Legs starting to hurt on a morning - planning for 97 miles today…but a worrying trend of post wrong-turn looking at the finer points of the instructions meant we did 108 - just 10 miles you say…but an extra 10 miles on top of 97…hmmmm
So today’s top 10 you groovy people
1 - The Cheddar Gorge. Go there, hire or take a bike and ride up it. Beautiful, stunning, dramatic, memorable, immense - loved it. (a bit of a lung-buster but not actually that bad)
2 - Severn Bridge on the cycle path - the wind dropped and we watched a storm move in across the estuary with sunshine either side - a beautiful moment that demanded the silence it received. Did get a little drenched though…
3 - Chepstow to Tintern Abbey - maybe one the best stretches of road in the UK on a bike - towering trees forming a green tunnel and the wet tarmac glistening in the post-downpour sunshine. Simple enjoyment with the reward of Tintern Abbey at the bottom.
4 - Tintern Abbey - a surprise that appears out of the trees - magnificent gothic architecture, demanded a brake-slam and a moment of silence to take in the sheer size and wonder how the stain-glass window must have looked like in its pomp. Then get distracted by the herd of cows grazing in the grounds, mooing gently to break the moment - pity our peleton boys passed it by with barely a nod - Harry and I enjoyed the scene though
5 - 49.5 miles per hour on a road bike. I’m no expert but this seems quick to me - Baggio we bow to your lack of self-preservation in the pursuit of speed - he lived to tell the tale (over and over and over again mind…)
6 - Bristol & Bath Railway path - pick it up in Saltford, ride for 5 miles through old stations ending up at the old railway sheds with steam engines and old carriages. Great footage of the boys in Ickle Pickle tops in Peleton-mode.
7 - 900 feet in half a mile - now that is a climb - get to Tintern Abbey, continue along the river, turn right at Brockweir and head for St.Briavels - its a hill that will keep on taking…over every brow is another and another…but oh what a reward at the top - views of the valleys and to the estuary - narrow leafy lanes and hedgerows to constrain heavy-breathing and muttered expletives. Strangely satisfying to reach the top.
8 - St. Briavels to English Bicknor down to the valley floor to meet the Wye river. I take it back this MUST be the best ride in England (or at least the best I’ve had the pleasure of careering headlong down). Simply exhilarating although I refer you back to point 7 for a reason not to do it.
9 - The view from the top room at the Royal Hotel in Ross-on-Wye out over the Wye-Valley. Sunrise was witnessed thanks to Biagio and his walruss-snoring impression - very very pleasant indeed.
10 - Mini-cheddars. Firstly biscuit or crisp? Secondly can a snack get any closer to snacky, nibbley, stick-in-the-tooth perfection?
Milage: 108 miles - 289 in total
Max speed today 49.5 - Biagio (see point 5 above or simply see ‘nutter’ in any reputable dictionary)
Hissy-fits: 2 (a ‘navigation’ problem)
The Saddleometer: Reports of severe soreness from the group, lots of Sudocrem discussion and 2 pairs of padded shorts predicted for tomorrow. Suspect we will see a lot of ‘major discomfort’ tomorrow….