15th Nov 2008

I’ve avoided going east from home until now for two reasons, I would have to repeat some of my commuting route and it’s hard to avoid busy B and A-roads. But this Saturday for a change I decided for variation to head east.

I’m not very good at planning for the wind as a strong and blustery SW wind was blowing as I headed NE to start the route on to the A417 at Culham (you’ll see why this was a bad move in a minute!). There is a cyclepath alongside the fast, busy A-road which I used. This is where the UK is so poor at accommodating cyclists, this path is VERY rough, potholed and narrow. A real teeth-rattler. In fact they’ve been patching it in recent weeks and, no exaggeration, the patched sections are actually WORSE than what they have replaced. Still it’s just about better than using the road but I don’t blame any cyclist for not using it.

Turning onto the busy B4015 cut through to the A4074 at Clifton Hampden, this is another road I have avoided until now, luckily it’s quite short and wasn’t too busy. I now had my first section of dual-carriageway since I started training from Golden Balls roundabout on the A4074. This is a short section though and I soon turned off onto minor roads at last at Nuneham Courtenay. I cycled through the Baldons, which reminded me of childhood Sunday afternoons with my siblings and Mum & Dad having a Coke and pack of crisps on the green watching the cricket or playing.

Crossing the B480 I then had the steep climb up to Garsington, this was the only hill I knew existed on this route as I wasn’t familiar with some of the roads I was going to be cycling, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever driven some of them either. At the top I turned down Denton Lane which was a steep downhill, smooth fast road. A scary moment at the bottom though as there was a 90º bend covered in water and mud, hoping the tyres would grip as I slammed on the brakes. Thankfully made it round although at one point I thought I might have to bail into the verge!

There was then an immediate climb up to Cuddesdon and another fast descent to the mill where I used to fish as a teenager on the river Thame. Straight back uphill again and towards Great Milton I joined the A329 through Little Milton. A minor road cut across to the B480 and Chalgrove and through Berrick Salome. One final steep hill on this stretch up from the pretty village of Ewleme. I descended to Crowmarsh Gifford and then I was on my commute route back home. Up via Wittenham Clumps and through Long Wittenham. This is where I should have done more wind planning before setting off as the final 5 miles were really hard work, straight into a strong wind I pushed hard to keep my speed up, it was fairly relentless though and maybe I should have headed the other way this week!

Not too bad a route, a little hillier than I expected, which isn’t that bad a thing, the first few miles on busy roads aren’t much fun but once I got onto the lanes I barely saw any traffic.

Distance :: 37.90 mi
Time :: 2h37m05s
Average Active Speed :: 14.48 mph
Run.GPS Training Profile