ) and I find myself singing the theme tune, da da, da da, da da dah, da da dah.......... OUT LOUD...... Still by the time I realise, my spirits are lifted and I'm half way up a long dragging hill...not so bad after all.
God was clearly having a funny five minutes when he built Devon and I suspect also Cornwall as I soon loose the wweeee downhill factor fearing what the up the other side will be like. As I go through Tiverton I have a long up hill stretch on a dual carriageway, thankfully not as bad as the A303 and with a lovely view of the Great Western Canal. Then out of town onto some quieter roads. As I turn left (up hill again) I notice a road sign, out of the corner of my eye 'Long Drag Hill'......... Oh no It wasn't the other one!......
You know in the old movies when they do that thing where they zoom the lens in and out, it was one of those moments. I could just see the top and it was steep enough it was going to hurt, as my legs kindly pointed out. I pootle on........da da, da da etc etc. Sometime later, as the road bares to the right and I'm nearing the top, my worst nightmare is realised, there's more! Only steeper and at least as far again. Singing now pointless as my legs are screaming at me much louder than I can sing!. The sign painted on the road merely taunts me, it reads...... SLOW......
I reach the top. Which I eventually manage and I might add without getting off or stopping. But here I do stop and get off, to admire the view!
Once the view is taken, along with some deep breathing and liquid ..Moving on ...... Oooh pheasant, that must be bonus points in the I-Spy book of road kill, still know hedgehog. By now I really am in the middle of nowhere and looking for a lunch stop..... I come across a great big pub on a cross roads after miles of nothing. At last
30 miles left to go, refreshed I set off again. I marvel to myself that I've got this far really because I'm being guided by following a little black dot along a thin line on the bike computer. You see you pre program a route on your computer at home using a proper map and load it to the cycle computer. Then if you take a wrong turn your black dot moves off the line and it bleeps at you saying, off course. You have no junctions or road names shown or anything! At last hedgehog.... Yeah ( sorry ) book completed. I then past a pub called the Earl of Portsmouth! 3 miles later I pass by the Lymington arms...... Hang on am I still in Hampshire! Then a few more miles up another hill the computer bleeps at me, off course.......
I didn't recall a turning? I go back 50ft or so to see, well a track. The sign says footpath, it hardly is even that. Nothing I could manage on the bike, not even if it was a mountain bike! I get my hand written notes out. I quickly realise this isn't much help as it follows the route I can't now take. I get out my phone, to see where I am on Google maps..... No signal..... I know I'm only about 15miles away (because of how far I've travel) nothing for it i'll have to go straight on and look for road signs as some clever idiot didn't bring a map!
3 miles later I see an A road and a sign to Holsworthy 11 miles yeeaahhh. Lovely smooth road, can't imagine why I didn't come this way. Speed and spirits pick up again. Keeping an eye on the road signs further on another confirming 11 miles. Sometime later,11miles to Holsworthy......nooooooo. Am I just going to circle it, why is it not getting closer? At least I've confirmed I'm not still in Hampshire.
Closing in a sign 5 miles. As I turn the corner another zooming lens moment. I now recall why I hadn't picked this route! It's at this point my legs, arms, bottom and back form a union and vote the brain out of being in charge with a 'vote of no confidence'! I stop and drink the rest of my drink take an energy gel from tomorrows supply and head on up. That was the longest day of my life but I've got here and although it may not read like it, I have a great big smile on my face. X
sorry for any typos