Delightful stay at the Glazebrook hotel last night. A quiet hideaway (AA 2 Star), great owners and fantastic service.

An air of some expectation hung over us at dinner last night. Even (Simon’s Russian iPhone weather app) wasn’t looking good. Day 3 was the highest elevation of the whole ride (just under 4000 ft / 61 miles) and pouring rain was promised. Great company and a team spirit got us through the evening, helped in no uncertain part by Rose’s laundry service (clean shorts for everyone, at last).

Simon’s (L) discovery of a Cheese Mite, quite tasty he said, was to begin a 24 hr animaltastic episode in our cycling lives.

Rosie (Peter’s wife – the animal story is on pause for a second!) joined us for breakfast after a stay locally with family. Great porridge, necessitated 3 courses for me – Rose did say ‘fuel up’. Ollie at this point (having had breakfast) had started making friends with Bob, the hotel Dog. (pictures to follow). Something must have been said because at the morning photo call, they wouldn’t look at each other….

After a night of howling gales and torrential rain, the day started dry and mercifully remained so. Only hills to focus on! Good team ride today. Fantastic support from Simon Lewis and Terry who got me up all the hills. I actually really enjoyed a few of them, that’s progress for you!

James had at least two punctures today, remember, I said he does this a lot?! It transpires that he’s actually tighter than Simon and repairs his inner tubes, no wonder they go! (they cost a couple of quid). Wasps did their best to disturb one of our stops, it seems they like full-fat Coke, particularly mine. And yes, I know that doesn’t sound good, and I normally never touch the stuff, but Rose insists we drink it to fuel up. At the same stop, Ollie was briefly seen in the back of a large Albanian truck and trailer. Curiously the rear door was open and the inside empty. I guess Exeter might have some additional tourists tonight.

Road kill becomes a constant feature of the cyclists life. I’ve lost count of the amount we’ve seen, and you become quite an expert at identifying flattened corpses on the side of the road. Simon (G) topped this today with the rare sighting of a snake. Now, it was probably just an adder, but by the time we got to the top of the next hill it had become a python and had ‘gone for him’. I think he’s become slightly delusional since he stopped shaving. (Don’t forget to bring your spare bic razors for him)

Slightly less dramatic, but certainly more uncomfortable was the large fly (let’s call that a large Blackbird in Simon Griffiths speak) that managed to lodge itself in my throat as I topped a particularly tough hill. Let’s hope that I’m never faced with the same dilemma again – do I spit or swallow? Peter says it’s good protein, I wasn’t going to find out. This was no cheese mite, so after some rather unpleasant vomiting noises (apologies to the inhabitants of Monkton) the poor Eagle was expelled to a watery grave.

Another charming hotel tonight and we’ve finally made Somerset. I think it’s called the Lord Lucan, but I’ll need to check with Simon Lewis who’s an expert on hotels round here.

The most important thing is that Simon (G) has a bath and a four poster bed (!) – I think he rang ahead and played the charity card to get the bridal suite. Let’s hope he doesn’t have too many nightmares about his python tonight…..