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Cycle hardcore pt3 – the real test

June 5, 2010

as we headed out of milton abbas the lines on the map we were following were getting fainter and fainter – ‘ you sure its this way mate?’ having to contend with back country road signs wasnt helping so much either – the signs to hilton seemed to fluctuate from 3 miles to 5 miles despite our best attempts to get closer to it. we stopped at a junction to ponder the maps when a woman got out of her car (parked on the inside of a blind corner – thats how they roll in the abbas – and pointed us in the direction of a near vertical ascent – the hardest of the trip. it took three short sharp goes to reach the summit.

feeling remarkably fitter from even the day before, the hills were becoming easier to overcome. although that last one was tough, and the hills that followed proved to be much the same, they were becoming less of a chore and more of an enjoyment as we climbed and fell through the dorset valleys. the views were great, the weather was fantastic, we were on a roll.

after many ups and downs we finally made it to the aptly named piddle valley, thus completing the hardest section of the weekend. it was5pm and we were rollin – not far now to dorchester and the home straight!

we pondered short cutting onwards across the valleys, but the far more attractive prospect of heading down the valley road and into dorchester won our hearts. the road was long and all down hill all the way to the coast – we hurtled down with boyish excitement as we overtook cars and startled local pedestrians.

we reached dorchester in no time, covering 6 miles in 15 minutes. the problem which we now found ourselves in is what goes down, must inevitably come back up. we were now at the bottom of the valley channel and the only way to salway ash was nearly entirely uphill.

we crawled slowly through dorchester, pinnacling at charlies poundbury estate – a testament to his dictatorship attitude to architecture. the shallow neoclassic attempt at utopian dorset dwelling was a site to behold in its utter disregard for dorchester as a historic and valid county town. i took great pleasure in pissing on a pile of rubble on the roadside as we left.

the final push was the stretch between dorchester and bridport, linked by the superfast A35. We had two options – stick to the main road all the way to bridport or head up a small section and tae the turning for compton valence where we can cross the valleys – either way we had to start on the a35 so we pushed on.

we trudged slowly up the hill, contending with the caravans and buses that hurlted by too closely for comfort. from my memory of visiting this road the week before, it crosses some pretty unforgiving territory – the prospect of crawling up big ascents on such a busy artery was less than appealing. we took the turning for compton valence and breathed a sigh of relief.

the relief was short lived however as we faced once again an intolerable climb into the hills – do they ever stop!

time was a against us – it was approaching 7pm and we still had work to do. the temperature was dropping as we were ascending and it was getting nippy – we were out of water and down to our last few nuts and raisins. we pushed on and on up the relentless hill climbs. this section was really tough. we pondered walking across a field to take a shortcut, but walking sucks, so we turned around mid field crossing and cycled the long way round. we climbed another hill that looked like it was dropping off the face of the earth – then the summit revealed we were at the highest point as far as we could see! we could see the ocean! bridport was down the hill! relief! we let open all the way down, julian counted 57kmh on the speedo as we savoured the final descent into bridport. we flew through idyllic villages like loders and uploders, reaching the edge of bridport in no time. we skirted around the town and found ourselves on the final b road that runs through salway ash – we could taste the dinner waiting for us!

Julian was still feeling the effects of yesterdays muffin

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