Even though I’d entered a six-hour event solo, my first, the following day in Bristol there was no way I was letting a sunny weekend day go to waste. Asked the question, John recommended I go for a ride on the Mendips – I duly found a route to follow and set out early Saturday morning for Somerset.
The wonderfully clear day was once again plagued by a brisk wind, but that was at my back as I immediately hit a 1:10 climb to get up on top of the hills. The bluebells had already started to fade at home in the New Forest, so it was nice to see fields still in bloom. After some pleasant riding in the sun across the ridge top (which was wonderfully dry, but looked like it would be horrible if slightly muddy) there was flattish road and then from a quarry I was hurtled down a rockfest of a descent to Cheddar. It kept going & going and was the best downhill I’d done since Moab.
I pootled up Cheddar Gorge (the only other time I have visited was eighteen-odd months ago with Mum) a little way to see what it was like & decided it was time for tea & cakes – because apparently eleven in the morning is too early to open a kitchen and provide hungry cyclists with an early lunch.
Straight out of Cheddar it was another very steep climb up above the southern edge of the gorge. While there was no one to be seen on the route I took down into Cheddar, this path was very popular with walkers – who all seemed convinced I was mad. After another sublime descent through woods (unfortunately, a bit too much traffic here too) there was rather too much road to link to the last bridleway section. So that was a great introduction to the Mendips – I hope I make it back to ride with the Combe Raiders. Perhaps 840 metres of climbing was a bit more than I should have done – but the following day would let me know.
With a few hours to kill before Andy was home (the one I have to thank for the whole Bikefest idea & whose house I was staying at that night), I thought there were worse things I could do than go into Bath. So I continued the drive in the sun, parked up at the same Park & Ride where I also went with Mum & rode the bus into yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. As Mum & I had already visited the Roman Baths, I had a very nice afternoon wandering around in the sun looking at the old buildings, lounging in parks & eating delicious Italian cake.