Sunday, 15 April 2012

Secret World Charity Ride

Pastures new(ish) today as I headed to the Somerset Levels to take part in a charity ride in aid of the Secret World wildlife rescue centre. The ride itself was organised by the Bridgwater Cycling Club and nearly all of today's participants appeared to be members apart from me and a couple of others. So about twelve or so of us set off into the morning sunshine, I was a bit concerned, I was under the impression that the ride would be marked in some way but was advised at the start that it wasn't and had to rely on the written instructions, we all hate written instructions I'm bound to end up with some extra screws. Everybody set off at a nice pace and for some reason I got pushed to the front, we then hit the first incline at Woolavington, as I don't know the area everybody else seemed to shoot past as I paced myself but they did wait at the top for everyone to regroup.

I'm not the quickest and soon lost the pack on the next stretch, I managed to catch up to a nice man called Alan who seemed to know where he was going so I stuck with him. After a slight detour (got lost) which was confirmed when we passed a couple on mountain bikes who were taking part walking up the hill at High Ham who hadn't passed me. Again I took it steady and stayed with Alan but I'd like to think I could have gone a bit quicker but I thought it would be bad manners to leave the bloke who'd stayed with me. It was then onto Langport and the first checkpoint at The Potting Shed cafe where everybody else was lounging outside enjoying the sunshine. This place was soon packed with cyclists as members of Taunton Road Club descended, I knew one of them so it was nice to talk to a familiar face.

One warm coffee later and it was up the hill and towards and through Somerton under the railway bridge and then another climb which took us towards Butleigh and onto Glastonbury. I managed to stay with one rider for a bit but the wind was being a nuisance now and hitting us in the face as we headed downhill towards Glastonbury, the wind was holding me up that much I didn't need to brake. On the flat and heading towards Glastonbury, the headwind really making me feel uncomfortable, as a practising asthmatic I do struggle when the wind is taking your breath away. I managed to catch up with a couple of riders and we made our way through Glastonbury and across the levels to the second checkpoint at Fenny Castle. This was also packed with cyclists, I didn't fancy sticking around so had a quick drink of something fizzy and headed off to plough a lone furrow into the wind.

I think I've ridden this bit of the levels before when I did the Cheddar Sportive last year and like last year I had the wind to contend with but not the rain and it was a bit warmer and I was wearing more layers because layers are good (thanks Jennifer). I had to stop to get my bearings and nearly went the wrong way but the quick boys had caught up with me and pointed me in the right direction, they didn't stop mind. On through Mark, short name long village, and a bit of a tailwind down to Huntspill and back to Secret World for a well earned cuppa and a slice of cake.

Distance:52.37 mi
Avg Speed:13.3 mph
Elevation Gain:1,589 ft
A nice ride for a good cause, shame about the wind but I kept a steady pace all the way. Big thanks to those who kindly sponsored me.

A Green hill...far away

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