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Tuesday, 6 July 2010


Just a quick note to say Nic had one of those special biking moments on the way back from work yesterday. A family of four stoats scuttled across the road just in front of her - no more than a couple of yards away at most.
Ah, the benefits of pedalling!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

That's the weekend over and done with - off to work for the rest (if only).

We've had a blast but we must be incredibly wicked the amount of rest we have missed out on. After a late night on Friday, sadly no details except to say the food is great at The King's Arms, Mickleton, Saturday started with a list of chores. Heading the list - put in 2 decent cycle rides we had our eyes set on a climb out of Winchcombe.

We also needed to get our campsites organised - August looms and we need to know we can pitch up and pitch! What fantastic support and help we have had from all our 17 campsites along the South Coast, it would be fair to say that some have been fairly surprised when we've told them the 'Bike with Jake' team members. We've even got a possible offer from Lee at Tremorvu, Ashton, Cornwall to cycle some of the Day 2 stage with us.

Hmmm, Saturday's ride could be called, "Who's in charge of the repair kit?" Jake hit a pothole hard about 3 miles into our ride, dappled shade plays havoc with distinguishing what is road and what is hole. Thank goodness for cyclo-cross and the training they do at Halesowen, a real wobble meant Jake clipped Philip's rear wheel and went into a bigger wobble. Everyone remained intact and on we went. 2 miles later Jake's rear tyre was remarkably flat at the bottom. The inner tube, the tyre levers were..... 5 miles back down the road. Lesson learned. I don't know if there's a technical term for it but we basically we pumped and pedalled along the route home.

Nic would really love to know how come she gets to use the tyre levers on those hideously tight road tyres on the Isla bike. Sore knuckles and finally repaired puncture, pumped tyre and - all you cyclists out there groan in sympathy, the presta valve broke. If anyone can explain why this is deemed a sensible system we'd be delighted to hear from them. More lumps out of knuckles and job done.

No time for a bike ride now, it was off to friends for their fundraising party in aid of Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Fred and Geraldine are walking 60 miles in 24 hours across the South Downs - here's hoping that Geraldine's sprained ankle is sufficiently repaired by 17 July.
Whilst we were there we had our first offer of a friend riding a section with us - Thanks Judy!

Sunday, we could put it off no longer, the ride out of Winchcombe was upon us and it was windy,very windy. Having negotiated yesterday's pothole, we continued on and passed through Beckford, Alderton, Gretton Fields and Gretton. There was a real ale festival being held this weekend in Gretton, thank goodness we went through too early for opening time. Winchcombe was reached in good time and we searched out the public conveniences before the climb - time wasting? Anyway, why have you never got 20p when you need it - note to team, "Take 20p pieces to cover all eventualities."

A choice of 3 hills, Cleeve Hill (busy road and not a very scenic route home), the hill towards Belas Knap (the Long Barrow) or Sudeley Hill. We knew the road towards Belas Knap was steep and Fred (as in Fred and Geraldine, above) had cycled it the previous day - we couldn't risk being out-done. So Sudeley Hill it was, with the promise of a drink and a munch at The Farmer's Arms in Guiting Power. It's quite steep in places with a couple of those chevron things marking the worst section on the map. Jake and Nic were travelling unladen, leaving Philip to bring provisions and repair kit. Nic matched Jake to the chevrons having passed Philip walking, having to acknowledge frustratedly that missing 2 weeks training does make a difference. Nic then capitulated as Jake ground it out onwards and upwards.

All that could be done was to walk for a while and shout encouragement at Jake. As the adults remounted their bike, out of the steepest section, fellow cyclists bowled down the hill shouting gleefully, "He's miles ahead!" Jake made it. He climbed 680ft in just under 2 miles (courtesy of Earth Tools) and held his arms aloft. Well, apparently he did because the adults were still pedalling up long after he began his descent. Fantastic effort Jake!!

The Farmer's Arms was a very welcome stop and the sheltered garden meant we were out of the wind for half an hour. From Guiting Power we went through Temple Guiting, Taddington, Snowshill and back down into the Vale through Broadway, Childswickham and home. We stopped at Pauline's Veg Stall in
Taddington ("This stall is based on trust. Please pay for produce)
and paid £1 for the most fantastic looking bunch of carrots -
thanks Pauline.

In all it was 36 miles, including 1 big hill. Our average daily mileage for the trip and similar terrain for some of the ride. Who's idea was the panniers? The feeble adults returned to a cup of tea and arm-chair viewing of the Men's Final at Wimbledon. Not Jake, 3 hours of 'Wet and Wild' birthday party for him courtesy of a classmate. No wonder he crashed and burned at 7.00pm.

Back on track this week hopefully let's see if we can get those lungs working.