Six took the option for the ‘A’ ride. It was out via Maisemore and up the climb to Woolridge hill, into a persistent NNE wind which also proved to be quite chilling. Ducking and diving in the lanes to Upleadon and Strawberry Hill gave some shelter. The views were stunning, causing the leader to miss a turning at The Scar, but this was quickly recognised on the descent in Pauntley (home of Dick Whittington, by the way) and a reverse instruction returned the group to the route. Turning south at Four Oaks, we had the benefit of a helpful wind but the low sun was dazzling and demanded attention, as did the 20% descent from Heywood pitch. A stiff little climb into Gorsley followed, then a delightful and fast run down from Linton was swiftly followed by a less speedy climb to Bromsash. At Bollitree Castle we almost ran into a rider on his way home after an early departure from the sports ride. A gravelly lane took the riders to the A40 for a final run into Ross-on-Wye and the Engine Shed for a well earned round of refreshments. Bang on 11am, 25 miles, and ahead of the sporty folk, who arrived somewhat late at 11.30.
Seeing as the day was sunny and dry, a sub-set of four riders took in the road down the Wye, turning for the long climb to Ruardean and the fine church: this has an unusual spire with flying buttresses atop a tall tower: splendid architecture. Drybrook was taken, then the Stenders to Mitcheldean, appreciating the perfectly surfaced descent. From here it was easy pedalling to Blaisdon via the wonderful Flaxley valley. As the Red Hart was closed for annual leave, the group pressed on to Huntley and the Red Lion for fine beers.
51 miles, all in the sunshine and cool November air. And falling leaves too many to count!