Training 22nd Feb

Riders John & Andrew
Distance 66.76 mi
Time 5h45m44s
Average Speed 11.59 mph
Ascent 1281 m
Run.GPS Training Profile

This was our longest and hilliest training ride so far and should be much more typical of a LEJOG day although we were basically unladen on this ride. The weather was pleasant despite a stiffish breeze at times.

We met up in Burford where the town and carpark were deserted at 8.30am on a Sunday morning. We were heading to Cheltenham and back, basically crossing the Cotswolds twice and dropping down off of the escarpment. The ride was almost entirely based upon one submitted to the CTC Maps site.

We followed the Windrush valley on very minor roads to the village of Windrush and onwards to Sherborne and Farmington. The route was undulating with very little in the way of flat to get a rhythm going but we were steadily climbing all the way to the top of the scarp slope overlooking Cheltenham. The roads were really tiny and we saw zero traffic and we were surrounded by beautiful Cotswold scenery.

We decided against cycling the A40 at Andoversford as the CTC route suggested and went across the A436 to the top of Ham Hill. The hill was steep and the road was covered in grit so we took it as carefully as we could until we got to the outskirts of Cheltenham, we didn’t plan on entering the town so we skirted through Charlton Kings to begin the ascent back up the scarp. We did this via Leckhampton Hill which was a steep and steady climb for a couple of miles. A steady rhythm was all that was required though. The road was the busiest we had encountered though and many times we had cars crawling behind us waiting for a safe opportunity to pass.

We had to endure a section of the A417 next (there might be a way to avoid this to get to Birdlip but we weren’t sure). This was also uphill and the road was wide and fast and smelt of oil and diesel as we pedalled hard. Not the nicest road ever. We soon turned off into Birdlip though and were back onto tiny roads.

This return section was fantastic, small Cotswold villages tucked into the hillsides looked like model villages as we approached and unchanged for hundreds of years. It really was a hidden world. There was a very very steep climb out of Caudle Green though which we both agreed would have been very tough to pedal up fully laden.

After the climb there was an amazing stretch along a valley with a stream to one side. The highlight village was Daglingworth which was stunningly beautiful and just a few miles from Cirencester where we stopped for lunch. After eating we headed north to get back to Burford with another lovely stretch along the Coln valley and onwards through the hoards of tourists in Bibury.

A few more villages past by as the landscape changed from the hills to much more open farmland and the only real flat section of the ride. We were soon back in Burford where our tired legs were ready for a break after 1.5km of ascent! A truly lovely ride and I would highly recommend the route to any cyclist.