Sunday 28 October 2012

Stroud 5 Valleys 50 (Oct 2012)

26 October 2012 saw me complete the Stroud 5 Valleys 50 audax, for a second time. This was a 50k permanent audax that was quite hilly in nature (1 AAA point). The event was considered 'a short ride with plenty of vertical-seeking interest'.

The event started in Stroud. Almost straight away, I passed an aptly named lane - Beard Lane! How comical I thought.

Shortly after passing Beard Lane, I passed a lovely arch. Arches appeared to be a theme on this audax. How pleasant I thought.
This particular arch had a lovely inscription on the top of it. The inscription read 'Erected to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the British colonies...'. Nice.
These nice words were great to think about as I climbed the first of many hills. At only 4k into the ride came the first control point. The control was an information control and asked what the name of the wood was at top of said hill. I have cycled this route before and am sure the wood in question used to have a big sign stating name - this time there was no sign. Luckily there was a Parish notice stuck to a fence stating 'no motorcycles in Stockend Wood'. Ha! The next control was an information control too. This time I had to write down the number of a particular BT phone. How random I though. At least I had reached this phone without mishap - a steep, wet and slippy 25% gradient took me to the control in Haresfield.

Like the last time I cycled this route, I took a wrong turn here. This was soon noticed and I got myself back on route and passed Harescombe. Then a 1:6 climb followed and I knew I was back on route! Just before I reached the Painswick control, I took the photo below which was the second lot of arches I noticed on ride.
Painswick to Bisley followed next. I liked to think of it as Pain to Lunch! Ha! Hilly affairs continued, a particular 1:7 on this section. Then soon followed my much anticipated lunch. I stopped at the Bulls Head (I think that's the name), where I stop almost every time I cycle the Cotswold Corker. Loaded up my carbs by eating a large lasagna and potato side dish.

Luckily, leaving Bisley starts with a lengthy descent, which is just what I needed after my feast. After about 5k of down hill to the Toadsmoor valley things started ascending again. Less than 5k further and I saw my third lot of arches at the Minchinhampton control.
Left Minchinhampton and headed for Nympsfield. Despite being in the countryside, this section looked sterile and bleak. Not an overly hilly section but a climb all the same. The control was optional - information or a visit to the Rose & Crown pub. I had already eaten so chose the information control where I had to name the catholic school. I felt a little uneasy as I took out my camera to snap the school sign. The school was called St Josephs.

The final section was not hilly much at all, just 77 metres of ascent. This made a welcome break from the days climbing. A random cow slowed things down though and took dominance on the road.
Cow would not allow the truck to pass. Despite horn blowing the cow did not move. As stubborn as a cow!
Miss cow smiled nicely for my camera though. Doesn't she look pretty?! Ha, this did make me chuckle.
Miss cow continued to stay in the middle of the road after the photo-shoot too. I wonder if she's there now? Hope she hasn't been ran over. Shortly after passing cow, I continued a short way and safely made it to the arrivee. I had cycled about 60k in all, 10k being as a result of poor navigation. I enjoyed this ride and being such a short ride had time to kill and legs that were not completely spent. I cycled back to Beard Lane before packing up and going home, just for the comedy factor.
Cycled about 60k in about 5 hours during this audax. I think I will cycle this one again. Maybe a few times over :)

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