The Clevedon Dozen
Well actually nine turned up at the revised meet point with rain deterring more, but representation was across all three groups, each of which opting for low routes to avoid the mist covered Mendips.
The rain wasn’t too bad for most of the ride, although the spray from the roads did ensure a good soaking so the warmth and dry of a good coffee stop was very appreciated (and no, despite being called stupid as well as a few other things from non cyclists and partners, we didn’t sit outside)
PICK UP POINT FOR SUNDAY 12 AUGUST HAS CHANGED TO CONGRESBURY SHIP & CASTLE
The Steam Train
After the washout last week, the warm sunshine brought a great turnout today, including a string showing for the Gruppetto.
A slightly circuitous route to Glastonbury, ensured it wasn’t pancake flat, but nevertheless the favourable conditions saw some very respectable speeds and more than a few PBs (outbound and on the return).
Coffee and cake was taken at The Rainbow Cafe (as usual) with a decent choice of cakes, although the coffee aficionados do yearn for the cafe to get an espresso machine to replace the filter coffee.
Rain Stopped Play
Sunday was one of the very few occasions that a Monument ride was cancelled with the heavy rain and winds leading to the Coast to Coast being cancelled (potentially to be rescheduled)
With the return from trips to France and fewer other commitments the number of riders out in the sun returned to more normal levels. It was also great to see the re-emergence of the Touring Group (who have now renamed themselves The Grupetto)
A slight variation on the usual route out through WSM saw a few extra bits of climbing thrown in for good measure to balance out before the blast to the coast and a busy Burnham seafront
A (slight poor) cake offering was chosen over ice creams before a last minute extension to the return route (via Wedmore) and a little more climbing (Cheddar Gorge) was agreed
It was good to see so many cyclists out (a sportive) and reassuring for the less fleet of foot of us that others found the gorge challenging as well
As we hit the summer holiday period, absences due to family commitments, hangovers, holidays, watching TdF and injuries abound with a much reduced Intermediate group opting for spin to Wells rather than the scheduled trek North.
Even then the initial group of 5 was soon whittle down by those that had sneaked out and had to get back, leaving just 2 to continue after the Cheddar Gorge climb.
Coffee and cake at Andres helped restore some energy before the lonely climb up Old Bristol Road and dash home to reach the Tour
The Longest One
Well technically a couple a days after the the longest day (and the Coast to Coast is longer) but a 100 mile ride non the less. Yes Sunday saw the first of two Monuments I. July, the 100 Mile Randonee aka Tour Of The Somerset Levels.A slightly early start than usual, saw a brisk jaunt from Clevedon to Congresbury to meet up with additional riders en route to Yeovil – two groups setting off with those not planning on spending the whole day in the saddle still turning out to provide a helping hand (or windblock) – leading the riders towards Glastonbury (appreciated and thank you)The first part involved a few short climbs, which got them out of the way early before the flatter (although not totally flat) roads across the levels.As the helpers turned off the reduced groups headed onwards to Yeovil and then to Montacute House (about half way) where the two groups of 4 met back up
After coffee, cake and water refills (the heat was not as intense as previous days but still required plenty of fluid intake) the riders resumed for the homeward trip, enjoying the scenic Somerset countryside and quiet(-ish) roads at a brisk pace, quickly clocking up the metric century before reaching more familiar roads south of the Mendips.Aside from stops for more water (and a minor fall) the second half passed without too many incidents or breaks, with riders returning to Clevedon in the afternoon sun, pleased with the ‘points’ earned and the 100m achievement
Le Géant de Provence
A light hearted throw away comment last year of “we should do that” was taken far too seriously by the Intermediate Group and led to months of planning (Plan A, Plan B and Plan C) and preparation with 10 of the group deciding to climb The iconic Mont Ventoux despite half of them having never attempted any similar before.
As the departure date got closer, panics over injuries and lack of training ( explains the previous focus on hilly routes and climbs on Sundays!) took place but eventually none of the group set off for France and The Bald Mountain
Three travelled by car along with most of the bikes – setting off early from a damp and cool Portishead heading for the Eurotunnel and the continent.
An uneventful but scenic journey followed and the three arrived safely at their overnight accommodation to enjoy some French cuisine – meanwhile back in Somerset the 6 fliers were doing their last minute packing ahead of their flight to Marseille the next morning.
