My bicycle is creaking and clanking, sounding the way my 54 year old body feels. At the hight of one of the hottest days of the year I have decided to detour from my usual flat valley ride home from school, venturing up into the hills and onto the farm tracks that dip and dive across the steep-sided valleys that surround Cadeleigh and Cheriton Fitzpaine. Across the main Crediton road at Stockleigh Pomeroy I decide to take the lane up to the summit of Raddon, a climb I have previously only ever ridden in the other direction. In the open valley there was a cooling headwind, but here, hemmed in by towering hedgerows and a blistering blue sky the atmosphere is airless, breathless, like super-heated molasses. Around another bend the tarmac pitches up close to twenty percent and I feel what little strength I have left desert my body. The physical desolation feels perversely heavenly.