Our Vice Captain promised some hills on his C category “Longest Day” ride and he didn’t disappoint those who followed him. Another group of older and perhaps wiser heads met him for the early start at the Square to declare their intent of following another route and, of course, qualify for their Dancey Trophy points. The promise of a leg stretching climb up Ham Hill was thwarted by resurfacing operations so we went one step further into the pain cave and took the Aggs Hill alternative. Ironically, we still ended up “enjoying” the newly laid surface dressing on the descent to Whittington. Another long pull out of Brockhampton took us to Hawling and Guiting Power for what was alleged to be the last hill of the morning. Onto less familiar roads now we hurtled down from Bourton on the Hill and then through Moreton in the Marsh, noting as we passed through how high the door thresholds were on the older houses. “On the marsh” indeed!
We arrived at Cotswold Cycles, and more significantly their Revolution Café, twenty minutes before opening time and were perplexed to find four familiar bikes outside, but no sign of their riders. Malcolm eventually emerged to admit us, he and Neville having beaten on the door long and hard enough to gain admission from the sympathetic staff within. Actually, we discovered the truth once we sat down – the café has CCTV monitioring the bike rack outside. Further, it had a rack for helmets, locks to borrow, and hangers for surplus clothing. Truly this was a café designed for cyclists.
Refreshed, we discussed the return. With the threat of afternoon rain, a school of thought favoured getting within reach of home ASAP but the VC’s loyal companions committed to stay with his original plan and rode with him “down” the Evenlode valley and “along” the Windrush to take afternoon tea at Sherbourne’s Post Office and Stores.
The easterly wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping so from there we pressed on through Northleach and Withington to get home just before the promised rain arrived.
76.8 mi, +4570 ft.