Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Miles cycled this year: 3332.2 @ 24 July
In 210 Hours burning 118614 Kcal climbing 140780 ft
Most miles in a week (so far) : 187
Weight: becoming a state secret#

I lead the local cycle club ride out to Stourhead in Wiltshire. I rode to the start, the onto Langport and then back home from Somerton totaling 93 miles for the day.

Unsure as I am of the normal format of these write ups, being your newest, but probably not shiniest member, I offer this as my write up of the Club ride to Stourhead.
This ride has been planned in my head for over a year now, but each time I looked at it I came up with a different route out and back. It was no surprise that I was still fiddling about with the options for the return journey on Saturday evening. North or South of the A303 was the options, and keeping it down to a bit over 30 miles, being the main constraint. I also wanted quiet roads, where we wouldn’t be toubled by cars and a constant need to single out.
The result was a route where I suspect everyone, including me, rode on new roads (I have driven them all sometime before) and most of us had no idea where we were most of the time. This meant that when we came to the junction with a main road, there would be the odd knowing murmur of recognition of where we were, at least in relation to some town or other.
So where did we go? Well we gathered in the main car park in Langport, and headed east, and into the up the aptly named ‘The Hill’ to the Hanging Chapel. Sarah was proving to be on form at this point as she accelerated away to the first king of the mountains prize. After that is was the A road to Podimore roundabout and onto the village of Podimore. We then stayed on the side roads to Bridgehampton, and Queen Camel. Straight on to the south of Sutton Montis, well in truth we went into Sutton Montis until I realised we were off course, where we U turned. This seemed to start the trouble, the first of the three that it comes in.
As we approached Girt and the turn for The Beacon, Ian slipped his chain. We turned up the short sharp climb up to The Beacon, but Ian did not appear. Nigel and I went back (downhill) and found Ian hidden in a gateway bike upside down. A plate on one link of his chain had sprung open. Nigel broke out the chain tool and I rode back to report to the group at the top of the hill. 15 mins later first Nigel then Ian appeared. All back together we moved off only to stop in 20 yards as a U turn in a narrow lane caused another of our number to fall gently sideways. Much leg pulling, and congratualtions and we were off on a long gradual downhill to Charlton Horethorne past Sigwells.
Sigwells is an odd place, a site of a former WWII airfield but also much archaeology.
Continuing out of Charlton Horethorne up the 20% Windmill hill and down to South Cheriton and its toll house with table of charges from 1824. We couldn’t see a charge for bikes, but moved off quickly just in case, and continued east through the lanes to Cucklington which is at the top of yet another short sharp climb. Seats were available just in case, or just to enjoy the view back to the west over the Blackmoor Vale.
Closer to coffee, and into Dorest through West Bourton and Bourton where we joined the old line of the A303 and quickly into Wiltshire and Zeals. Turning north now we close quickly onto the National Trust visitor centre at Stourhead and its café. We seemed to cause something of a localised stir here, it was quite funny stood back and watching the public just standing and staring at us. We must remember to pass the hat round next time!
Suitably refreshed we headed back west through Gasper and through the woods to Pen Selwood. West onto the old A303 and into Wincanton. A 50 yard walk against the traffic in a one way section avoided a mile circuit of Wincantons one way system, and we were heading north west to turn left into Verrington Lane and off towards Shepton Montague, Yarlington, a little wiggle through Galhampton, and towards North Barrow.
It was at this point we picked up the strengthening headwind and Alan started to suffer with the pace set into the wind. There was regular slowing of pace and we were able to stay together through Charlton Mackrell where we picked up on the Three Towers Audax route and rode that backwards towards Somerton. It was notable that we were not passed by a car from behind from Wincanton to the A37 near Charlton.
In Somerton the group opted for the main road back and a ride distance of around 63 miles in total.
I understand there is a café at a garden centre just north of wincanton, maybe next year?

No comments:

Post a Comment