the long ride

Ride 123 by rOcKeTdOgUk
Ride 123, a photo by rOcKeTdOgUk on Flickr.

after yesterdays change of plan and with a better weather forecast i decided that today was going to be the day for the long ride. the plan was to head for Bidford on Avon, then Stratford on Avon, then Warwick, then Solihull and home. instead of the usual saddle bag of sandwhiches and coat etc i nust too 2 apples and two bottles on the frame and set off to see how far i could get before needing to refuel. i hoped to get to Warwick where my old favourite cafe was to indulge in caffeine and cake for a boost. there were a great number of cyclists on the road, whether this is still the Tour de Franc’Olympic effect or just the promise of a dry day i’m not sure but it was nice to see lots of cheery fellow pedallers about. i wasn’t sure of the route but as i got to Bidford i followed a group of cyclists who seemed to know where they were going (and i did a quick check on google maps, where would we be without smart phones!) i went through Barton which from the signs and water height markers on the road suffers greatly when the river floods. then on to Milcote where i picked up the Stratford greenway, this was very busy with walkers and cyclist. the trail had lots of huge puddles and lots of the riders were trying to avoid them, even queuing to go round them! i just road through and go on with it, i’d got a lot of pedalling still to do. shouldering the bike over the Avon foot bridge i weaved (safely and courteously i’d like to add) through a very busy Stratford and onto the Wellesbourne road to Charlcote hall, Barford and into Warwick for the cafe stop, raspberry and coconut slice devoured i popped up the a friends house, he’d very kindly left me water to replenish my bottles before going out, top guy and just in time i’d emptied my supply just a couple of miles before. next was the biggest challenge, Hatton hill, i was quite pleased with this one, 46ish miles done and it didn’t really trouble me and i made good time to Knowle where i turned for Shirley. up ahead i saw a group of 8 cyclists leaving a pub and heading on my intended route, i caught them at some traffic lights and we turned in different directions, it turned out i was using the cycle path and bridge over the motorway and they braved the very busy motorway junction. as i waited to join the road and took the opportunity to txt my position home they passed me, the lead rider shouting “c’mon lad get a move on”. well that sounded like a challenge! they had quite a head start on me and i got stopped twice by traffic lights so it took me about 1,5 miles to catch and pass them grinning like a loon, they didn’t say a word! i was nearing home now with only the height of Weatheroak hill between me and the end, this was dispatched and as i approached the poo ally road climb i could definitely feel the distance in my legs and it was quite a painful last little hill before rolling into the finish.
so 66 miles in all, i was kinda hoping it would be more as the 100 mile ride still alludes me, saying 106km sounds better though i suppose, still i got proper tan lines out of it, even if they do look silly!
ride 123
66 miles
total 2325
commute 632

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