News & Events

Posted 11 September 2018
byJames Orpin

Moor 2 Sea 2018


It was a rather cold and grey start to the event on Saturday morning. Cycling fans of all ages gathered in the early hours to conquer the Dartmoor hills! Here are the experiences of three of our team.

Ellie – Inspire Route (S category)

With training rides of just about 20 miles under my belt, I was a little apprehensive about the hilly 34 mile Inspire ride I was about to take on. Once we set off it wasn’t long before we were passing through Dawlish, and enjoying beautiful sea views. The route was quite hilly as we passed through Holcombe village and Teignmouth but manageable because of frequent down hills in between. The tricky part was getting going mid-ascent after stopping at the traffic lights!

At the food station in Kingsteignton, I was pleasantly surprised that we had already reached 18 miles but knew the worst hills were yet to come. After a quick flapjack I started pedalling again and reached Chudleigh. From the event information I knew that this would be the toughest part of the cycle and I can confirm that it was! I made it up one hill, which was steep but not unbearable and hoped that was the worst part done. I was wrong! The next hill through the woods was perhaps one of the hardest climbs I’ve done. However, it was also the part of the cycle which I think had the best atmosphere. I really was going at a snail’s pace when two riders encouraged me to keep going, whilst we all agreed it was a ‘killer’. It was a great sense of achievement (and relief) reaching the top, and was only a short ride until the welcoming sign of Exeter Racecourse. I was thrilled to complete the ride in 2 hours 50 minutes and would definitely recommend it to any cyclists who love spectacular Devon views!

James – Challenge Route (V40 category)

My first sportive was in 2007 (the inaugural Dartmoor Classic) and I’ve completed a few etapes since then. So, I have some experience in cycling events but this one was different, I have had two kids since my last event in 2013.  That inevitably means that I have a lot less spare time now and so with 3 months to go I had virtually no training miles in my legs.  Luckily at that point I moved house and the commute of 11 miles turned out to be the perfect way to kick start my training. Putting in an extra loop on the way in to work meant that I could start getting in some decent base miles.

We organised a few training rides for our team (thanks to Stewart of Just Events in sorting out the routes and hosting the main ride from Bovey Tracey) and these topped up my commute with some proper Dartmoor climbs. In my last ride to get my bike serviced the day before the event, I managed to tick up 1,000 miles on Strava for 2018, which was very satisfying.

I had to hand out a few packs to the team in the morning, which meant a bright and early start at the racecourse.  Luckily all of our team turned up on time and so I was able to head off at 7:30am. For the first time in an event, I hooked up with a few local riders who seemed roughly the same ability.  Riding in a small group proved the perfect incentive to try and push most of the way round and we were together on the key fast sections (the start to Bovey Tracey and Whiddon Down to Exeter).  I was slower on the climbs, but I guess that was to be expected!  I managed to do a few turns and hang on all the way to Ide and then that was where I ran out of energy.  I crawled up the last climb, but the “fast” start meant I still managed to pick up a gold medal – my first ever!

It was the friendliest and slickest event I have been on and I’m already looking forward to next year.  I’ve just got to work on the climbing!

Stuart – Challenge route (V50 category)

Like James, I have entered a lot of ‘sportives’ (rather like the cycling equivalent of a half or full marathon). They all differ, so that some like the New Forest Spring are 100 miles, but gently undulating; whereas any race anywhere near Dartmoor will be shorter but with endless punishing hills.  The Moor2Sea Challenge (i.e. 70-mile) route was firmly in the second category – a lot of climbing throughout the entire route but with Hay Tor; the road south from Widecombe; and the last ascent from Ide to Exeter Racecourse being particularly gruelling.

I was troubled beforehand by the weather forecast, because if a hill-climb is so steep that you need to get out of the saddle and stand on the pedals there is a much greater chance of the back wheel slipping away from you if the road is wet, and since your shoes are clipped in to the pedals there is simply no time to unclip and break your fall. But last Saturday it stayed dry and bright throughout and the wind was behind the riders on the way home when we all needed that extra help.

There is an old cliché that it is easier in life to go down rather than up, but you only get the views from the top. Despite the frequent pain of yet another ascent, the ride was hugely enjoyable and the views stood as a constant reminder of what a beautiful county we live in. The other factor adding to the success of the day was the organisation, which couldn’t be faulted and Just Events should be congratulated on the smooth running of this race. Their choice of sponsors may have helped, of course.

Next year the objective is to beat 5 hours ….

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About the author

James Orpin

Partner and Solicitor

Partner and solicitor specialising in corporate and commercial matters