The arrangements all worked and the six arrived with 3 bikes to be met by Craig from Veloventoux who drove them to the delightful village of Faucon, close to the mountain, to await those driving – who arrived just in time for dinner.
Bikes were given the once over, routes copied and weather forecasts checked before bed – an early start for two of the group followed who had decided that one ascent wasn’t enough and the three ascents of the Club de Cingles sounded far more fun
The remainder of the riders set off at a slightly more social time, accompanied by the two drivers and support vehicle. A lovely warm ride to Bedoin masked the fun to follow.
After the initial flatter section the riders soon split up, each at the own pace, to face the two hours of constant pedalling and uphill – despite reading all about the climb, nothing really prepares you for the middle 10km through the trees in the heat – constant uphill (9%-10% gradient) with few bends and unchanging scenery.
As the mental and physical challenge started to take is toll the top of the trees came into sight and the short flat around Chalet Reynard – determination kept the legs turning as the scenery changed to the classic moonscape and the top was at last visible and a little more breeze helped to provide some cooling
The final 6km seemed never ending, especially with the various roadside sign unable to agree on the distance remaining (two 5km to go ones some 500+m apart) not helping
Eventually the final bends and gradient generating extra energy and a last push to the finish for a welcome rest and reflection on individual achievements
As the 2 Club de Cingle riders finished their second climb the group was reunited at the summit for photos to record the occasion.
Inspired the two, another rider joined them for their descent and third ascent whilst the rest of the group descended the mountain for lunch and rest
The two (Lee and Allan) successfully completed their quest, a fantastic achievement – one climb being hard, 3 is mental.
Dinner (open air) and drinking followed back in the village square before weary bodies found their way to bed, still basking in the sense of achievement and enjoyment
Saturday’s recovery ride up 3 nearby Cols wasn’t quite as gentle as planned but enabled us to see and enjoy the countryside, guided by staff from VeloVentoux.
This was followed on the Sunday by a ride around the foot of the mountain, taking in the spectacular Gorges De La Nesques and a leisurely lunch in Sault. The weather turned to more British climate on the way back with rain failing to dampen the spirits or enjoyment
Monday came far too quickly, with the drivers setting off early, followed by the fliers being transferred to Nice for the flight home and back to reality.
It was a great trip with the group now planning their next adventures.
A special thanks to Simon and Glynn for organising, Craig and Vicky at VeloVentoux, special mention for Allan and Lee for their 3 ascents, Dave for his 2
See North Somerset Times for further reporting
There are other sports?
Today saw the welcome return of some long standing riders, meaning that three groups set off from Congresbury, with the Fast and Intermediate groups both heading to Farrington Guerney Farm Shop taking in the glorious views and great weather o er the Mendips
The routes were a little shorter and more direct than usual allowing riders to be home by 1300 for today’s big (non-cycling) sporting event which only added to a very enjoyable ride
Should Have Booked
Despite being Father’s Day another good turn out today and after the flatlands of last week today saw the rolling hills of Somerset as the two groups headed to Bradford On Avon and Timsbury. , but contrary to 3On setting off there was some moisture in the air and dampness on the roads but contrary to the forecast from the majority (but not all) of the weather apps, it stayed dry throughout.
On arriving at Connies, the intermediate group found there was no room inside and had to decamp to the rear garden – actually more of a patio and building site – but at least food and drink were available – really should think about warning the intended coffee stop ahead of arrival!
The return journey was slightly less undulating but had a few longer climbs giving to give 1,000m overall at just under 25km/h average speed
The fast group also dined outside at The Lock, and with a similar route back reached 1,400m of climbing and a tasty average speed of over 29km/h
The Grand Tor
In a slight change to the published route, the two groups enjoyed a pacy blast in the sun out to Glastonbury, with the good weather and limited hill climbing bringing a good turn out
After last week’s visit to the Welsh mountain, the hilly theme continued this week with May’s Captain’s Challenge – The Hilly Randonee – 1600m of climbing over 100km taking in some of the regular Mendip climbs. The ride headed out of Clevedon with one of the few flat sections, picked up additional riders at Congresbury en route to Sandford to start the days climbing – a deceptive hill to Shipham, quickly followed by the short, sharp incline of Longbottom.
