First Ride of the New Year

Firstly, happy new year, i hope last year was good and that this year will be better.

Today I got out and about on the bike to continue the winter base theme. the weather today was supposed to be fairly nice. in the event, it threw everything at us over the space of 45 or so miles; glorious sunshine, hail, wintry sleet and rain.

the central bit of the ride was a long ascent from the a38 at churchill to the top of the mendips. it works out at around 4 miles, with some flat bits and small descents and a height gain of 650ft. it finished at the highest point of the mendips, cresting out at 900ft. it’s a great climb partly because of the length, but also because of the small sections which offer respite. it also takes you up into a secluded and beautiful section of moorland behind Dolebury Warren (an amazing iron age hill fort). there is lots of evidence of prehistoric and neolithic occupation across this stretch of the mendips, including ancient burial mounds, stone circles and curious circular enclosures. it’s fascinating and strangely reassuring to see the physical connections between people and the landscape, stretching forwards across the millenia as a reminder that they once lived and shared this space, if not time.

right at the end we opted to tackle dundry lane. no-one i know likes this climb. it rises steadily before throwing in 3 ramps where it pitches up to around 20%. they are mercifully short. i had better legs today, which was a good thing.

clarken coombe in the driving rain and hail
dundry in savage wind and rain
the briefest of sunny moments
the top of shipham/longbottom
kieran: en forme
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