My big worry when we do these things is that we will be left so far behind that we wont be able to find our way back to the finish. However, in reality as always with Audax rides, Geoff and I were able to link up with people prepared to cycle at our speed (a big thank you to our own Mike and to Peter from North Devon Wheelers). With their help we were able to follow the route more or less accurately, stop four times for food and still complete the event about 45 minutes within the time allowed. This lovely ride across Devon and Somerset was billed as being just over 60 miles – although our devices all showed 70 miles by the time we arrived back at our cars.
This is a ride we would thoroughly recommend. None of us had been on our bicycles much within the last three weeks, and the route was flat enough for us all to be able to complete it comfortably. The route took us from Cranbrook (what an interesting place!) into Exeter, out to the beautiful Bickley, on to Tiverton and then up to Bampton for the traditional breakfast at Bawdens.
Bampton holds particular fond memories for me. As a child my whole family without fail attended Bampton Fair at the end of October – I would rush to be near the ponies, brought down off the Moor in the hope that this year I could buy one of them – for just £1 – with my parents, of course, pointing out every year that owning a pony might involve more than just that £1 – still I always hoped and the association has never gone away ……
On to Wiveliscombe (into a very strong and chilly NEwind) and then a right turn down to Wellington for a welcome hot drink and snack at the lovely No.1 café. Now on through a whole series of beautiful villages and views glistening in the autumn sun, including the Wellington Monument, Kentisbeare and Talaton and into Whimple for the finish where we met up with David Byfield and a final drink at the Thirsty Farmer. Thank you very much to the organisers for a lovely ride.
Finally, I would like to mention the new saddle I had purchased and was trying for the first time. Following a fitting, Certini had recommended the Womens Oura Expert Gel 15 (pictured above). It looks pretty scary but my goodness – what a difference. Fellow women cyclists will know how difficult it is to get a seat you can sit on comfortably for long distances. In my case, until now I have nearly always experienced severe “pinching” after about 15 miles. I was delighted with this new saddle – no discomfort at all after 70 miles.