Cycle 128km – Club run Northleach

AM. Cycle 128km/4:38 (27.6km/h), brisk, HR141(163)

My turn to lead the club run this morning. It was looking a bit drizzly as I set off for Martyrs’ Memorial, but the day turned out OK. Only five of us set out for this, the longest run of the winter. I led the string out along the Farmoor road to Eynsham, where we picked up Harvey who’d ridden over from Witney.

The roads were pretty slimy, so we took it easy on the corners, and there were plenty of potholes to avoid. John turned off after Great Barrington – he was keen to get back in time to watch the rugby on TV in the afternoon. The road from here to Northleach was very slimy with clay and mud, brought on to the road from farmer’s vehicles. I had a slide, and so did Harvey, although we all managed to stay upright. We didn’t stop in Northleach – the Corner Green Cafe has been closed for 2 years now, and the only other cafe at the other end of town looks a bit posh for a bunch of cyclists, maybe I’ll give it a go in the summer. We rode another 5 miles on to Bibury for a stop. This section was the highlight of the day: we picked up a bit of a tailwind and the sun came out. The Mill Cafe in Bibury had also closed, apparently, but we were able to get a cuppa and a slice of cake at the Trout Farm cafe next door, and although it was only 6C, we sat outside in the sunshine (!).

Harvey settles down for his tea and cake, my portion in the foreground:

The return run back to Oxford wasn’t the tailwind extravaganza we’d imagined it might be – it was a bit of a slog. Also, I punctured not long after we’d got warmed up. I’d run over a stone in the road in Hatherop, and very quickly after that my rear tyre went down. It didn’t take long to fix though and we were soon on our way again. Harvey had had enough by the time we got to Aston and turned off for home there, and the four of us ploughed on towards Oxford, down the Eynsham 10 course and home. The last hour, with the wind across or in front, was hard work. I was glad to get back home for a shower and a cup of tea.