Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Darkmoor!

No, I didn't mis-spell the title of this post. Darkmoor is the name of a new ride I'm organising.

I've been inspired by the Dunwich Dynamo, which starts off in London and participants ride through the night to get to Dunwhich by dawn. I've been wanting to do the Dunwich Dynamo for some time now, but the logistics involved make it a tricky and expensive bike ride for me to do.

And that got me thinking, why not start something nearer to home? Down here in Devon we have some stunning scenery and fantastic roads to cycle on. The ride must be a fair distance, long enough to make it a bit of a challenge, but not so long that only elite athletes need apply. (Although I have a plan for something a bit more strenuous - I'll post that later!)

It simply has to be a night ride. After all, how can you model a ride on the Dunwich and not have it as a night ride? Besides, cycling in the dark changes a ride completely! Even familiar roads seem strange in the glow of your headlight, as the road is swallowed by the darkness not too far ahead.

Now if you've ridden the Dunwich before, you'd know it's a 120 mile ride. Darkmoor will be only 52 miles, so a lot shorter, although those are 52 hilly miles, which makes a difference. Starting in Okehampton, at the railway station, the ride will drop into Okehampton before leaving the town via the B3260. Soon we'll be riding over Dartmoor, towards Chagford.
There will be a long, almost continuous climb to the B3212, which we'll follow through Princetown to Yelverton.

At Yelverton the route will follow a traffic free path, part of NCN27, for a short while, before dropping down to the village of Clearbrook, before climbing towards the Cadover Bridge area, We'll skirt the hamlet of Wotter and take the B3417 into Plympton, on the outskirts of Plymouth.

Soon we'll be riding along Plymouth Road, before following Embankment Road in towards the city. Turning onto Gdynia Way, and getting off at Barbican Approach, the end will now be in sight. Soon enough we'll end at Plymouth's Barbican.

The ride will have a target time of around 5 hours, although some riders would obviously finish quicker, while others may take longer.

Here are the important bits: this is NOT an "organised" ride. Yes, there's an "official" route, but there will be NO control points. If you decide to take a shorter, faster route, well you'd only be cheating yourself. Darkmoor is NOT a race, although undoubtedly some will try to be first to Cap'n Jaspers on the Barbican.

If you come along, you will be doing so entirely at your own risk. If you get lost, you will be on your own & there will be no support wagon to contact.

It will be dark! I cannot stress this enough. You will need decent lights that allow you to cycle at the speed you intend to and you need to ensure your lights will last at least 6 hours.

The ride will set off from Okehampton at 23h55, with the aim of making it to Plymouth before sunrise. This means in the end all you'll be racing is the sun.

More details, including a route map that allows you to download a GPX of the route, may be found here: http://darkmoor.tk

PS: the .tk domain name indicates Tokelau, a tiny group of islands in the Pacific. Do go have a look at http://dot.tk to see all that they offer, including free domain names. It's a worthwhile cause to support, so do spread the word?