Sunday, 15 July 2012

Great Weston Ride

Up early today to drive to Weston-super-Mare to take part in the Great Weston Ride which raises money and the profile of the Prostate Cancer UK charity. It was a bit cloudy and dull as I set off but the sun was shining where I was heading. Its a from somewhere to somewhere else ride and not the start and finish at same place kind. The start was in Bristol and the organisers for a fee laid on transport from Weston to the start and vice versa for anyone wanting transport back to the start. So about twelve of us hesitantly put our bikes in the back of a van driven by a complete stranger and jumped on the bus to get to the start. It didn't seem to take long to get there but the driver of the van obviously took the scenic route and was nowhere to be seen. Lots of people at the start and whilst I waited for the essential piece of equipment to arrive I booked in and scouted about for the Cycling Mayor and the Mendip Rouleur who I knew were riding the event. The Rouleur spotted me first, admiring my Livestrong jersey and the Mayor appeared soon after. Really nice to meet them both at last, quick chat, I think someone mentioned doing this !
Long Ashton start

The man in the van arrived with the bikes and I was soon on my way. As its a charity event there were lots of different types of riders and bikes and not all lycra clad racing snakes on carbon racing steeds. The route took us through Barrow Gurney and past Chew Valley lakes before turning off onto a particularly rough road  near Harptree. Another hill at Blagdon and through to the first stop at the bottom of Burrington Combe. I seem to be taking longer to warm up and I was glad of the break as my back was aching a bit. A quick breather and refuel and off up the combe, the big climb of the day, past the Rock of Ages but no sign of Tom Cruise ;) The lower part of the climb is deceptively steep but I soon got in my rhythm and quite enjoyed spinning up, the last part was a bit steeper but my aches had disappeared now and I was actually passing people pushing which would of been me a year or so ago. Along the top of the Mendips now and through the village of Priddy which took me to the great descent down to the levels but not before stopping to take a pic of the view.
View of Glastonbury and the levels
Onto the levels now and wind, its always windy when I'm out here is it me ? Through Wedmore and onto the second stop at the school. I resisted the temptation to have a bacon roll or cake and just opted for a cup of coffee. I don't know if that was the right option because once I was back on the road into the head wind I started feeling a bit rough. The long drag through Mark and over the motorway to Highbridge to play with the cars on the busy main road. The route took me through Burnham, busy with tourists and along some quieter lanes past Berrow and Brean before rejoining the main roads again for the last little bit to Weston. The clouds had rolled in and the wind had picked up at Weston as I made my way down the seafront to the finish. I was shepherded into the finish and given my medal and a token for some free hot food but the queue was about twenty deep so I gave that a miss. There was even a trailer selling beer but I was driving and I'm trying to be tea total at the moment so sadly I gave that a miss to.

Distance:56.03 mi
Avg Speed:13.8 mph
Elevation Gain:2,301 ft
Overall I enjoyed the ride but it was a shame you had play with the traffic on busy roads but its summer and the roads are always busy out that way. I was flagging for the last fifteen miles or so, I think I need to find something that refuels me better. As the route was a bit lumpy to start with I don't think my time was too bad for me.

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