Sunday, 19 July 2015

Great Weston Ride - or - My Tour de France! 56

Well. That was tough! Harder than I thought it was going to be. The ride itself was from Bristol to Weston Super Mare, as you can see on a bit of a rounabout route. Two factors made it tough. The first 20 odd miles were very hilly and meant climbing over the Mendip Hills. Once that was done, we then headed west, straight into a 20 mph wind.

Getting there

The organisation of the day was pretty good. There was transport for participants, and bikes, from Weston to the start at Ashton Court near Bristol. About 80 of us travelled in an old double deck bus and the bikes went in 4 Luton Vans. On the way it dawned on me that I didn't know which van my bike was in but no problems when we got there.


The queues for this were not too bad, and as most folk had pre done this on line it was a case of giving your name and fixing your number on the bike. Job done. Off to the start then.

And we are nearly off

Race instructions and signage was explained at the start which was staggered. About 50 ( out of the 1100 entrants) at a time were let loose onto the Somerset countryside. These groups quickly dispersed and didnt, overall,  cause too much bother for motorists

Chew Valley Lake

This lake, just on the northern edge of the Mendips, is the fifth largest artificial lake in the UK. It is used mainly to provide drinking water for Bristol and the surrounding area. The lake is fed from the Mendip Hills.  Looking a bit grey when this was taken but luckily the rain kept off.

Calm before the storm

A bit of a recreational/drink stop at the bottom of Burrington Coombe, a steep ascent to the top of the Mendips.  The blurb from the organisers describe it as a fairly steep climb, about 2 1/2 miles long which can be climbed by anyone with an average level of fitness. Not how I would describe it, two stops were made to prevent my heart exploding, but pleased to say did not have to walk at all.

Rock of Ages

Just at the start of Burrington Coombe is this large rock, dubbed the Rock of Ages according to the sign. It is alleged that here, in about 1762, the Rev. Toplady (unfortunate name) composed the well known hymn whilst sheltering from a storm in a crevice. Altogether now 123 ; "Roock of Aaages...."

Sheep Hurdles

These were on the village green at Priddy. In 1348, because of the Black Death, the sheep market was moved from Wells to here. From that time on the hurdles were stored on the village green. This has been a symbol of that time. It caught light in April 2013 and has been faithfully reconstructed by volunteers from the village. The fair is still held here on the nearest Wednesday to August 21st each year.

Official Tea Break

This was heading into the Somerset Levels at Blackford and the organisers had been allowed to use the facilities of the Hughey Sexey (another funny name)  school. Tea and coffee was for gratis and cake and bacon rolls were on sale. The enormous slice of rich fruit cake went down very well and certainly helped over the last 20 miles.

The Eagle has landed!

All done at the finish on Weston sea front. There was a welcoming committee, which was nice, two of the grandchildren and a friend on the left. I did not get to keep my medal for long!

An excellent ride, very well organised. 56 miles in total and it was disappointing not to have made it 60 but the chance to do the extra was too daunting. Looking forward to next year now!


  1. Well done. How long did it take you to get round?


  2. Just over 5 hours Les. I was hoping to do an extra little loop that was added on to make it over 60 miles (100 kilometeres sounds even more impressive) but thought it might have been a bit too much. Next year!