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Day one was our only route that was familiar to us. We have practised all of the sections of this several times. So we knew what to expect (fear!).
Up at 6am – Dave kicked off the first section at 7am
The first section was from home to The Watermark in Ivybridge where we said hi to the manager Jonathan who has been so supportive of our endeavours. This was 15.68 miles and included a couple of hills, but ones we have done several times and know how to manage.
The second section was kicked off by Carole at around 8:40. It is a leg with a lot of uppy-downiness. When we first did it Carole couldn’t get anywhere near a 10minute mile pace and had to push up some of the stiff hills. She can now manage the 18.31 miles at a terrific 11.6mph.
While she was doing this section I drove to Trago Mills and topped up with petrol, custard donuts from the Coop and had to buy a replacement water bottle for the bike as someone (not Dave) had left 2 water bottles in the fridge at home!
Then while I was waiting for Carole in Liverton a lovely chap called Rob came and handed me £20 out of nowhere. Thanks Rob.
Dave then headed off for the final section of the day which turned out to be 17.47 miles of hell, in the then midday sun. This incorporated a 4 mile uphill section through Haldon Forest that we had never managed before without pushing some of it. Until today. Dave managed the up to 14% gradients (barely able to still breathe) then managed the last seven miles which were much friendlier. He arrived at the Heart of Oak pub in Pinhoe, Exeter just before 1pm.
Total distance 51.46 miles (Dave 33.15, Carole 18.31) Just over 7% of total journey. Total saddle time 4hrs 18minutes.
However, there was still the little matter of going to a gig, which was going to be 90 miles away in Bath! When we arranged the route we were originally going to be doing something with the now closed Bikeshed Theatre. It is worth saying a thanks here to the Corn Exchange Exeter who let us do an exit collection with them a few weeks before.
So we drove first to Taunton where we had a room booked at the services there, they let us check in early, so we could get a shower and let us store the bikes inside, which was really nice of them.
We drove to Bath then headed to the Stable restaurant, who have been amazingly supportive this year and are feeding us at several locations on the way. They are also supporting Mind this year. Best cider selection AND amazing vegan pizzas.
The manager Frankie could not have been more helpful and we popped across the road to Komedia for the gig suitably stuffed!
Komedia have been SO supportive of this venture from the start. Retweeting everything and even making a donation themselves. We had a fantastic time. And the two previews we saw were terrific. First up – Jim Tavare – From Deadpan to Bedpan – a horror tale of his last 18 months or so and the horrible car crash he had in America. THANK GOD FOR THE NHS – WE CANNOT GO THE AMERICAN WAY!
Then we had Stuart Goldsmith – End of. Another beautiful show from one of our favourite acts and one of the nicest people we have met in comedy. We saw some of it in Plymouth recently and it was great, but the extra polish in a few weeks is amazing. Go check it out if you can.
Stu did a bucket speech for us and several people shoved money in our pot on the way out just over £80. Total for the day was around £105. (Plus we had several online donations coming in through the day – thanks!
We then had another 90 miles back to Taunton to navigate. And thus ended a very long but amazingly good day 1.
This first day is a little over 52 miles cycling. Though because of the hills, it is one of the most extreme days, of the entire journey. The first two sections are fine-ish, but the third will be tough as we found when we practised it first in March. Dave will be doing the first and third sections with Carole doing the middle.
After the ordeal of the first days cycling we will be driving another 70 or so miles to Bath for the first gig of the tour. We are delighted to have been welcomed by Komedia, one of the best clubs in the country for a couple of preview shows Stuart Goldsmith & Jim Tavare. What an amazing start. Tickets here
Then back to Taunton for a short sleep then drive back down to Exeter again in the morning to pick up the cycling where we finished today.
We have broken it into 3 sections, Home – (The Watermark) Ivybridge (PL21 0SZ) – (Post Office) Liverton (TQ12 6EY) – (Heart of Oak) Pinhoe, Exeter (EX4 8HS)