Nick Dunton Andy Newell Chris Walters Louis Hall Nick Stokell
The only dawdler on this ride was the leader, who thought it started at 9.30. Sorry for the late start guys! Good weather throughout. A stiff south-easterly made progress tough when it was head-on, particularly climbing to Ipsden and the final stretches back to Benson. We made it back before the promised rain.
A well-balanced peloton: everyone had a go on the front at some stage and minimal separation on the climbs, although the Turville Tunnel exerted its usual selection process - thanks for waiting for me. Bluebells were much in evidence, particularly in the woods after Turville.
We have coffee at Velolife which was rammed with cyclist and lots of carbon bling parked outside. Lunch at Jenner's kept us fuelled for the return leg. Louis and I took tea by the river before he set-off to cycle back to Wantage.
A really enjoyable ride - no mechanicals or nasty drivers - and excellent company!
Wednesday Evening Ride
41 km x5 x2
John Talbot Adrian West Barry Gills Louis Hall Mike Holmes
I thought we'd finished with the winter rides!
As five brave souls gathered in Wantage it started to hail and then snow. Let's get going I said, then all hell broke loose. Apocalyptic hail, rain, snow, kitchen sinks afflicted us through Challow, our faces hurt as we descended.
It didn't last all that long, by Denchworth it had stopped. But now we are wet and cold. The only way to solve that is to ride hard and fast to try and warm up again. Adrian had had enough though so did a circuit round Denchworth and headed for the pub. It was a close call if Barry would continue as we went past his house with snow visible in the verges and fields!
However, the four remaining riders had a spirited and thankfully dry ride and completed the full distance. Some welcome warmth and food at the quiet Fox where Chris joined us for a natter was just what we needed.
Well done for coming out tonight, tough conditions!
62 km x2 x4
Chris Walters Nick Dunton
Just a couple of riders today - maybe the overnight frost was a deterrent?
Anyhow, off we went and nearly had a club collision before we'd got 100m! An early diversion because the planned route was rather less of a road than had been hoped for, a sneaky route through Shrivenham brought us back on track, sneaking into Bishopstone by a new route. Up to the Ridgeway via White Hill, rather than the more common Hatchet Hill, and the descent into Aldbourne was splendid.
Marridge Hill was as tough as ever, and on the top we got exposed to the headwind, which really did sap the energy, and made the decent into Lambourn rather sluggish.
Over coffee, the discussion was around what makes some days seem "slow" - today is one such day. Climbing back out via Sheepdrove was a novelty and became rather tough into the headwind, and the decent down towards Childrey was similarly retarded.
A quick stop under a tree at the top of Pulpit Hill kept the hail off us, until it made a reappearance just after we finished. A tough morning's ride!
65 km x8 x6
Chris Walters Adrian West Andy Newell Barry Gills Jenny Gower John Groves Phil Stubbings Terry Penn
It was a nippy start to the ride as Phil and I headed out to see if anyone would be joining us at Southmoor... enter stage right Mark - welcome!
A good but sociable pace kept going right across the ride. Highlights for me were the yellow fields that we rode between on Barcote Lane, near Carswell golf course.
The cafe at Bampton garden centre was rather sleep-inducing, sitting in teh greenhouse with the sun beating down on the panes of glass and creating a rather pleasant warmth.
A sprightly ascent of Buckland Hill followed, dropping off Mark and Barry at strategic points. Nice ride!
Wednesday Evening Ride
41 km x6 x1
Chris Walters Adrian West John Groves Jon Blamey Mike Holmes Phil Stubbings
Nice compact group tonight, we deviated up to Childrey cricket club to avoid the roadworks, and got rewarded with a very quiet A417.
Good pace throughout, but still plenty of banter. Jon left us at Fernham to get back in time for his curfew, as we ploughed on through the familiar roads of the Vale, all working hard and nobody struggling. This has been the fastest Corallian ride to date!
Back just before sunset, as the gathering clouds were enhancing the gloom. Nice ride folks!
Blowingstone-White Horse Audax pre-ride
108 km x6 x2 x1
Nick Dunton Barry Gills Chris Walters Louis Hall Lyn Taylor Terry Penn
The BWH audax route gave a great day out, as ever, helped especially by sunshine all day. Challenging hills, safe descents and enough flat sections to keep the rouleurs happy. We lunched in the sunshine in Marlborough. We took an afternoon break in the sunshine at Shrivenham. A good job we checked the route too, as two of the info controls need to be changed! Thanks all for an excellent outing.
94 km x3 x10 x1
Chris Walters Barry Gills Lyn Taylor
Just the two of us confirmed, so the ride was quorate... and imagine the surprise when another familiar face rolled across the car park in Shepton Mallet! Seriously though, for a moment, for all away rides, please let the ride leader know you're coming - worst case scenario is the ride doesn't run and you're not aware (why would you be?) and most likely outcome is that there won't be enough space booked for lunch.
Setting off then, the surprise 17% rise at Winters Hill caused some early consternation, and a few more undulations followed, with the ever-growing view of Glastonbury Tor. The lanes around here are totally straight for miles, with drainage ditches at either side, and we managed to spook a heron into flight as we cracked on.
Breakfast at Sweets Cafe was a relaxed affair, the cafe yet again brimming with riders. Lyn changed his hearing aid batteries, so he could hear us better... Onwards then, to Cheddar Gorge itself.
Normal service was in place - lots of jay-walkers and cars to contend with, but this is a really rewarding climb which somehow manages to get easier all the way to the top. Once the Mendip Plain was gained, we got some good miles in before the plummet down Harptree Hill towards Chew Valley Lake, where drinks, cakes and ice-creams were taken in the sunshine.
The final part of the ride is pretty tough, especially for tired legs. It didn't help on the second climb that your chirpy ride leader called out the gradient every metres, topping out at another 17%.... The final bonus climb was short and steep, and we nearly lost Lyn who didn't manage to hear shouts of "turn left" (I'd go for a refund on those batteries Lyn!), but he made it back to the group in enough time to enjoy (!) the steep 20% climb of Litt Hill.
Some undulating along delightful lanes followed, and then the rewarding descent of Bolter's Lane into Shepton Mallet finished the day off perfectly. Thanks to Lyn and Barry for being excellent riding partners for the day!