Training 15th Mar

Riders John & Andrew
Distance 82.13 mi
Time 6h04m17s
Average Speed 12.78 mph
Ascent 1304 m
Run.GPS Training Profile

Longest training ride so far. The route was based closely upon that used by the Squires and Spires Cyclosportive which stars in Naseby. We started in Cropredy (famous for its music festival) near Banbury and went clockwise, the sportive goes anticlockwise. We had arranged to meet John’s brother at Catthorpe at 10.30am which was about 30 miles from the start. We set off at 8am.

The ride was almost exclusively on minor roads through Claydon, Priors Hardwick, Priors Marston and Napton-on-the-Hill. Pretty flat as well as we followed the Oxford Canal which we crossed several times. A small climb up to Napton where we had a short cycle on the A425 which was very quiet on a Sunday morning. We turned through Grandborough and Willoughby, again on small lanes until we got to Barby and Kilsby.

We had a short section on the A5 over Kilsby tunnel with its impressive castellated towers before we turned toards the pretty village of Crick. Yelvertoft and Lilbourne were next before we arrived at the Manor Farm teashop in Catthorpe. An excellent stopping place nestled between the M1 and M6, if you are heading south on the M1 or M6 it’s well worth the short diversion rather than head for the motorway services.

We had a coffee, cake and a chat before the now three of us headed to Stanford Hall and a lovely ride through the parkland. A moderate climb up to Cold Ashby followed where John was excited to see the triangulation pillar where the triangulation of Britain started, it has a plaque to mark the occasion but was in a field of young crops, so John left his camera in his bag on this occasion!

After Naseby there was more parkland at Cottesbrooke next with a lovely descent down a gated road with no hedges or fences. We set about looking for a lunch stop but Creaton and Hollowell disappointed. We tried the gardens at Coton but they are shut until 31st March. We found a pub in Ravensthorpe which only did Sunday roasts. We stopped for a drink and a packet of crisps before heading south.

John’s brother peeled off to make his way home shortly after Ravensthorpe and the two remaining riders continued south through the Bringtons to Flore and Weedon Bec. After picking up sandwiches at a garage we quickly left the grimness of Weedon and found a bench (with funeral wreath) on the hill to Farthingstone where we stopped for sustenance.

The next section was undulating to Maidford, Adstone, Canons Ashby and Moreton Pinkney. We were getting quite tired by this point and it was nice to finish on a small lane from Culworth by the River Cherwell. I was almost all downhill on the A361 to the turning to Cropredy where we were able to freewheel all the way back to the car.

A pretty ride, the last ten miles were quite tough and to be honest we weren’t looking at the scenery much by then! We reckon 65 miles fully laden is about right for a daily target.

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John Talbot

The main protagonist behind this nonsense. The website title is inspired by the lyrics of the B-side to Lily the Pink by The Scaffold. "The buttons of your mind were difficult to find and my fingers far too clumsy."