Having not been on a bike for a week we decided to head off into the Cotswolds and get some miles on our saddles. Jake was loaded with his new tent, sleeping bag and some snacks and bits and pieces in one pannier - gently does it.
What a lovely 27 mile ride we had. From our start point in Lower Swell across to Bourton on the Water, Little Rissington, Church Westcote, Nether Westcote, Foscot, Bledington (The King's Head), Churchill, Kingham, Daylesford, Broadwell, Donnington, finally back to Lower Swell.
The hill out of Bourton on the Water runs parallel to 'The Drainpipe' out of Wick Rissington (see earlier blog) but is longer and not quite such a climb - 50ft. less. It was amazing how much easier it seemed and Jake kept grinding until he got to the top despite the added weight. It must be said, the gearing on his Isla Bike is great, although we know he wants desperately to grow enough to be out of his 26" wheels and competing with us like-for-like, he gets there.
The weather was deceptive; sunshine, with a stiff breeze blowing, the sort of day you need to remember your Factor 30. Everywhere looked very lush, a myriad shades of green rolled out in front of us as we looked across from Nether Westcote. It was also a day for fabulous wafting perfumes from the fields of beans and cloaks of honeysuckle draped over garden walls and hedges.
Being so close to Bledington, we took a slight detour in order to fuel up on the King's Head cheesy chips (probably not the image they want to conjure, but very welcome). A much busier lunchtime than our previous visit, we were still able to grab a table outside and enjoy the warmth. Philip was sent in to fetch the provisions and came back armed with a £10.00 donation for Action for Children! Thank you very much Will Cairns from Pedal England, we have added it to our offline donations tally on the http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/bikewithjake fundraising page.
We were keen to return home from Bledington without any mechanical disasters this time so we opted for our gentle return via Kingham and Churchill. Churchill was hosting its Classic & Vintage Car Show, sadly we'd left it a little late to pay a visit but what a great setting!
A day that proved an excellent anti-dote to workday pressures and heavy training sessions. We ambled, achieved our targets on distance and weight carrying, enjoyed stunning views, scents and generosity - just what was needed to give us a lift as we hit 50 days to go and counting!