What goes up must come down – Cheddar Gorge – and onwards to Draycott and upwards again Westbury Quarry Climb (luckily not Draycott Steep) before back down Ebbor and coffee at Wookey Hub (some of the best flapjacks around according to one of the group)
Despite the temptation to stay relaxing in the sun, the ride continued back to Wookey and up Old Bristol road, before dropping down the other side to Harptree, followed quickly by The Wrangle (you should experience it, if you’ve never tried it) – a brief respite on the legs across the top and down Two Trees before the undulation back roads to Redhill and onwards to Wrington, for the final climb (Wrington Hill) and back home
Tuesday TT Start Time – 1930
After the first TT of the year last week (good turnout and some decent times in the wind) enabled the light to be checked, the regular start time will now be 1930, with registration from 1900
Go on give it a go – fun, challenging and you will want to do it again (and again) to beat your time – open to non CDRC members as well
Over the hills and far away
This week saw the first ‘car assisted’ ride of the year – with a trip to Wales (although the assistance was limited to getting there not support during the ride)
The Famous Five (fast group) met in Usk, for a 140km round trip via Abergavenny and Hay, including The Tumble and Gospel Pass, whilst the Secret Seven (intermediate Group) opted for a shorter 95km, by starting in Abergavenny and then heading over the Tumble and over Gospel Pass
The weather was fantastic, enabling the stunning scenery to be enjoyed, although at points on the two climbs, this wasn’t foremost in many minds.
Also worth a mention of the coffee stop at The Mill in Targarth which lived up to its reviews and ratings
All in all a fantastic ride, great day and something we will look to do again (the car assist that is)
As the calendar flips over to May, it means it is time for the Tuesday evening time trial to re-start – unfortuantley a broken down vehicle meant the fits couldn’t be held, but hopefully this week will see the first of the year
If you’d like to ride (details on rides page) -join us in Kenn on Tuesday evening
After a few technical issues and a move of web host we should now be back and more stable – there may not have been any news updates but we have been riding:
April Fools Day saw a ride to Shepton Mallet, which enabled a few to pop into the Rapha Outlet at whilst there, although it looked like a lot of restraint and very few purchases were made
The following week was the farm shop at Farrington Gurney where a circuitous route enabled a few extra hills for good measure, knowing that it would be followed by The Polden Potter (April’s Captain’s Challenge), a flat-ish ride.
The PP saw a change in the planned coffee stop, continuing to Rich’s rather than Burnham
I don’t know what was done to upset them whilst there, but when we returned the following week, despite having plenty of cakes on display we were told they couldn’t sell us any cake (tea cake or scones onlys) which was then rounded off with coffee in paper cups as they’d run out of cups / were saving them for a group later in the day
This bad luck with coffee continued the following week at Sweets, where its popularity meant a very long wait for our orders (and some grumpy people) – on a positive note the new Toilet block seems to now be open replacing the rather primitive facilities (previously the main criticism of Sweets as a coffee stop)
This week the groups headed North – the very fine weather and little wind being most welcome, and resulting in lots of bare arms and legs on display, along with a peacock at coffee
The improving weather has also seen an increase in the numbers riding along with three or four new joiners (get in touch if you’d like to join) -which is great to see
The Wye Not – 25 March
Clocks have gone forward, sun is shining – what a difference a week makes – just in time for the next Monument, The Wye Not. The groups converged at the north side of the Avonmouth Bridge to collect the other riders before setting off through the industrial lands of Avonmouth, where aside from the occasional HGV and plenty of potholes, the direct roads enabled a brisk pace to the Severn Bridge – crossing the river with the clear sky allowing the spectacular views to be enjoyed without the usual battle with crosswinds.
