September 6, 2011, by Andrew Burden
JoGLE Day 11: Bourton-on-the-Water to Shepton Mallett
Chris R, Alan and David W were off first. The other eight of us planned to leave together. It did not quite work out that way. We got lost in Bourton-on-the Water. If you know Bourton, you will know that takes some doing. The map enthusiasts wanted to go one way, the Garmin enthusiasts another.
Anyway, we got separated and I found myself with Nick and Neville, with the other five in a cluster somewhere ahead. We had agreed on Malmesbury as the first stop, so job number one, get there.
Our route took us on B roads and lanes which tracked the A429. It was a lovely route, through Cotswold villages and hamlets but much hillier than we expected. We seemed to do an awful lot of ups and downs. In fact the whole day was a much greater challenge than yesterday. It was 13 miles shorter, but way more arduous due to a combination of repeated climbs and a persistent and very strong headwind.
We caught up with Andy, Chris J, Karen, Kate and Steve in Malmesbury, an underrated town with a distinctive twelfth century Abbey and wonderful gardens. We ate at the Town Hall, followed by a photo shoot at the local Sue Ryder shop, where the Manager generously donated to our cause. Before we left, Neville made a Skype call to his family in Malaysia from his iPad to update them on progress.
Our next target was Bradford-on -Avon. The route took us to the outskirts of Chippenham, then on to Corside, where we came across Alan and David W. For the second day running, we appeared to have found Alan lost. He claimed otherwise, but the combination of him consulting with a local resident and turning a map was far from convincing.
We caught up with the others again in Bradford on Avon, a georgeous Wiltshire town. We ate at The Bridge Tea Rooms. Lovely location and very distinctive building, amazing selection of teas and today they offered an excellent pea and mint soup.
That stop fortified us for the final run to Shepton Mallett, which was just as well, it felt like a relentless climb all the way. Before Shepton Mallett we skirted Radstock. The last time I was there was for the Bath Festival in 1971. It rivalled the more famous Isle of Wight Festival in terms of scale (the NME claimed 250,000) with Led Zeppelin topping the bill, but I did not recognise the fields where we were!
Chris R was first in at Shepton Mallett, at 1530, a great effort given the conditions. He had a fall today, aquaplaning in a ford. Fortunately he only ended up with a bruised elbow.
The rest of us were in by 1800. As always our excellent support team were there to greet us, relieve us of our bikes, check for any faults, offer recovery drinks and snacks.
It had been an arduous 75 miles, taking our total to 825 miles. Eleven days on we still have eleven riders in excellent spirits. Inevitably there are more aches, pains and strains, but everyone has ways a dealing with them (including Simon’s polystyrene rollers for sore muscles, painful but effective).
September 5th 2011
Nearly there, fantastic endurance, I just can’t believe the luck you have had with the wind!! I bet Shepton Mallet brings back some memories, I even remember you going and I was only 12 at the time.
I hope the wind is at your back for the rest of the trip.
Good luck on day 12. Looks like the wind will be agin you for a bit – hope it’s not too tough going. Not far to go now (relatively!)
It’s beginning to sound like there is light at the end of the tunnel (though this is from an interested observer!). Good luck with the final push(es).
Walk through the wind this morning (and through lots of leaves). it immediately made me think of your ride (and wince on your behalf). I’m hoping that it isn’t a head wind all the way. Keep going – its a fantatsic performance and after today, its only 2 more days to go!
What a pity you’re encountering such a wild and windy Somerset, though David’s blog suggests that the Cotswolds and Wiltshire might still trump our gentle landscape for you; and our precious Levels are always wild and often windy rather than gorgeous. In any case, I’m in Nottingham with Luke and Noah where it’s more a case of calm BEFORE the storm – back to school tomorrow. So we’re torn between doing all those getting -things-organised jobs, finishing off various holiday projects ( at the moment, transformer and model castle construction, not this grandma’s fort(e) especially with minute multilingual diagrams and instructions; and just having some last minute FUN! Which is a feeling I hope you have as you approach the end of your stunning journey. Congratulations and good luck for the final two days.
I could feel myself physically bracing just READING about the wind so well done to all of you for riding on through it. Penultimate today tomorrow. Great that the legs are holding out and that the team spirit continues to build. Julie
Enthusiastic as ever as they battled wind, rain and Somerset dragons as they passed Glastonbury Tor at 8.45 this morning (6th Sept.) Photos on their way.
It’s absolutely amazing what you’re achieving! No doubt, the aches and pains will be increasing, but it sounds as though everyone is in good spirits and determined to keep going. Great stuff!
All the best for the next couple of days before you reach the finishing line.
Nearly there! I will see you all at Land’s End just the day after tomorrow. It was good to see you all in such good spirits last night. Looking forward to seeing you all on Thursday with some lovely bubbling champers to celebrate. Keep going at the dreadful winds and cold rain, not far to go.
‘Smurf, smurf, smurf, smurf, smurf, smurfty smurf’ to head winds!
Olivia, Isabella and Otto
I didn’t realise that you had seen Led Zeppelin live. Now that is impressive!
Good luck to all on the run in.
Martin Alison and family
Not only has he seen Led Zep live, he actually saw Hendrix in, of all places, Leicester!!
Just caught up on your last few days. Fantastic effort by everyone. I hope the last couple of days are less windy, and you all have a chance to enjoy the Devon/Cornwall scenery whilst reflecting on your amazing achievement. Not too far now to that finishing line!
So close now David, amazing. Fx
It’s been really interesting following the blog and the ups and downs of the journey. Having only completed the great Notts bike ride as my ‘big’ route, oh and 50k across the South Downs, I can really appreciate the effort you are all making. Wishing you all fair winds on the final days.
My heart sank cycling to work yesterday given the strong winds, but very good to see the team made it through the day. Not sure about polystyrene rollers for sore muscles, but whatever works! Hot baths and anti-inflammatories might be better. Excellent effort……God’s speed.