This week’s Thursday ride was the longest training ride for which I’ve had company, and very welcome it was too. Special thanks to Phil, Chris, Alun and Steve for the craic. There’s no scenic picture to grace the top of the blog post, as the most salient feature of the day was the wind, for which the Met Office issued a Yellow Warning 35 minutes after we set out.
Normally you only notice when the wind is against you, not behind you, but today we felt the benefit of it pushing us up from North Stoke, and from Ewelme all the way along the Chiltern foothills to Postcombe. After bidding farewell to Phil near Watlington, we had a good view of the Stokenchurch telecoms tower ahead of us. Steve E said it reminded him of Mount Ventoux , the way it looms up ahead but never seems to get any closer. The A40 climb from Aston Rowant up through Aston Wood may not compare to the ascent of Mount Ventoux, but it has a feeling of the long steady climbs common on the continent. Climbing for 1.8 miles at around 4-5%, it’s good mental training as much as physical.
From the top of climb, the next 10 miles to Hambleden Mill were nearly all downhill, largely still with the wind behind. After our stop at Coffee On The Green in Stokenchurch we said goodbye to Chris, who went off to High Wycombe to find a bus he could fold his bike into for the journey home. Turning westwards at Hambleden for the journey home via Henley we were into the wind, but much of the route was sheltered by the leafy Chilterns. Approaching Henley Bridge, at least one of us was still alert enough to notice one of our Olympic heroes, Sir Steve Redgrave, emerging from the Royal Regatta building.
Home at last and time to put our feet up after 47.2 miles, and a 2022 PB for Alun. Chapeau!