Stage 10

"Spanners, cables and a major mechanical !"

Stage Stats

Distance 114.1 km
Time 5 hours 28 mins
Elevation 1718m
Pain Factor 8/10

Back in the saddle and its a tough one today, we have a bit of rural Devon to get through and then we have to cross Dartmoor. The first 30km is not too bad, but I can sense the start of things to come. The roads are now starting to become more rolling, you are either going up or down. As all the End To End books will tell you, Devon and Cornwall are the the hardest parts of the ride and I have this horrible feeling this is going to get a lot worse. Just as things were starting to hurt we reach the big city of Exeter. I have to wait for his Lordship who has yet another puncture. We grab a coffee and cake and ride on.

The road starts to get more rolling again and we soon come across the vast expanse that is Dartmoor. We cross the cattle grids and immediately take a short detour for some more Velo et Gateaux at Dunsford.  The weather took a break and we made our way up onto the moor to fantastic views and a great ride. We got lucky with the wind, as this is a desolate place and there is nowhere to hide on a bike on Dartmoor. We passed the famous prison at Princetown and I was half tempted to commit a few crimes just to get a bed, some food and a rest.

On we ride until we exit the moor and descend towards Plymouth where disaster strikes. The past days of frantically bashing gears finally causes my rear gear cable to snap. Taking a look at the side of the road, this is not fixable with the toolkit I have. His Lordship rides on while I go looking for repairs. Thanks to Google I have 3 options nearby, the only issue is I am going to have to ride it with the rear mech stuck in top. I basically now have only two gears by changing the big cog on the front. I limp the bike some 2Kms hoping they were open. Cycling nirvana !!!!, not only Red Brick Cycles, is a cycle shop but its a proper independent place with real people who ride bikes. They even have a big floppy sofa and coffee.

I explain my predicament and they casually ask where I had ridden from. I always enjoy this question as I have always answered "John O'Groats" as it gets a reaction, not here. Nice they said, Dave did it the other way last year. "Bah" well at least I found the right place. The guys did a fantastic job of fixing the steed, spanking new cable and re-indexed gears. (They even let me use their hose to lose most of the mud and dirt from the bike that had built up) I have been trying to keep the important moving parts free from much, but the main problem is lack of facilities in most places we stayed.  I thanked the guys and tipped them well for saving my ride.

With my steed reborn I was away, down to the Tor Ferry and across to Tor Point and into Cornwall - the last county. My legs had had it for the day now, the sitting on the sofa waiting for the cable to be fixed had caused the legs to seize up. I was forced to get the whip out and beat them alive again to get me the last 10km to the Liscawn Hotel where we had a great little room in a converted barn, a shed load of beer to anesthetise the legs and a massive fry up. 

Today the inmates took over the asylum. Showing that an escape through the moors was possible in just a single morning, Our intrepid duo crawled through a river of sh*t and came out clean on the other side — wait that is just the feeling we have trying to shower following Pauls morning routine at this point. Shawshank’s little tunnel that Andy has to wiggle through has nothing on the foul emanations that our cyclists take great pleasure in subjecting each other too. As the collateral damage, I can say that i will be glad to see that portion of the JOGLE done. Today however was the big push and after a so-so start the weather actually turned nice enough to enjoy the day in Devon. Good times were made, otters were played with, football was watched with beer in hand…. wait that was me… yeah, yeah they cycled into oblivion it has tough but felt good blah blah blah Alright so the fun parts were Mark entering Plymouth and promptly deciding that he needed a break and sabotaging his own cable so he just had to limp into a store for an hour cuddle break with the local cycle shop. Surprisingly they only put up with him for 45 minutes before they kicked him out with a new cable and a new found appreciation for butt butter. Meanwhile Paul descended into cycling nirvana and was off tackling every hill in Cornwall like Don Quixote in Holland. And he went on and on and on and well — congratulations to Paul as he has attempted to complete his JOGLE with a 1279 km ride today. We eventually found his battered gel filled corpse in the town of Loo(e) which seemed a fitting place for him to end up. Now with a proper course set and an ocean stopping him from progressing further perhaps tomorrow he might manage to find Lands End.


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Next Stage: Stage 11