Great Weston Ride

Today I have done over 5 hours riding which, if you think about it, is pretty much a stage of the Tour de France. I have led the pack, I have dropped off the pack on hills, I have sprinted for bridges, and I have chased down breakaway groups.   So which cyclist am I? *grin* Answers on the back of a postcard or, alternatively, you could always leave a comment…

Today was a game of three thirds, played out under a blanket of grey cloud that was nearly chilly but not quite…

Part 1: GB, GW and I met up at 7.00am and cycled into the park and ride at Long Ashton.  There’s something very cool about turning up to do a sportive on your bike…don’t ask me why but I’ve always thought it looks kind of professional and nonchalant.   Having said that, it didn’t seem quite so cool when I rolled out of bed at 6.00am but at least, since it was GB’s idea, I had someone to blame it all on.  To make up for it he showed us the flattest route into Bristol possible, by which I was proper impressed since I was unaware that it was possible to get there without toiling over unpleasant hills.  Points to GB 🙂

Cycling time: 1:09:01
Distance: 19.33 miles
Avs: 16.7 mph

Part 2: We did the Great Weston Ride.   The route took us back out from Long Ashton, through Barrow Gurney, and out to Chew Valley Lakes.   I know it seems flat in car, but the slog past the lakes and up to the main road was possibly the worst bit of the whole ride.   The strong wind was against us, the road surface is like porridge, and it’s all going slowly upwards…  It sort of saps the life out of you.   Not nice.   The main road there always feels like it ought to be flat, but is actually very up and down all the way to Blagdon, after which there is a bit of respite before the hill to come…  The first stop of the day was at the bottom of that hill – Burringtom Combe – where we regrouped, and chatted to the rabbit we had recently caught and dropped.  Thanks go to the very nice man at the bike shop there who let me use the loo.  We then plodded our way up the hill, into the wind.   We spread out a bit and did our own thing, thus avoiding attempts at conversation and turning a blind eye to any misery being suffered.  Did I mention it was windy?  Right.  It was windy.   Very windy over the top of the Mendips, which is where we re-grouped and re-layered.  It was drizzly too.   Which is GB’s fault for mentioning, earlier in the ride, that drizzle had been forecast and that there didn’t seem to be any.  Still, drizzle is better than rain.  Just.  GW alleges that it’s refreshing, which is a masterpiece of positive spin doctoring *grin*.

Once at the top there was a nice fast section along to Priddy before the nasty descent down the very same hill that GW made me go up on Friday.  We were on to very familiar territory now as we went through to Cocklake, along to Wedmore, and out to the second food stop at Hugh Sexey’s school where the coffee was nescaf but the cakes were apparently awesome.  We were clearly near the front of the ride as very few had been through before us, which was quite a nice feeling.  I was having a good day, my legs had settled in, provided there was little or no incline, and I was really quite enjoying chasing rabbits, eating up the miles, and generally going faster than usual.

Onwards through to Mark, Highbridge, from where the wind was finally in our favour.  Out dodging grockle traffic to Burnham, along the fast flats pushing all the way, up the hill to Uphill and down into WSM and the stage finish on the lawns there.  Turns out we were around the 5th cyclists in.  Oooh, get us 😉  Rather than a useless goody bag we got a ticket for a free ride on the Weston Eye and a voucher for free fish & chips.  Both of which we did.  Well, it would be rude not to.  And since we were there early we had plenty of time in hand too 😛

Cycling time: 3:25:08
Distance: 56.33 miles
Avs: 16.4 mph

Part 3: We cycled home again.  There’s something quite cool about doing that to.  Especially when you pass all the other cyclists still going the other way as you’re doing it.  Note to self however – chips do not make good cycling food.  They make for great indigestion.  By now GB’s man flu had worsened, my left knee was proper hurting despite the pink pills, and I’m sure we could have lived without the last couple of hills over Bleadon and the Webbington.  Apart from GW who blithely announced she couldn’t wait to go up Weare Hill because then she’d be properly worn out.  Bless – there’s a category of strange especially reserved for such people 😉

Cycling time: 0:39:21
Distance: 10.36 miles
Avs: 15.7 mph
ODO: 5127

That’s a total of 5:13:30 in the saddle, and 86.02 miles done.  I really enjoyed it – and definitely got a buzz from it.  Mind you, that could be the coffee – I’m still avoiding that for the most part so maybe now when I do drink it I get the benefits properly!  No, it was a really good ride, in good company.  I think I did ok 🙂  I’d been feeling at a bit of a loss with no bigger rides coming up on the calendar so it was a very good thing – thanks to GB for spotting it and suggesting it 🙂

Time to have a shower, kick back on the sofa, and watch the pros show me how it’s supposed to be done 🙂

2 thoughts on “Great Weston Ride

  1. Darren

    Great account of the Ride – and didn’t realise you were doing all those extra miles as well. Proper impressive! Very obvious that you had a great time on Sunday, and that’s what it’s all about. Chapeau!

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