Nine riders plus special guests Colin and Simon from Beacon RCC in Birmingham gathered in the rather grey conditions at the start. Not cold though.
We used the cycle path to get to the A40 and over the River Severn and the short blast along the A48 before we joined tiny lanes.
An interesting incident on the level crossing which doesn't seem to like cyclists much and shut on us trapping some of the peloton behind the barriers. Unfortunately Phil took a tumble and then the barriers went up to let cars across. Bizarre!!
We continued but Phil dropped off the back. investigation revealed a smashed rear shifter and he made the obvious decision to retreat back to the start.
The rest of the riders continued to the rather busy A4151 up the climb and through Little Dean. Shortly afterwards Nick suffered the first of today's punctures. Whilst this was being fixed we were astounded to see Phil turn up! His shifter had miraculously fixed itself!!
The reunited riders climbed the second big climb of the day up to Coleford where we took a breakfast break at Kaplan's café. With most of the big climbs out of the way we continued to the glorious road along the Wye valley, a tight 2x2 peloton making life easier and safer for all road users.
The obligatory photo opportunity at Tintern Abbey and then the draggy climb punctuated by temporary traffic lights towards Chepstow where a meet was in full flow at the racecourse.
Soon we were at the garden centre for our lunch stop, note for future you are allowed to wheel your bikes through the shop to the bike parking by the café.
After refreshment we had the excitement of the Severn Bridge. Always a massive treat, especially as the Sun finally made an appearance. Gilets and arm warmers were soon removed as the temperature began to rise, this is October right?
After the initial lumpy bit to Thornbury Chris suffered puncture #2 and we were delayed again for a repair. After this we soon hit the flatlands of the Severn valley with sunshine and a lovely tailwind. We were zipping along!
I altered the route slightly to avoid one of the towpath sections, this involved a quick blast for a few km along the A38. We were delayed by a swing bridge at Frampton and decided as time was getting on to skip the final optional stop and head back to Gloucester. Just before the towpath section I felt my back tyre go soft but thought I'd hang on for a bit and stick some air in it, unfortunately shortly afterwards it went flat suddenly for puncture #3. A new club record for a ride!!
Most of the others continued on the last few km to the finish whilst I repaired and got back to the car park a bit later than estimated.
An excellent ride and excellent company