Norbert’s Cotswold Ride – 1st April

The day dawned sunny but cold, Robs van showing the outside temperature as 4 deg C. While unloading the bikes at Snowshill it was noticable that if you stood in the shade it was pretty cold, but get into the sunlight and it wasn’t too bad. Bikes were rebuilt, riders got kitted up and Garmins fitted. Norbert commented “You need to get with this modern technology Floyd”

Heading down through Snowshill, Rob realised he’d forgotten his glasses so headed back to get then. The remaining 5 waited by the church in the sun. Soon we were off again heading up hill out of the village. We came to the first turning and the Garmins said straight on, so that’s what we did. “Stop, we should have turned left” so we went back and turned left. “Stop, this is wrong” “That’s not what mine says” I think at this point all 3 Garmins were giving different advice. In the end we got my OS map out!

We sorted out which way to go eventually, but this happened a couple of times, usually when our route crossed itself. Heading out past Stumps Cross we rode Campden Lane to Guiting Wood. During another minor Garmin sponsored detour we could hear sirens in the distance, not something you’d pay much attention to, but out here it sounded weird.

As we turned off the tarmac to Kineton, there were several vintage motorbikes and a checkpoint for some sort of rally. Further up there was a fire engine and beyond that a burnt out bike on it’s side. The rider was stood looking at the smouldering bike in complete shock!

We pressed on, through Guiting Power and on. We found a suitably picturesque spot for a 15 minute lunch stop at the top of a grassy climb, were Rob decided to go back and do it again.

Looping back, we got back to the end of Campden Lane, only this time we turned to Farmcote. The whole loop was a section Norbert had added to increase the length of the route. We turned left into a bridleway…… Wow, what descent, not technical, just fast, with several gravelly turns at the bottom where the bikes seemed more interested in going sideways. Rob was called a hooligan by a walker who stepped out into his path and got shouted at!

Lots of grins at the bottom as we rode tarmac round to Stanway. Now was the ride up through Lidcombe Wood, well, more push really. Me and Norbert decided to exercise another muscle group while the other slowly crept up the valley. I’ve only ever ridden down it before, and it’s far more fun in that direction. But today there were too many walkers to avoid for down to have been fun. Simo has some comment about not having a bell when he rode up behind some old duffer and said “excuse me”!

Rant – Why is it walkers seem to think they have priority when they’re on a bridlway and get in the way? They have miles of footpaths we can’t ride, but still insist on walking on bridlways and getting snotty when they see a bike! Grey haired old men seem to be the worst offenders.

Following the Cotswold Way we eventually (Garmin again) got to the Laverton descent, which had been a climb on the 2011 HONC. We all flew down it,    with a quick breather at the gate halfway down. Then tarmac to Stanton, climbing past a pub called The Mount (I think) where the smell of food coming from the kitchen convinced us that come pub grub at the Snowshill Arms was a great idea.

Another combination of ride/push got us to the top. Andy left his gloves behind at the bottom after a piss stop, and realised half way up. He went back while we pressed on. Resting at the top in the shade of some trees it was noticable how chilly it still was out of the sun..

Through Snowshill now toward the last descent of the day. Turning left after the Lavender fields it dropped down into Broadway Wood. A quick stop at a fallen tree and we pressed on and eventually bursting out into the sun. The fields dropped away into the distance, and the temptation was just to keep going, but we had to climb up towards the road that took us back to the cars.

Bikes away, quick change, and we headed for the pubs beers garden. Post ride pub grub and a pint in the sun……..

Total Climbing – 3462ft (from Simo’s Garmin, the others probably say different)

Ride – #55     Bike – Gary Fisher Paragon 29’er

Miles – 30.5     Total 2012 miles – 1231.3

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