An autumnal slog across to the Cotswolds

8 11 2010

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged but that’s because this blog has essentially become a place where I share my cycling trips, and to my surprise I’ve learnt that people do actually read my stories. Well since the South Downs Double I’ve had some down time from the epic rides, I’ve had a few beers, been walking, put on a couple of pounds and tried to work out what next year will be about on the bike. I’ve not entirety figured that last point out yet but what I do know is that getting some big miles in before the new years starts will be a good thing.

So that’s what I did last Saturday, getting the miles in. A quick flick through the Audax calendar reveled a 209km ride from Droitwich down to the Cotswolds to ride around the stunning hills between Cheltenham, Stroud and Cirencester. Now if like me and you have never ridden around this part of the Cotswolds then I highly recommended it, especially at this time of the year, but I also strongly suggest you take some gears!

I set off from home at 6.30am to ride the 21 miles to the start of the ride at 7.45. It’s a 209km ride so I figured riding the fixie I’d be done by 4pm…a nice day out. My plan was to take it easy (ish) have a cuppa or two, maybe a sandwich and generally ease off a bit from my normal pace. Well that was the plan, which went straight out the window within 2 minutes of the start. I just could not help but jump on the wheel of a guy that went of the front, and there I stayed for the remainder of the ride, on his wheel, grovelling up the hills and spinning like a madman down the hills!

The ride was rated as 0.5AA points, which on paper means it’s not that hilly, in reality it’s one of the hardest rides I’ve ever done. Most of the hills were only just about rideable, except for the few I had to walk up, and the downhills a bit bonkers! The first climb was out of Broadway to Snowshill and on to the Cotswolds. After that the hills just kept on coming. Shortly before Cirencester in the area around Syde I very nearly cracked just before picking up my 6th puncture of the week. But what a god send that puncture was as it gave me 10 very valuable minutes off the bike and time to get some food and drink down my neck, the bonk avoided!

After Cirencester the route climbed steadily uphill for 7 miles before dropping all that height gained in half a mile only to go straight back up another stonker of a hill. By this point I was really cursing my choice of bike! We dropped (literally) off the side of Cotswolds and in to Winchcombe and after 100km that was the hills done for the day. All that lay between us and the finish was a fast 30 mile mad dash. My riding partner for the day and I made it back to the finish just after night fall at 5.30pm, nearly 10 hours after setting off where uppon arrival we got stuck in to a great plate off pub grub!

So what set out to be a pleasant 150 miles ended up being nothing but a very rode and cruel re-awakening off my long distance cycling legs. I’ll do this ride again as I think it’s a classic but with gears next time. My next long ride is a 200km jaunt from Tewksbury in to the Brecon Beacons and back on the 20th November, anyone care to join me?

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One response

8 11 2010
Liz Gillies

Maybe Indie will share your love of cycling and come with you uncle James. I’d love too if you got a tandem however I fear you may need more than gears if I was on the back. A motor maybe required! Glad to see your back!

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