Cyclists: Andy M, Andy C, Alan T, Claire W, Steve L, Marion F, Mike B, Keyna G, Mark C (saturday only)
Support Crew: Mark F, Chip, Tricia, Maggie R
Socialites: Gabby B, CJ, Paula B and Baby Emily.
Possibly the most complicated trip to arrange ever? probably not but it certainly took quite some co-ordination with multiple accomodations along the route, support crew for the Friday night, and multiple visitors joining up on the Friday & Saturday as well. However I am pleased to report that it all went swimmingly…
And with water being the theme, the build up to the ride wasn’t looking good at all with prolonged heavy rain all week leading up to the ride. In fact as the train headed towards Weston the wall of water that greeted us was quite stupendous. However we needn’t have worried as we enjoyed 3 days of perfect cycling weather that had us reaching for the suncream and it was even dry on the ground for the most part.
With some 120-130 miles ahead of us we set off from the pier on Weston-Super-Mare seafront with an immediate steep climb up into Weston Woods followed by a fun rocky descent. Making our way out of town we hit some more rocky byways before Andy C suffered a double puncture. Luckily Alan’s emergency innertube came to the rescue which lasted all of 25 metres before it imploded on itself with the bang heard over 100 metres down the road! Finally back on our way we had to push our bikes part way up Crook Peak before a rocky and rooty descent on the other side. Unfortunately Keyna came off her bike on some unsuspecting tree root but wounded pride and a black eye were not going to get in her way. Soon we had a one of the hardest sections crawling in first gear for ever through muddy rocky path up to the highest poin in the entire trail to Beacon Batch at 325 meters. As the day had taken much longer that originally planned we headed out over the mendips via a minor detour to reach our nights accomodation. Some more club members joined us to ensure a great evening was enjoyed by all.
On the Saturday we set off with great enthusiasm for some nice and gentle bum-friendly road cycling. Visiting some wonderful villages en-route before some making our way through Longleat estate and into Warminster for lunch. A hearty pub lunch prepared us for the steep climbs that greeted us as we made our way across the edge of Salisbury Plains and some great tracks and descents before heading into our nights accomodation. The sun was shining, the trails were dry and Keyna’s black eye was providing on-going amusement for all. We were joined by yet more club members on the Saturday night for an awesome evening meal in the Green Dragon pub, West Lavington.
With everyone recharged and raring to go on the final day, we faced the longest of the rides all the way back to Newbury and what a contrasting day it was. Starting off with nice and quiet country roads and villages as we approached the vale of Pewsey, we soon hit the byways that were overgrown, flooded, steep, slippery, muddy, smelly and generally mucky. The sort of thing that puts off all but the most hardy or foolish cyclist. When Andy C came a cropper in a particulary watery byway that went over up to his knees, we were greeted with the first moans and groans by the girls whilst the boys thought it was brilliant! With everyone accounted for, we headed into the last leg of the trip through Collingbourne Woods and then up and over InkPen and Combe Gibbet for a last blast in the mud before heading for home, weary but with a great sense of achievement…