Devon Grit – Woodbury Common, East Devon

Advertised as a gravel ride…turned out to be more of a mountain bike ride with some road bits! Even the guy handing out the T-shirts at the end said we would have been better doing it on a mountain bike. A couple of us did the Standard route – 60k; a couple of us did the Full – 76k. There is also an Extreme – 100k – for the truly hardy/foolhardy. At about mile 5 I wanted to cry as it was much more technical than I was expecting and than I’d done for over 30 years, and certainly never done on a gravel bike with 38mm tyres. But by the first food station, after a bit of road riding, having given myself a talking to and relaxed into it a bit, I did start to enjoy it a little more. But the ‘gravel’ sections involved large tree roots, rocks, some boulders, deep ruts only a few inches wider than your tyres, steep climbs on above surfaces, steep descents on above surfaces. As Sandra says: some stunning views after some very hideous climbs! There were some amazing views and the food stops were often and very plentiful – quiches, homity pie,  brownies, flapjacks. Sandra even won her age group!! And even though I came second from last in mine, by the end I did quite enjoy it!
From Julie Gitlin