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