Bredon Done

I was at Heathrow for 7.45am yesterday dropping off Sally to Jet off to Memphis with her travel work. I’m on my own now for two weeks as she comes back this weekend for a couple of days and then jets off again to Mauritius for another week. It seemed a bit daft for her to come back for effectively a day so she’s staying in London next weekend.

The free time created plans in my head to get a big cycling weekend in with The Gravelton just two weeks away while I try and bag some emergency fitness. I was back home at 9.30am yesterday with plans to do a ride but as I tore the Fiat Panda (as if!) back up the M40, the clouds had rolled in and it was pissing it down when I got back, so Zwift it was.

I picked a tough 80min workout to do but 30 mins in and work were on the phone. Stock for our flash sale this weekend was missing off our website so I had to sit at my desk dripping with sweat and sort that. Not a great start to my cycling weekend fixing other peoples shit.

Rudely interrupted

I managed to avoid 99.9% of The Coronation. I watched 10 mins at lunchtime and it was just hymns and choirs. Boring. I found a clip on YouTube later of the King getting the crown. The money shot. I like the history of it and I’m not anti-monarchy but the wall to wall coverage and particularly the comment is ball-achingly boring and it’s a bit too religious for me. I’m happy to just watch the highlights. Instead I watched Netflix and YouTube. I did a couple of decent UFO docs and watched a film aswell as enjoy Stage 1 of the Giro d’Italia of course!

This morning some early fog gave way to sunshine. The forecast looked good. 20degs. I almost got into procrastinating about a ride. I made the mistake of sitting in front of my maps on the PC until at around 9am, full of breakfast and coffee, I gave myself a shake and said just go. So I did.

I left with a tentative plan. Bredon Hill and back. One of my old training routes when I used to race. I had no set route, just go that way and see how it goes. I was a bit nervous about the 100km+ as it was a big jump in time and distance to anything I’d done for a while yet alone trying to get fully fit but I thought I’d just take it back a notch.

When I left the wind was being kind. Just a light breeze. It was bit cool so I popped on some arm warmers. I seemed to make good time through the lanes as I headed south. However, in the first 20 mins I think I saw or passed eight cyclists and not one said hello back. Miserable fuckers.

In the distance I kept seeing small groups which triggered the urge to chase which I had to reign in but I did cover nearly 20 miles in the first hour and felt OK for it. I blame the new wheels. There was bunting and flags everywhere and when I got to Charlton just before Bredon Hill I saw the first of the street parties being set up.

Onto the circuit of Bredon Hill, I was going clockwise and first up was Elmley Castle which, I think, doesn’t have one. Weird. What it does have though are some posh, old, pretty buildings and a narrow gap between the houses you have to take to exit the village.

After Elmley the road rises from the village until a sharp bend and you get a great descent (and view) towards Beckford and Ashton-under-Hill. The rape seed fields were pungent today.

There were plenty of cyclists out and about as I climbed up to Conderton and Kemerton. Full of Cotswold stone buildings.

I originally thought about keeping tight to the foot of the hill and riding back to The Combertons and into Pershore but I ended up blasting across Eckington Bridge to Defford and coming back through some new lanes towards Norton, south of Worcester. I thought I’d give the new cycling bridge a go.

Given Worcester County Council gave themselves a 1 star rating on Active Travel which was subsequently downgraded to zero by Active Travel England because they are shit, I was actually surprised how nice the approach to the bridge was. You turn of the main road and take a well surfaced lane. What my pics don’t show are the obsessive bollards on approach. You ride up a wide, well surface ramp and your on it. Not bad. Then after you pick up a cycle path that runs through the St Peters housing estate. Initially this was ok too but after a a few yards the tarmac deteriorated and it became a bit shit. As we’d expect from a zero-rated council.

it just gets worse

I popped out of the estate opposite the ‘cycle route’ to Diglis so I took that which immediately took me through a random car park out onto residential streets before I picked up a busy shared path again past Diglis locks and into the Basin and Marina which was busy.

I was going to slowly ride down the river edge into the City but a Police cordon stopped that. Since I got back I’ve found out there was stabbing.

I went round and ended up riding some back streets around Worcester Porcelain I’d never seen before. Traffic in the City Centre was actually quite quiet but I still opted for the back streets but that idea got scuppered by Street Parties and closed roads.

I ticked over 100km just outside Droitwich and I felt ok but I’d only done 2 gels in 3.5 hrs so my energy levels began to ebb away quite quickly.

I don’t normally like stopping on a ride but I’d convinced myself I’d earned a beer as the Sun was out so I rode back through Dodford only to find the road shut again with a Street Party. I was too knackered to go round, so rather than ride through I respected the closure and walked my bike through. I thought I might get some grief or looks but the locals were really nice and friendly. One last climb to the Nailers Arms in Bourneheath and I was ready for my beer. The sun was out and I was parched so I had a fizzy cider instead.

Cider done, it was only a couple of miles home. 116km and 4 hrs in the bag. I wasn’t destroyed either. I mowed the lawn when I got in and then watched the Tro Bro Leon race. A classic.

The weather is supposed to be shit again tomorrow. I’ll try and get out if I can otherwise it’s Zwift again


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