I woke this morning quite woozy. Broken sleep due to a different bed and the room being too hot meant I was up a few times in the night. I showered and rolled over for Breakfast at 9.45am. The restaurant was nearly empty. I smashed a full english washing it down as, annoyingly, the (decent) coffee machine was broken.
When I got back to the room I felt like a coiled spring so I decided to take a hot bath and have a good stretch. I felt loads better after that. After watching Homes under the Hammer (its addictive) I got ready and rolled out about 11am with the sun on my back. The forecast had said it would be a chilly start. I’d donned arm warmers but they came off immediately.
I rolled out onto the A46 south to Painswick and I was climbing out the gate. A good test of the legs and they felt great. No ill effects from yesterday really. The road was a bit busier than I expected but when I got over the top and dropped into Painswick the traffic had thinned out.
Rather than stay on the A46, I’d mapped a parallel route on some lanes. I dropped of the main road and it kept going.. down, more down and some more. I just knew I’d have to climb back up the other side and there it was. A bit of a beast and the first of the day that required first gear. Legs held up and felt strong.
Over the top I dropped into Stroud and decided to pay our store there a visit to meet the guys. I stopped my Garmin so the detour didn’t mess my route up. I had a cuppa and a chat before I was on my way again. Across an island a left and I was on another big climb up onto Rodborough and Minchinhampton Common which weirdly had loads of signs advising cows were roaming and could be in the road!
The descent into Nailsworth was really cool. A series of proper hairpins gave the ride an Alpine flavour until I hit the junction at the bottom. Back on the A46 I began to climb again and the road was a busy again as cars would occasionally queue up behind me but once on top of the Cotswolds escarpment it flattened off and opened up for some great views in the sunshine. Its a roman road so pretty straight and unforgiving when you can see so far ahead. Eventually I took a right and headed off the beaten track onto a series of lanes that at times were broken, gravel and effectively disused.
I stopped for a gate pic of the bike and a call of nature but as I soaked up the view I managed to piss all over my fingers which was lovely of course. I was getting a bit hungry so as I exited the lanes I picked up signs telling me I would be in Chipping Sodbury imminently.
What a disappointment. Its a horrible place. It has a quiet yet huge wide high street which is bordered by wall to wall parked cars as far as the eye can see. 90% of the space is for cars. I just had a sandwich and a bottle of water from a shop. There wasn’t even a bench to sit down. God awful place. Don’t bother, just drive through and find somewhere else people. So much room to make it nice and pleasant. An opportunity lost.
I crossed the M4 and eventually hit the outer limits of Bristol and for a bout a mile enjoyed the Bristol to Bath traffic free cycle route which was a refreshing change and a joy to see so many leisure cyclists, walkers and runners using it.
Out of Keynsham was another draggy but busy climb before a descent to Chew Valley Lake where I stooped for a pic. I could see the Mendip Hills ahead. Last climb of the day.
The climb began by turning left between a non-descript pair of buildings. It kicked up gently and just went on and on and got steeper and steeper. At the top it must have been touching 20%. The granny gear served me well. At the steepest part I met a car coming down who stopped and shouted if I had enough room to pass, I shouted yes and thank you and he responded with a keep going, don’t stop till you get to the top which was a nice bit of encouragement. Rare from a driver too. Easily the hardest climb so far.
I rode across the top of the Mendips which was surprisingly more rolling than I anticipated and then hit a steep descent to Wells. Cue the Audi #WankPanzer driver. I was dropping fast, easily 30-40mph on a narrow lane and she was up my arse pipping her horn for me to get out of the way. Before I could move over to prevent the dangerous pass she just did it anyway. I nearly caught her at the junction at the bottom. She turned right where I went left. Saved about 5 secs FFS
Wells was nice. Obviously not so car-centric but the high street has a 6 inch drop into a gully either side of the road which would be interesting if you weren’t paying attention and rode into it.
Out of Wells and the last 5 miles were pan flat across the Somerset levels. Its difficult to imagine it was all flooded a few years ago.
The Premier Inn is on the outskirts of Glastonbury so I won’t get to see the town so it was through an industrial estate and then I was done.
At check-in I was put on the 2nd floor. My heart sank but they have a lift so it was ok. Have to wait 2.5hrs for food but at least I’ll be starving when I get in.
Beer beckons. Adios till tomorrow.
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