Before our retreat season gets fully underway, we wanted to grab the opportunity to plan a big ride, which is something we're quite used to doing. Every now and then we get a nagging desire to join some dots on a map to make up a new challenge. A couple of years ago that challenge was called #DevonLap and it involved a 300+ mile ride around the border of the Devon, taking in all the lumpy coastal roads along the way. And hell are they lumpy.
From the 8-11th September we held our first country house retreat at our stunning HQ in Chulmleigh. We were delighted to welcome riders from the UK and as far afield as New York, all new to the joys of cycling in Devon. On arrival everyone was shown to their room where our carefully selected 'Welcome Packs' awaited - kit from Le Col, a stunning skincare package from VeloSkin, sports nutrition from OTE chosen specifically for the weekend, the latest issue from Simpson Magazine, t-shirts, chocolate and a few other niceties.
This post is just to give you a flavour of what the routes will be like at Moor Retreats, including rough distance, elevation, severity of gradient and should help to provide an overall sense of the difficulty, in case you're concerned.
It's with great pleasure that we can announce our new retreat package in partnership with 5-Star luxury hotel Bovey Castle, nestled away within 275-acres of beautiful Dartmoor landscape.
On Saturday we held the inaugural Moor Retreats Group Ride. A relatively casual meander around some of the lesser known Dartmoor lanes with a coffee stop at the elegant Bovey Castle. A great bunch turned up to toil with some sharp hills and to explore Dartmoor from new angles. The weather was spot on and it was a thoroughly enjoyable outing.
Everesting is a painful experience. There's no hiding. It's raw and it gets deep inside your head as much as it drills into your legs. My take is that, since you know that suffering will definitely occur, it makes sense that you should suffer on a climb of significant notoriety. Why go through all the pain just to tick off an Everesting on a random stretch of road?
We take both preparation and recovery very seriously - being comfortable on the bike is not just about enjoying one day out on the roads, it's about staying injury free, understanding your body and making sure you are conditioned for multiple outings. And that's why we include a Sunday morning yoga session as part of our road cycling retreats. This article just outlines some of the ways that yoga can help you stay supple and strong on the bike, and if you're one of our guests you'll hopefully forego the extra time in bed in favour of joining us for this pre-breakfast class in our purpose-built barn studio.
Obviously what constitutes a 'best' climb is a tad subjective - we all have our favourites - but we've compiled a list of the ones we think offer something a bit extra. That might be based on location and views or it could just be the raw savagery of the gradient. Devon is a lumpy county with many great climbs and we had to draw the line somewhere, so if you have a particular favourite by all means share it with us on our Facebook page or use the hashtag #moorretreats in either Instagram or Twitter.
Like we mention here, it's absolutely not our intention to pummel your legs and send you home a wilted mess. Of course we want you to enjoy your time in Devon, to appreciate the riding and to go away feeling refreshed and stronger. This isn't a boot camp. That said, we want to be realistic about what you should expect in order to give you time to prepare, because a 50-mile route in Devon is not like the out-and-back to Windsor or Box Hill. So, here are a couple of examples.