22nd September 2017
Saturday was wet and windy, but, Sunday dawned very chilly, the wind had dropped and was set to be a nice day.
It was early 6:0am when I finished packing the car for the 47mile drive over to the start of the Great Dorset Bike Ride near Wool, near Wareham in Dorset.I came through a lot of mist but the sun was rising giving stunning temperature inversions in places, I got diverted near Dorchester as roads were closed, partly road works but partly the Ironman in Weymouth.
There were few cars there already as the 100 milers had to register by 7:30, I sat and had my coffee and second breakfast of muesli before wandering over to the registration. I have to admit at this point I wasn’t feeling too great, tired and a little ‘coldy’
It was an efficient system as I picked up my number in good time for my start at 8:30. I prepared my bike and got ready with shoes helmet etc before heading over to the start line in the sunshine . We were released in small groups to avoid traffic congestion, there was a small group of ten, I found my self leading as we headed towards Wareham, it was very chilly, the roads were still damp and after a couple of miles my fingers were decidedly cold! A couple took over the lead , the rest sitting on our wheels. We climbed up towards Cloud s Hill, I was in the lead again, the speed was 16.7 mph!!!
We were soon at the first food point after about 16 miles, I have never seen so much food, I wasn’t ready for this but stopped and had a banana and drink of energy drink. As I left here I was on my own my average speed so far 16mph+
After Bere Regis it was the pretty Dorset villages Milbourne St Andrew etc before the climb up through the classic village of Milton Abbas the village that was moved from its original place near the Abbey so the Lord of the Manor couldn’t see it! It’s a steep climb up through the village , before turning to continueing to climb round the back of Bulbarrow hill.
It was a fast descent down to Winterbourne Strickland, I was still on my own, only passed by a couple of riders and I had passed several others. I was not feeling too good after the long climb and doubt set in! more climbing before a very fast descent over Oakford Hill [ironically I ran a trail race over this hill a couple of years ag in the ‘Dorset 3 Peaks’) I reached the junction at Okeford Fitzpaine, this was where the 72 mile route turned back to the finish.
Right to continue the 80 mile route round Shaftsbury, left to the finish, I had completed 38 miles and it was 18 miles back to the finish ! or another 42 miles. I made the decision that I wasn’t feeling too good, I seem to have no energy, and I sat at the junction which as it happened was at the bottom of the Bulbarrow hill climb, with several 15% sections over a couple of miles.
Decision made, I turned left and started the climb of Bulbarrow, I was on my own once again, I struggled up the hill, promising myself I would walk at the next tree etc, I didn’t and made it to the summit, stunning views across Blackmore Vale, the sun had gone now though and a chill northerly wind was blowing ,I was very hot and my legs felt weak, it was a feeling of a cold coming on.
I descended down through more wonderful Dorset villages and countryside through Melcombe Bingham to Cheselbourne and a feed station, I was feeling very tired now and still had 10 miles to get back. After a cup of tea and piece of flapjack a chat with a few others on the 72 mile and 38 mile routes I set off on my own once more. About a mile from the feed station the road suddenly went up steeply, I really struggled up here, the Garmin showing 12% I was pleased to get to Puddletown and knew it was only a few miles to the finish. I passed a number of very young riders with their mums, obviously doing the 10 mile ride etc. It was a fast finish downhill and I crossed the lines with 51 miles completed, I was offered a medal for my efforts, but I turned it down as I felt I had cheated by only doing 51 miles instead of the 80 I had signed up for. The greetings at the finish were tremendous, lots of people cheering and clapping us in.
I wandered back to the car and sat for a while feeling drained, no energy, I was only glad I had turned back when I did, I would have been in trouble had I turned right over Shaftesbury.
It was a lovely route in generally good weather, and very well organised by the Rotary club in aid of Cancer Research.
When I got home, several mugs of tea and a lovely evening meal of roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and nuttolene slices with gravy I was starting to feel better. By Monday I was feeling a little better.
Wednesday wobble day, was set to be a good day, I had recovered from my Sunday ride, I had plotted a route over to Tiverton across the Blackdown Hills.
Only four of us set off across the hills, my garmin refusing to give turn by turn!! We got to Kentisbeare after a beautiful ride over the Hills through Smeatharpe and near Dunkeswell, the old WW2 D day aerodromes , followed by the lovely woods at Blackborough. The descent down from Kentisbeare towards Willand and hopefully Tiverton was fast and long.
This is where it went ‘haywire’!! we got lost and couldn’t find any signs to Tiverton!! So after a riding round narrow lanes lost, we finally ended up in Cullompton, we made the decision to forget Tiverton and instead find a café for coffee as it was 11:30!! We found a great café and after beans on toast followed by flapjack we were now back on track to head back through Uffculme and Hemyock to ascend back up to the top of the Blackdowns up the Culm Valley.
It was a good ascent through narrow lanes climbing for several miles; I have to say I felt much better than Sunday even though we had covered 40 miles so far. We finally covered the last few miles over Staple Hill to home. 53miles covered, I felt fine, I cant believe the difference In how I felt . It was a good ride but I was a little embarrassed that my Garmin let me down and I got us lost!!! I still don’t understand how we ended up where we did. Everyone enjoyed the ride anyway.
It was also good to get the new router so we now had our internet back!!! Its surprising how much we now depend on it.