Mud, Flowers, & Cotswolds Hills: Happy Days in February

18 02 2011

A quick ride last Wednesday, well quick in the planning. Download the Beacon Roads CC Cotswold Expedition Audax route and head out at 9.30 for a proper tour of the Cotswolds.

My chosen route is a slight modification of the Beacon CC route but both deliver great views early on over the Vale of Evesham. This view is amazing, but especially so during a mid-summer sunrise.

However, great views mean dealing with the frequent long drawn out hills on the North West side of the Cotswolds. I dread and love riding up on this hill with the fixie in equal amounts.

hillThe ride was marked by 70 miles of head winds on the way down to Burford, and by very muddy roads thereafter. I had to stop twice to scrape the mud out from under the mudguards on both wheels as the build up was causing noticeable drag! But it also gave me an exscuse to stop and whimper by the side of the road. By mile 85 I was struggling!

mud on bikeLooking at that photo again, I can’t believe just how muddy the bike became. Despite the hard riding, I could but not notice numerous small woods where the entire floor was covered in snowdrops. And the beautiful Cotswold houses with the first signs of spring budding and flowering in their gardens. I even passed daffodils that were in full yellow flower. It’s been a long, cold, gray winter but the Cotswolds in February is the perfect place for an early taste of spring. Unfortunatly, the snow drops always seemed to appeared on the way down big hills, and the daffodils on the steepest uphills, so no stopping for pictures of either. After a much needed final stop for hot chocolate I perked up pushed on back to Brum to finish in the dark a little after 7.15pm. 144 miles in about 10 hours, not a fast ride but well worth it for the flowers, the views and the sense of having completed my first real journey of the year. I love riding in the Cotswolds, might have to go there again next Wednesday.

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