The weather forecast for this week was rather depressing when I surveyed it at the weekend: rain all week, with maximums of 12° for all days apart from Tuesday (same max, no rain), and today (max of 15°, no rain). Looking further ahead, it wasn’t too promising either. So I picked today to do one final, long ride, before hunkering down for the winter.
I had a particular hill in mind – Saintbury. I’d detoured that way while doing a 100-mile ride through the Cotswolds in September (only going up the hill due to road works on the planned route), and decided that I’d have to come back and do it again. To give an idea of the elevation involved, here’s a chart of the ride:
It was an absolutely beautiful day. I set out just before sunrise, and within 20 minutes, the sun was peeking over the horizon, the only things marring the pale blue sky were contrails, and there was the slightest whiff of a tail wind. The route down followed an old Roman road (Buckle Street), which runs disturbingly straight from Bidford-on-Avon to Saintbury. Very easy going, apart from an occasional hill. The way back was also rather uneventful, except that I lost my way somewhat while leaving Chipping Campden the wrong way, and ended up adding about 8 or 9 miles to my ride. That left me a bit short of energy over the last few hills on the way home, but made it a much better test of endurance than I was planning on.
Sitting here looking at it, it seems a ridiculous thing to do – to cycle 66 miles there and back just to endure 10 minutes of physical torture. For those who have long suspected me of not being entirely sane, this should provide the final proof required. But the joy of spending four hours out in what is probably the last good weather of the season, obtaining gorgeous vistas over the Cotswolds, makes it all worthwhile.