Saturday, 2nd September saw riders on the start line of the Moor2Sea sportive from Exeter Racecourse, Devon for what promised to be a spectacular day for all routes across Dartmoor. Just Events Ltd brought their excellent organisational skills to bear and provided everyone with a choice of testing routes within some of the most challenging terrain the south-west has to offer.
The Inspire route of 37 miles gave riders a taste of riding UK sportives but it was the Challenge (65 miles) and the Extreme (112 miles). In addition, the Challenge and Extreme riders could test their competitivenes on the timed Haytor climb often used by the Tour of Britain for a special medal which all added to the fun of the day.
“… and pushed on towards the start of the Hay Tor Climb. There is a King and Queen of the Mountain section here, which is a timed segment, 3.6 miles long with 1200ft of ascent and an average gradient of 6%.”
There is more from Just Events Ltd with their Lands End 100 sportive on October 7th but in the meantime, find out how RUT Training completed the Challenge route and Chris Guest from St Austell Wheelers overcame the Extreme route!
“After passing through Postbridge it was a chance to recover a little on the run into Moretonhampstead. After yet another tough climb I enjoyed a flat-out descent into Dunsford without having to touch my brakes.”
Moor2Sea is always a popular event with riders from the region and many clubs take part. If you have never ridden the Moor2Sea, put the date in your diary for 2018 now.
Check out the results at http://techtrons.neptron.se/#/more2sea2017/results.
What better way to spend a sunny Saturday in Devon, than exploring the lanes and taking in the sights? Oh, and climbing a few (sometimes rather challenging!) hills with a bunch of fellow cycle enthusiasts? On September 2nd, myself and 6 fellow riders from RUTraining Today Cycle Club (RUTT) based in Plymouth took on the 65 mile route of the Moor to Sea. This was my first attempt at this route. I had been warned “save something for the end”!!
The first 28 miles of the Moor2Sea Challenge route is fast and pretty much flat, by Devon standards at least. You take in glorious views as you skirt around the coast. Our average speed as we passed the food station at Kingsteignton was around 18mph – definitely on for a Gold with that time! Happy Days!
Knowing the course was going to get harder I decided not to stop here and pushed on towards the start of the Hay Tor Climb. There is a King and Queen of the Mountain section here, which is a timed segment, 3.6 miles long with 1200ft of ascent and an average gradient of 6%. I am not renowned for my climbing prowess and so I had decided that I would take it easy here knowing that there were plenty more hills to come.
On the day, competitiveness gets the better of me, and with other riders clearly focusing on the qualifying times for entry into a jersey competition, climbing faster became a priority. As I reached the summit I glanced at my watch and was pleased to see that I had achieved the female qualifying time. At this point, out of the mist (yes, the sun had disappeared at this point), pranced a fancy dress horse and rider (aka James Smith, from PRIMAL Europe who sponsors the event). He enthusiastically offered support to all riders as they reached the top of the climb, and you couldn’t help but smile despite barely being able to breathe!
As I rode off over the brow of the hill I was greeted by another RUTT cyclist: “It’s all rolling from here” he shouted… I am not sure if this was intended to lull me into a false sense of security, but for anyone taking on this route be prepared for more hills! LOTS more hills! Of course the scenery more than compensates, but there are some tough climbs as you head towards the 2nd feed station at Postbridge (42miles). The feed station was well stocked, but my average speed had dropped and I was focused on achieving a gold for my age-group, so I grabbed a quick banana and headed off. There are some nice fast sections from here as you head towards Moretonhampstead..is it obvious I don’t like climbing yet?!
The final section of the Moor2Sea meanders back up to the race course at Exeter. In the final 5 miles the gradient kicks up again. This is also the final section for the shorter ‘Inspire’ Route (37 miles). It certainly was inspiring to see so many families on this section. I recognised a few juniors from my local triathlon club who were experiencing their first sportives with parents in tow. I yelled encouragement as I passed but I had no time to waste now as my average was now very close to the cut-off time for Gold. Eventually the finish came into view. I had a few minutes to spare. Much to my delight I won a Queen of The Mountain Jersey too! In sum – a great event, thoroughly well organised and with route options to suit a variety of abilities…oh and hills, lots of hills!! Did I mention that?!
I’ve ridden just about every Sportive in the south west including the Dartmoor Classic & the discontinued North Cornwall Tour, but the Moor 2 Sea has to be the best test for me so far. At 112 miles and 11,100 feet of climbing this Sportive pushes you that bit further than its 100 mile counterparts.
The format has changed slightly in that it visits the ‘Sea’ first, then the ‘Moor’. This may be an attempt to alleviate the traffic encountered on the coastal run through Dawlish and Teignmouth by completing this section early in the day, but this only enhances the enjoyment of this ride.
I had intended to take this ride easy having only ridden a 25 min recovery ride in the week after a short club run on Sunday but I soon found myself in a group of enthusiastic riders and we maintained a pace of 22mph up to the foot of the Haytor climb 28 miles into the ride. I’d been on the front for several miles up to this point so I expected the other riders in the group to pass me on the climb, however, at the summit I was fighting out the event KOM with just one other rider from MDCC who out sprinted me to the summit.
I’d gone to my limit and it took me a couple of miles to recover as the Mid-Devon rider disappeared into the distance. Having skipped the first feed station, the second couldn’t come soon enough but on the way I had a nice chat with a rider on the shorter distance event and I managed just for a few miles to ignore my already sore legs.
Coming out of the second feed station I felt I needed to ease back a little to make sure I made it to the finish, I’d felt that there had been a fair bit of climbing already but was assured by some smiling volunteers at the feed station that the hardest part was still to come!
How right they were. I hadn’t really studied the course profile beforehand but I was soon to find out that it was back-loaded with climbs. This ride was labelled as Extreme and after dipping and rising through Princetown, Dousland, Crapstone, Ivybridge, South Brent, Buckfastleigh and Ashburton I found out why as I began the climb up Holne into Poundsgate and back to Bellever to the feed for the second time.
The weather all day had been very kind with sunny spells interrupting cloud but always light winds and fairly warm. After passing through Postbridge it was a chance to recover a little on the run into Moretonhampstead. After yet another tough climb I enjoyed a flat-out descent into Dunsford without having to touch my brakes. By now most of my reserves had run out and I was pedalling squares on the climbs.
Having caught and chatted with a young rider on the valley run in to the finish, it was clear he was fresher than me, so on the final climb I pleaded with him to leave me to my suffering and I somehow managed to turn my 36×28 over to reach the summit. Across the finish I was completely spent and I slumped over the bars for a few minutes happy to have finished. 4th out of 100 riders and the fastest KOM on Haytor was a satisfying result for the days efforts. With great signage, feed stations and fantastic scenery, this is definitely one Sportive I’ll aim to ride every year.
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