After entering Wales and passing through Chepstow, a well deserved coffee and cake at the Dive Centre
After a short break, a few decided to meander back to Clevedon leaving two groups heading on to the Wye Valley – where quiet roads, delightful countryside and sunshine were enjoyed – a little confusing with the geography having gone from England to Wales, back into England and then crossing back into Wales with only one big river crossing – a slight challenge arose in the valley with a road closure, the diversion heading up a somewhat steeper ascent than the intended route for one of the groups
As the river and valley was left behind the route returned to Chepstow and back over the bridge, where there was a welcome tailwind to help those with weary legs back to Clevedon – a total of 80+ miles and over 5 hours of riding meant a well deserved rest before the evening Awards and Social event
No Ride – 18th March
Even the most foolhardy admitted defeat to the Beast of the East 2, so no ride – a very rare occurrence for the club, but then again not very normal conditions
Thought Godney Was On The Levels
Six times as many riders this week (12) made it to Congresbury and they duly set off for Godney in two groups, both of which opted for somewhat circuitous routes which included a fair amount go climbing, including the iconic Cheddar Gorge. Being Mother’s Day meant only nine of the original riders made it to Godney (others having to sneak home before their absence was noticed), but the stalwarts were rewarded with the usual delicious cake selection (including the largest flapjack slices yet discovered at one of our sunday coffee stops – there was a steady stream of cyclists stopping off from across the region so we aren’t the only ones to have noticed)
After refreshments the circuitous theme continued, taking in Mark and the Allertons on the way home, resulting in a good 100km spin, which despite taking in the levels managed 850m of climbing as well.
Unusually an outbreak of caution set in due to the snow and forecasts of a freeze resulting in most deciding to have a lie in / get the turbo out / watch highlights of the Strade Bianche and then stage 1 of Paris Nice – a couple of souls did venture out rewarded with empty roads, an empty cafe and very little snow / slush
Have noticed that there seems an increasing focus on weather in these news snippets so wondering whether need a change in the site name and focus…
First Monument – Randonee au Plat
Despite the threatened freeze, there was a good turnout for the first Monument of the year – a relatively flat route of 100km and decent headwind stretched the legs and the pace of the two groups.
A typically busy Sweets providing welcome refreshment before heading back -an occasional respite from the headwind enabling riders to put the hammer down and take advantage of the terrain. As we returned towards Clevedon some tired legs started to creep in but the attraction of the full 5 points ensured the full route (Clevedon to Clevedon) was completed
North of The Wall
The two groups massed at the North side of the Bridge and set off in a pincer movement for Old Down and Berkley. At Old Down it was discovered there had been some refurbishment and moving around, but the Inters weren’t to be fooled and managed to stumble across the new cafe – with some help from the visitor outside (with her dogs) who was a little upset dogs were now banned from the cafe! The parrot is still there having been re-homed
No wildlings were sighted but during the trip back we witnessed the kindness and fantastic help of some locals following a slight mishap to one of the group – they were brilliant, Thank You (the individual involved is is ok, if a little bruised)
Not Spring Yet
The massed ranks of recent weeks but a little reduced this week due to half term, rugby, holidays and general day to day life getting in the way, but 15 hardy souls braver the elements and were rewarded with glimpses of blue sky as they climbed up not to the Mendips. Both groups wisely opted for Andre’s as the coffee stop given the cold wind and despite taking over the entire cafe, were welcomed and rewarded with the usual, excellent cake selection.
Reluctantly the warmth of the cafe (some even had found a heater) was left behind for the muddy back lanes as the riders attempted in vain to hide from the wind
At The Seaside But No Ice Cream
A strong turnout for today’s ride with the promise of the Gall Express for 100km for the Fast Group, which took in Burrington and Cheddar en route to Burnham where the Intermediate 14 were enjoying coffee and cake
The headwinds on the way back were offset by the blue sky and sunshine (let’s hope we see all more of this now)
Glasto – 28 Jan
Evening Soirée and Award Ceremony – 25th March
This years Evening Soirée & Award Ceremony will be held on Sunday March 25th (6.00 till 9.00pm) At The LimeHouse (Lounge Bar, 59 Hill Road, Clevedon) which is under new ownership
Tickets are £15pp – see events page for more details, menu and how to book your place – Partners/Guests very welcome.
Damp – 21 Jan
The heavy rain and wind deterred many from riding but the Three Amigos from the Fast Group and a sole Intermediate rider headed out for a cold and wet 50 miles
Sweets – 14th Jan
The second Sunday of the year saw a good turnout despite the cold, with two groups leaving Congresbury – the Fast Group heading up Cheddar Gorge to warm up en route to Sweets, the Intermediate Group choosing a slightly flatter and equally scenic route via the Poldens. Despite a few mechanical issues the Groups met at Sweets where the fire was very welcome