Saturday, 26 September 2009

Cheddar Challenge

So, it’s the first week in September, we were on holiday walking the Wolds Way in Yorkshire. Our dog has poor hips, so we walk 5 to 7 miles a day. Plenty of time to relax and plan the route of the End to End. I used Memory Map, drew direct routes on the map base and then looked for obvious bridging points, ie lowest crossing point of the river. This gives an overall distance of 1170 miles to which I assume I am going to add 10% to 15% as I haven’t stuck in every twist and turn. So that’s 1350. I really am going to have to take in a few more of those bends to get more accurate. At 80/90 miles a day that’s 16 days. Oh good, that’ll be fun preparing for, and mental to note to agree the time off work now, just shy of three weeks? I am going to have to see if my Dad will come and do the first few days with me driving my kit ahead to the next B&B.

Back to the actual bike riding, back from the walk and ringing around for whose out Sunday. Nobody? I’ll ride down to the meeting point in Bridgwater anyway and join the local club. No they are starting in Taunton. Just over 4 hours into South Somerset on my own.

Thursday the Tour of Britain was coming through. Andy, Leigh and I rode the route out to Wiviliscombe and stood in the sun on the Devil’s Elbow. Very pleasant, with more of the local riders we know riding out to join us. My the pros go fast.

I was expecting to ride straight back, 3 hrs total, very nice midweek, but the plan was to ride to the feed station at Bampton and see what treasure the pros had thrown away there was to collect: By the time we got there it was very efficiently tidied up, both officially by the Tour and unofficially by local cycling bounty hunters. Then we turned right and started the climb up to the top of Exmoor via Morebath, then onto Raleighs Cross and back to Bishops Lydeard. Now I don’t mind hills, I get up them but those who are kind enough to take me out riding with them are younger (my excuse) and defiantly more talented when it comes to going up hill. So cut a long story short we all joined back up together at the top before the descent to Bishops Lydeard and the climb back up Cothelstone. 4hr 45m in total and I was home. Not ideal preparation for Sunday.

I rode to the café Saturday and turned early for home

Cheddar Challenge:

112 Miles so far this week, in the preceding 7 days 190 miles, and now the Cheddar Challenge, and advertised 160km 100m ride.

As the year before it was fast from the start. Normal confusion in sportives, fast riders, slower riders and riders who have no idea of how to ride in a group. First couple of hills sorts that out as the quicker riders move away. Speed remains high, and I figure out by the numbers given out by the organiser and mounted on the bikes that that most of the riders with me are only riding the first 60miles. A fine excuse to sit in and let them work for the first part and save what I have for the final hilly section.

Sure enough we come back to Cheddar after a circuit of the Somerset Levels and Moors, and most of the group pull off. Onwards to Cheddar Gorge, back down to Wells and up and over the Mendips again, round the north, Chewton Mendip and back up Burrington the descent from Shipham is dry and car free. Didn’t touch the brakes, lovely.

Whole ride turned out to be 5h19 for the 98.5m: 31st of the 120 riders with the first in at 4h40. Last year was 5h15, so consistent, and unexpected. Felt fine at the end, legs a bit stiff but ok.

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