Not many cyclists here in Essex seem to have heard of this event. I’ve just got back from my fifth one and just love it. It’s a kind of Dunwich Dynamo with hills; slightly shorter at 102 miles. The start is in Bristol just before dusk and the finish in Exmouth by the beautiful Exe estuary.
Gathering at Channings Hotel in Bristol before the start
There are three substantial ranges of hills to get over as can be seen in the profile in my Strava record (link below). The first significant climb, at 30Km, is over the the Mendip Hills, ascending via Burrington Coombe and down the famous Cheddar Gorge as fast as you dare. Then comes the steepest climb at 100Km, up Blagdon Hill south of Taunton to get over the Blackdown Hills and lastly after about 154Km, a long climb from Otterton to Woodbury Common.
I have great memories of friendly cyclists, mist in the Somerset levels lit by a silvery moon, sunrise over the Blackdowns and a turqoise blue sea glistening in the early morning sun at Exmouth. A less great one is riding almost blind down Cheddar Gorge in torrential rain in 2009. For 2013 we were treated to about 20 minutes of torrential rain soon after the start and a headwind of varying strength for virtually the whole ride. No silvery moon either but we did arrive in a beautiful sunny Exmouth with stunning views over the Exe estuary at the finish.
Three people known as Wavy-Davy, Baggy and Chuffy (don’t ask me why!) do so much to make it happen and to feed and water the participants, with two tea stops and one feeding station. Top people in my book. This year the Scouts and Guides of Cheddar ran the first tea stop and did us proud. Many thanks to them too!
My friend Stuart and my cousin Richard at the Cheddar teastop (very humid atmosphere due to very damp cyclists!)
If you like overnight rides and a bit of a challenge, do give it a go next year.
A useful site for more information is: http://www.exmouthexodus.co.uk/
Here is a link to my Strava record of my ride this year: