An extra 5 miles
The day didn’t start well with no breakfast at the hotel (too early as we had to leave at 8 to meet the main group) and an uncertain possibility of some refreshment when we got to the other hotel a couple of miles away to join the rest of the ride.
Then the leaders missed a turning just after the hotel and took us an extra mile back towards Oxford before realising and then a very tortuous route so we ended up doing an extra 8km (5 miles) before we began.
Amazingly the local PSC and Muslim community turned up trumps with an excellent spread of breakfast bagels and rolls all specially prepared and wrapped in ally-foil. Thanks Guys, fabulous.
Starting on the edge of town
Today, of course we were starting on the edge of town on the side we were heading so after a brief bit along the cycle track beside the bypass (with honking from cars in support) we were off into the Oxfordshire countryside.
A proper hill
10km out and the road turned into an uphill ramp straight for 3/4 km at 6.8%. That sorted out the rolling order somewhat – more people passed me than I passed to my shame! Euan got up ok using his granny ring, and Jane was much faster than me. A sweeping descent almost as steep through Littleworth gave some recovery, then on to flatter ground.
Rest stop 1
The Fisherman pub, a lovely pub garden beside a stream at 22km. Followed by a short hill to get us back in the groove.
Lunch in Aylesbury
We arrived more or less en-masse in Vale Park, Aylesbury to find lunch sandwiches spread out waiting on tables under the trees just before a torrential downpour started. Collected food and wet weather gear on we all sheltered under the trees getting soggier and soggier for 15 mins of very heavy rain, which eventually eased, and Jane emerged from being a second pair of legs under my cape.
Wet wet gear off, a dry top on, and food in, I started to feel a bit better by the time we set off again.
Ok till we got to Ivinghoe and could see the downs closing around us – inevitably at the 60km mark Ivinghoe gifted us a remorseless 3.5km uphill grind at 2.8 to 3.9%; fortunately followed by a downhill sweep to the rest stop, although I was too knackered to pedal it and rolled with relief into the pub car park.
Rest stop 3
Another stop, another pub carpark, a brief spell lying stretched out on the wooden sleepers around the carpark and then another rest-stop-shower – lighter this time and mercifully brief.
Regrouping on the Dunstable-Luton busway
An amazing reception into Luton (even better than 2018)
Town centre speechifying, another day, another mayor
Open mic at the evening reception
Raiding the convenience store
Stats & Track
82km, 489m ascent, 14.8km up until the entry to Luton.