Sunday Expedition

The Sunday Clubrun had a long ride on 2nd July and Simon Keel wrote the story for us. It turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer and a tough ride for the riders who braved the whole route. Click here to read Simon’s report of their intrepid day.

This was the second attempt at the monthly long ride, the first having been torpedoed by Neil’s four punctures on the way out. We met at 8 am (yes, I know!) and there were eleven intrepid riders including James, Neil, Chris Steele, Travis, John Stephenson, Lance, Debbie, Tim, Steve Hundal, Jason and me. The temperature forecast was 32 degrees, but Jason only needed one water bottle, which might explain why he turned off at Chipping Campden on the way back.

The ride was fairly steady to start with following the weekend before’s route via Barford, Wellesbourne, Walton, Pillerton Priors and on through Middle Tysoe; ok so far, as we moved through with the “new” single changeover in front so that no one gets stuck with the same rider. The place names started to get unfamiliar as we headed towards Moreton in Marsh which was clogged with Sunday drivers, as usual!

Riders started to get a bit cagey about taking their turns on the front, using hills and junctions to slip back through the field. The heat was starting to get to people and three of our valiant crew turned off, giving the usual range of feeble excuses. Travis, who is over from Australia, was saying that the temperature was like spring or early summer from back home!

Well south of Moreton and with water bottles exhausted, we were looking for somewhere to refill and managed to find a village shop in Kingham (south west of Chipping Norton) stopping for 10 minutes at about 10.10am. Kingham has a fairly high-profile public school where the fees are around £6000 per term but fortunately the village shop is more reasonably priced!

Now down to seven riders we pressed on even further south, last week we had seen a camel, but this far south we were in danger of seeing penguins! We passed through Fiddler’s hill and into Burford for 11.07am contravening article 4 subsection 3.1 of the club rules on the timing of the tea break.

The Copper Kettle was full with no tables free outside so we marauded up and down the High St. looking for somewhere suitable, after about 5 minutes of aimless wandering we stopped at a pub with tables on the pavement. Serious tea cake loading occurred while we watched a very busy High St. full of tourists, and stockbrokers visiting their weekend retreats from the city. After stocking up on more fluids in the local shop we made our way home at 11.45am, the sun was high in the sky and beating down relentlessly. From Burford we made our way thourgh Bourton on the Water and past the Slaughters. The conversation started to die as the weather and ride took its toll, perking up slightly when a familiar sign for the Cotswold Farm Park appeared.

We now started climbing for what seemed an eternity towards Broadway tower, stopping now and again to let people stretch out a few cramps.

From Broadway we followed the ridge to Hidcote, now down to six riders as another turned off. This was becoming like a Foreign Legion march, where only the fittest would survive, and we were left with James, Neil, Chris, Travis, John and me. Just to make it more interesting we decided to pick up a few of the local climbs to finish the ride off, up Alderminster and then Loxley from where we limped into Wellsbourne to stop at the local shop for more fluids at 2.10pm, for ten minutes.

We then split up, two riders going back to Warwick. I finally returned home at 3pm after 7 1/2 hours completing 175km (109 miles) had a cold shower and promptly feel asleep for an hour.

Luckily I’m out of the country for the next one on the 6th August

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