Tuesday, 26 April 2016

85 km return loop to Bredon

Saturday was a spectacular day in so many ways.  Riding with a friend who I haven't seen for many years, and who, as it turns out, now lives relatively local, and who also has a love for the magical Bredon Hill

The route saw us travel from Colwall, up and over the Malvern Ridge and traverse the big open space of the Severn Valley.

There was a mix of hardpack dry bridleways, quiet lanes, and singletrack. Rape was out en masse, seemingly brightening as we passed in the warm sunshine. It wasn't all easy going though, with a few roughed up fields, deep hoof prints making passage much more challenging, but never to the point of loosing our smiles.

There were a few stops throughout the day, for this was a leisurely trip.  Coffee in Tewkesbury out and back, and a sit down at the top of Bredon, to enjoy the reason we came.  What a view across the valley to home!  It's always stunning on Bredon, such a peaceful place, barely any folk about and a slightly 'spiritual' feel.

Not a place for technical mountainbiking, although no doubt there are bits and pieces hidden off the escarpment.  Just a wonderful place to pedal, up up up the gentle backslope, following age-old trails running between the patchwork of agricultural land that rises far higher than expected.  There is a little woodland too, sparse and warm from the penetrating sun.

Of course, it is still only a small hill, but in contrast to the Severn Plain and Evesham Vale, it sits proud and content, with huge vistas to be admired between opening gates and concentrating on the fast rocky descents back to the valley.

The way home was just a reversal of the way out.  Yet not the same, for heading the other direction provides completely different views, and climbs, plus the overbearing presence of that Malvern Ridge again.  To be tackled this time with tired legs.

There was no rush to get there though, the miles ticked off easily with the constant contrasts of the route. Urban traffic-free routes in Tewkesbury, the the rarely cycled Longdon bridleways and a wonderful little bridge crossing.

This is Phil topping out on the toughest climb of the day.  Such a perfect day's riding.  No pressure, good steady miles, lots of distance covered and exactly what was needed after a very tough week of work and training.  I think we both have extra appreciation for just being able to get out on the bike too, as Phil also is recovering from bone plating surgery. Enforced time off the bike just makes a true rider love it even more.

Saturday night was a rush over to Pontrilas MX as Steve was racing Sunday.  I slept. And slept. And then slept some more.  I had felt a little fried on Saturday, over-reached with training, maybe? Possibly a virus taking shape?  Certainly a little below par. However, 11 hours sleep overnight in comfyvan worked wonders, and recovery set in.  Between Steve's races I did little other than eat, with an insatiable appetite, read, get as much sunshine for Vitamin D as possible, and sleep some more.

The MX is just fantastic, all that noise, dust (the riders hate the dust, but sssshhh, don't tell them, the red Raglan mist makes the photos look great!) and battling.

Really the best way to spend a Sunday. Such a friendly bunch of people, I always feel welcome. There is a real family feel about the events, and it is just so great watching Steve ride.