Sunday was a great day for November. 8 degrees, sunny, little wind – about as good as it gets at this time of the year. The first two hours were a little on cold side as the sun slowly appeared to warm up the clear day. I felt pretty slow plodding along, being more concerned at keeping my hands warm. I took some very flat rather uninspiring roads westward towards Cirencester. The first two hours included only 50 meters of climbing, which is not typical for me. Before Cirencester, I got bored of the flat road and turned right on a whim into a small side road. Finally, I climbed away from the flat plains towards the Cotswolds. I had a rough plan to aim for Cheltenham, but rather than use a map, just followed the compass on my sat nav – taking whichever quiet road went north west. It’s kind of fun cycling around the Cotswolds lanes, when you don’t really know where you’re going.
Finally I hit the A40 near Andoversford, and took a fast descent into Cheltenham. At Cheltenham, it was already 56 miles on the clock, and there was the first serious hill of the day – Cleeve hill on the B road towards Winchford and Broadway. Cleeve hill rises sharply out of Cheltenham affording great views towards the Malverns towards the West. A really beautiful climb – though the road was quite busy. If you went to Wodmancote, there are some much steeper ways up Cleevee hill, but Cleeve hill proper averages 6% with a max gradient of around 10%.
photo: Dean Morley Flickr
After Cleeve hill, there was a tougher climb out of Winchcombe and then the long road back to Oxford, which still took in some great views.
Today was Remembrance Sunday, a typical scene in one of the many Cotswolds hills.
Bourton on the water
I ended up with 190km on the clock (115 miles) in seven hours. That’s about as much as you can do at this time of the year. Bizarrely, it was my longest ride of the year, and my biggest distance since 2005!
It was a great ride. I still can’t believe how comfortable my 85 gram saddle is on a seven hour ride – it is more comfortable that supposedly ‘comfortable – extra padded saddles’
I ate quite a lot, and feel a bit tired.