This past weekend I went back to my roots to race the UK 70.3 in beautiful Exmoor. This is the West Country at its best.
I flew into Bristol Airport and was immediately reminded of the unmistakable Bristolian twang. The West Country accent is a sound to behold!! As I walked into arrivals a little voice over the tannoy told us to “mind the stayyerrrrrrrrrs” (thats stairs to you).
From Bristol I travelled with my Dad into Exmoor past signs for strange and mysterious places like Dulverton, Shilingford, Withiel Florey, Wheddon Cross and finally Wimbleball Lake where the race was to be held. You know you are in Exmoor proper when your mobile phone loses all coverage this is deepest darkest Devon/Somerset. The roads are all narrow and windy and tree lined with high dense green hedges. Around any corner you can expect to see yet another pub housing the resident cider heads. Traditional cider (a West Country delicacy) also know as moonshine or rocket fuel is cloudy and evil and definitely best avoided the day before one of the toughest 70.3′s in the world.
Out driving the course the day we arrived we spotted Farmer Giles out on his rickety old bike (no Cervelo thats for sure). He was wearing a wax jacket and welly boots (you never know when the next downpour is coming) and was peddling furiously towards the steepest hill on the course (the technical definition of the hill I believe is “bloody steep”).
The race of course was wickedly hard with ridiculously steep climbs and technical descents (3000ft of climbling on the bike), a hilly and off road run and a somewhat chilly and fog bound swim (we started over an hour late due to the dense mist hanging over Wimbleball Lake).
My home, wonderful England at its eccentric best!