The Exmouth Exodus has been on my to-do list for a little while, in a nutshell it’s a 100 mile night ride from Bath to Exmouth. I’ve been on good form lately, having comfortably polished off a 130 mile ride to Newport Velodrome to do my track accreditation, so decided I’d ride home from the Exodus. I was understandably nervous before the start, the weather forecast was less than favourable and I’d never ridden 200 miles before.
At 9:30pm I was one of the last to sign on and after a quick team photo I was on my way. I started off with a very excited group of friends from work which was nice, but we had different intentions for the ride and at the first climb I took my leave.
I bounced through the groups of riders to pick up Tony Corke (The Bicycle Academy’s resident bike fit guru) who had agreed to come on this crazy adventure with me. Tony lives near Cheddar so it made sense for him to start the ride from the first stop, we grabbed a coffee and a brownie or two before heading into the night. The miles ticked by as we chased down every rear light in sight and before we knew it we were at the second stop. This was a good opportunity to refill, it even stopped raining so we didn’t hang around.
It was at this point Tony decided it was time to practice his Peter Sagan aero tuck, which was clearly too awesome for his bike to handle as a spoke detached itself from his front wheel – No drama and it didn’t hold us up for long.
The next 40 miles were relatively dry and involved more coffee, riding by moonlight and some rather brave wildlife. We were the first to make it to the beach at 5:45am, beating the sun rise and just about dodging the biblical rain. It wasn’t long until many of the 200 other weary travellers started to arrive at the finish line (a seaside greasy spoon cafe), so we quickly filled our faces and tried to talk ourselves into getting back on our bikes.
I squeezed the last of the water out my socks and hopped back on the bike. However, my legs didn’t take this news at all well and it wasn’t long before I hit the (mental) wall spectacularly hard. It turned out Tony was struggling as much as I was, so we crawled into a petrol station to buy some energy and pull ourselves together. It was 20 miles to the closest train station, which meant it was time to get well acquainted with the pain cave. I jammed my headphones in, stuffed a gel down my neck and hauled us both to Yeovil where we called it a day. This tipped the Garmin over to 160 miles and 10:30hrs, not exactly what I had in mind but not bad going considering the atrocious conditions!
All in all it was a great ride with bucket loads of Type 2 Fun and plenty of character building. Thanks to everyone that made the Exodus happen, The Bicycle Academy for supporting me with my bike, jersey and bike fit and Tony for being super positive and great company.