I left around 8:30, but stopped again after 5 minutes, as I had attached one of my panniers too far forward and kept kicking it with my heel. I get a little flustered, when someone is watching and/or waiting, but it was quickly rectified. I took the opportunity to clean between the gears and put some oil on.
There were a couple of small hills, then I found myself on the Great Western Canal and Devon. I hadn’t realised that I was so close to the county border. I had again chosen one of Teasi’s own routes, but this time not the suggested one with over 1500 m. climb, but the „easy“ one with 800+. (my original route would have been 700+). He led me 7 kilometres along this not too bumpy towpath. The only thing that slowed me down was having to dismount to go under the low bridges. On this stretch, there were even signs asking cyclists to do so, but I had been doing anyway to avoid banging my head or toppling into the water. It is not always easy to dismount with all my luggage, when the path is narrow and/ot sloping towards the canal, so sometimes I just straddled Bonnie and pushed, which caused a couple of painful encounters between the pedal and my ancle.
Soon the expected climbs, or „steepies “, as I called them, appeared and I mastered them bravorously (well, I did push a bit). I had been warned, that Devon was the hardest part and was pleasantly surprised, only seeing a few smaller climbs on the elevation profile, towards the end.
It was nearly all on country lanes and through sleepy villages, where often no car at all passed me and all I could hear were the birds, or the occasional „baa“ of a sheep. On one occasion I passed a house and heard a dog barking and the definite „ee-aa“ of a donkey. It was absolutely beautiful and I felt totally at peace.
By my usual picnic-time of 1:30 I had already covered over 55 kilometres and had lesss than 30 Head of me. Wonderful! I could arrive at my destination by 4 p.m.!
That was where the fun started. What had appeared on the elevation profile as a couple of little hills, proved to be a series of steep climbs. I don’t feel ashamed to have pushed most of them and enjoyed the most exhilerating descents. Unfortunately I did have to brake quite often, as there were a lot of bends. When the route took a turn onto a wider A-road, which wasn’t busy either, I thought there would be no more hills, but I was very mistaken. These however were long drawn-out uphill grinds with barely noticable descents, rather than the short, steep climbs of the lanes.
I still managed to arrive at my destination, an old English pub,(not the one on the picture) before 5, one of my earliest arrivals yet, and had time to soak my aching muscles in a long, hot bath before going down to dinner.
Tourstats day 17 Greenham to Brandis Corner:
85,7 km., 829 m. ascent, 6:43 bike-time, 7:34 total
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