Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Rides over w/e 29/30 March

There was a big turnout on the 29th, another windy day and fairly cool but not bad.  Five of us set out from Chef Peking at 0810 and joined up with Andy C just past Kinsbourne Green.  We decided to up the distance yet again this time, but via a slight variation on our old route.  The start was the same via Flamstead, Potten End Hill, Felden Lane, Bovingdon, Whelpley Hill, Berkhamsted, Ashridge College, Pedley Hill and up Ivinghoe Beacon for the first time.  At this point though instead of descending directly to Dagnall, we went via Little Gaddesden and back to Pedley Hill, then up to the top of Dunstable Downs and then back to Invinghoe for the 2nd time.  We then did this loop another twice before returning back to Harpenden after the 4th ascent of Pedley Hill.  One advantage of this route is that we do actually pass a shop (in the Petrol station on the edge of Dunstable).  This at least allows a refill of water.

I had a blow out on our first lap going past the bottom of Bison Hill which blwent off like a rifle shot.  I was fairly shaken up initially, but was okay after I had finally fixed the puncture.  Fortunately even though there was clear tear in the side wall of the tyre, I did a crude bodge with an old patch which seems to have held well, saving at least temporarily the purchase of a new tyre which is only a month old anyway.

The wind down the main road from Dunstable back to Invinghoe was horrendous, this is mostly downhill but felt like a climb into the teeth of the gale.  Also the first part of Invinghoe was into the wind make this a more the usually punishing climb. 

Andy C broke off after 60 odd miles and headed home and we lost Paul and Mike going up the last ascent of Invinghoe, so Tim, Andy M and I pressed on home as the weather was closing in.  The three of us got back for a coffee around 1430, a rather slow 6 hour ride of 84 miles but over 6000ft of climbing, 80% of the Etape distance but only around 60% of the ascent.

I gather Andy M and Mike got out on Sunday for a shorter ride.  Paul and Robin then started the Wednesday night club with an inaugural 25 miler just before it got too dark.  The aim is to have regular a 1800 start from the Harpenden Arms.

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