Posted Thursday 14th June 2012 –
On May 23, UK professional cyclists Brennan Townshend, from Team Raleigh-GAC took on the mighty challenge of the Moor 2 Sea Sportive using the ride a part of his preperation for Canada’s upcoming Tour de Beauce.
For the rest of us the inaugural Moor 2 Sea Sportive will take place on Saturday 8th September 2012 with a chice of the 112 mile extreme route or a shorter 67 mile challenge route that still manages to take in over 7,000 feet of ascent. Mor event details can be found in our sportive calendar listing pages at – Moor2Sea Sportive 2012
A full ride report from Brennan’s ride can be read below.
Townshend met with Stewart Bergman, Director of Just Events Ltd, at Exeter Racecourse Conference Centre, where the inaugural event’s HQ will be hosted this September. Stewart said, “When selecting an Event HQ for the Moor 2 Sea we wanted to ensure we had a venue that would meet the exacting standards demanded by a top sportive, with quality facilities, ample on-site parking, easy to access, out of town location, with plenty of scope for growth and development.”
At 9am, with the introductions done and the morning sun already showing signs that there was going to be a hot day ahead, Townshend started his Garmin, engaged his cleats, and set off to find out what the Moor 2 sea had to offer!
The first two miles are flat as you traverse North West past the historic Haldon Belvedere (Lawrence Castle), built in 1788 as a memorial to Major General Stringer Lawrence, a commander of the British Army in India during the 1750’s. Here the route forks left onto some real Devonshire lanes, leading you out to Longdown. “It’s a great opener to the event and keeps you on your toes, giving the perfect wake up and introduction to the ride,” Townshend said.
From Longdown the route follows the B3212 for approximately 18 miles, through the ancient town of Moretonhampstead to Postbridge. After a swift descent down in to the Teign Valley you are confronted with a quick succession of testing climbs over Farrant’s Hill, Steps Bridge and Doccombe to reach Moretonhampstead. Then it’s a steep climb past the Miniature Pony Centre to reach the open Moor. “This section really warms up the legs and gives you a taste of what’s to come,” said Townshend.
After 21 miles you reach 1483 ft, the highest point of the route, cycling past the iconic Warren House Inn (3rd highest Inn in England). “At this point you get the chance to really appreciate the breath-taking scenery of Dartmoor as you look at the Tors and views out to the coast,” he adds.
After Postbridge the route goes through Bellever to Poundsgate where it joins the B3357 for two very steep (25%) descents to Newbridge and Holne Bridge. “This has to be my favorite stretch of road on Dartmoor, it’s thrilling to descend and leads you through the stunning Holne Chase to Ashburton”, says Townshend. “The descent is quite technical. There are a couple of very steep sections with tight, unforgiving corners where you have to be very careful “, he warns.
“The route, from the B3357 to Ashburton and Southwards through Buckfastleigh towards South Brent is the same as will be used in stage 7 of the Tour of Britain, just one week after the Moor 2 Sea Sportive”, states Bergman.
Following a pleasant descent to Ivybridge, where you cross the River Erme, the route turns left, climbing sharply up Blachford Road and back to Dartmoor for a beautiful, undulating ride across to Yelverton.
“The long climb from Yelverton to Princetown is great provided you don’t overcook it in the first 60 miles”, warns Townshend. “It’s one where you need to sit in the saddle and tap out a good cadence, that way you’ll be making the most of your energy and conserving a little for those last few miles later on”, he advises.
From Princetown it’s an exhilarating descent past Two Bridges and on towards Dartmeet. At Hexworthy Cross the route turns right towards Venford Reservoir, winding its way up a grueling 25% climb, past the Forest Inn to reach Coombestone Tor. With a wry smile, Townshend states, “Don’t be fooled as you pass the inviting pools of the River Dart and cross the clapper-bridge at one of Dartmoor’s little known beauty spots. It’s here that the Moor reveals it’s true character, providing two very steep, twisting climbs that really set the lactate burning in your legs”.
After Combestone Tor it’s mostly downhill, crossing Venford Reservoir Dam to rejoin the B3352 back to Ashburton.
Bergman tells us, “The Moor 2 Sea will have a well stocked Feed Zone at Ashburton. This will be staffed by volunteers from the Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team, based close to the town. The Challenge route will pass through once, and the Extreme route, twice”.
After refueling it’s another sharp ascent (18%), over Cabbage Hill. “This is one I have never experienced before, but it’s one that I will be testing myself on again”, states Townshend.
With Dartmoor’s open roads firmly left behind, the route enters a whole new terrain, squirming its way through the narrow twisting lanes of Teignbridge to Kingskerswell. “You need to be switched on for this section, there are a lot of sharp corners and blind bends requiring your full concentration”, reminds Townshend.
The route climbs Fluder Hill (12%) out of Kingskerswell to join the A379 coastal road at Maidencombe. “The route is entering its last leg now and once riding along the south coast, the name ‘Moor 2 Sea’ really explains itself. Just two more testing climbs left, Teignmouth, and Mamhead. After conquering Teingmouth it’s fairly flat until Mamhead.” Townshend proclaims.
Bergman adds, “Having traversed the highest roads on Dartmoor, the Moor 2 Sea brings you right down to sea level, crossing Shaldon Bridge into Teignmouth. As you make your way to Starcross there are some captivating views along the coast”.
Having past the Anchor Inn, on the waterfront at Cockwood, the route enters Starcross, guiding you mercilessly to the final frontier, Mamhead. This two mile ascent will have its own King of the Mountain’s time. Participants who complete this stage within the designated time will receive a prestigious KoM Bar to append to their medal.
From the top of Mamhead it’s just a gentle spin back through Haldon Forest to the Racecourse. Once safely away from the public roads you will be free to race your way around the two mile closed perimeter track to the finish, in front of the Grandstand.
Townshend completed the event’s Extreme Route, with its grueling 12,000 feet of climb in just 6 hrs and 20 minutes and concluded, “The Moor 2 Sea route really is awesome, a vigorous test of endurance and climbing ability, a ride that once finished leaves you with a really satisfying sense of achievement. ”
Brennan has uploaded his ride to STRAVA, where you to preview the route profile and compare your times across various segments of the course – Moor 2 Sea Strava Ride