26th July 2010 - I found this to be the hardest day of the whole trip. We were tired from the day before, and it was one of our biggest days in terms of total ascent. And the ascent was the real steep stuff, plenty of 20%+ climbs, and even a few 30%'s in there, which are steep even in walking terms. We left Boscastle quite early, at around 8am and had to climb straight away out of Boscastle. The steeper hills were on the way to Bude, so the first quarter of the route really drained us. It was nice though going along the coast, and while difficult, it really conditioned our legs. It was going down the steeper slopes that was scary, especially when the road was slightly damp (my rear wheel kicked out on a 33% downhill which gave me a scare).
We had lunch at Bideford, one of our last fish and chips. After only two days of food, and fish and chips were leaving us feeling bloated and a bit sick. We ate our fish and chips in the local park, and ended up sleeping for about 30mins. Once we left Bideford, we did a stretch along the A39 which was possibly the worst road we took on the whole trip. Dual carriageway, very fast, with glass etc... along the road side. Annoyingly it wasn't the route I had originally picked, it was to save some time. But as we went along it, down and to the left we could see a small service road which would have been perfect, except would couldn't get to it!
Finally, at the end of the day we had to climb into Exmoor. This again was hard work, a climb lasting for 10-20km. Not the steepest of climbs, but it seemed to last forever. Once we were within 15km of the hostel it flattened out, and we were able to average around 35kph. We arrived at Exford Hostel at around 7pm. It was the least enjoyable of all the hostels we stayed at, but there was plenty of bike space. The local pub/hotel was nice and served good (but not great) food. We had a beer, and got to bed by 10pm as one of our longest days was to follow.