Brian, our Secretary, went on this ride led by Philip G. Brian writes (with photos by Philip G):
This was a brisk morning ride through the hilly area around Creaton, Cottesbrooke and Naseby and then up to Marston Trussell. This route confirmed the original ride description that “there are several ‘medium difficulty’ hills – nothing too vicious but they may mount up.” Digital maps and GPS reveal all and on the 36-mile route only 20% of the route (7 miles) was on the level and the hills added up to 2500ft of ascent.
Nevertheless, Philip led the pace – fresh from his L’Etape du Tour in the Pyrenees – with the four remaining riders hanging on in what seemed a continuous head wind – even on the way back! We had plenty of sun but the temperature was distinctly autumnal. We nearly entered the A14 by mistake – oops! – but a hasty retreat up the slip road and we were back on quiet country lanes with little traffic.
Returning via Sibertoft, and a final challenging hill up to Guilsborough, we were soon in the Café Monde at the Stables in Church Brampton enjoying well-earned coffee and cake.
Outside the coffee stop
A really good morning ride. Many thanks to Philip.
We were fierce opponents on Saturday afternoon but come February and ahead of our next meeting with York City we’ll all see a different and refreshing side of football as a group of Minstermen fans will be cycling from York to Northampton. This isn’t just your standard fundraiser, either, as it all came about after the tragic death of Cobblers fan David Henderson following last season’s fixture between the clubs at Sixfields.
All money raised from the bike ride – which has already confirmed ten City fans to be taking part – will be donated to the British Heart Foundation in Mr Henderson’s memory.
Ian Jones, one of those taking part, explained:
“The idea for the fundraiser was first sparked by seeing the events that followed last season’s fixture at Sixfields first hand and was something that touch all fans of both teams, not just myself. We all have…
Nine riders met outside the Canoe Centre under gloomy skies for a slightly longer ride than normal to the picturesque location of Grafham Water over the border in Cambridgeshire. Right on cue the heavens opened and all riders donned wet weather gear somewhat earlier than we expected to. We therefore departed a little later than scheduled but fortunately the rain subsided pretty quickly but it had left plenty of surface water around making conditions tricky for some of the group especially down the fast decent at Cogenhoe early on.
A wet start
Nonetheless decent pace was made towards the first cafe stop at Thurleigh with the suspicion falling on a strong tailwind that might have its revenge on the return leg. All riders came in out of the cold at Thurleigh to warm up with hot drinks and snacks. Phil L was riding well and after refuelling decided – understandably – to play it safe and return to Northampton accompanied by Eleanor. Well done, Phil!
As we left Thurleigh it seemed like a completely different day as the sun came out and skies cleared to lift the mood of the remaining cyclists. All pressed on towards Grafham and enjoyed plenty of fast riding through some beautiful villages along the way. The odd mechanical gave us a chance to admire some splendid scenery.
The odd mechanical
As the destination came into view it was decided to use the main café rather than the boating club giving us an extra couple of miles to reach lunch. We actually rode round some of the cycle path around the reservoir before deciding to get back on the road to find the regular entrance.
A busy café greeted us – full of Sustrans rangers and other visitors to the reservoir. Talk turned to the strength of the wind and also how Milton had managed to polish off two oversized pieces of cake in one day with one more stop to come! Phone calls were made by some of the group to other halves to soften the blow of an anticipated late return.
The café at Grafham
We reluctantly left the lovely location at the side of the water and headed out on the cycle route across the dam and eventually onto the main road through Perry and beyond. Our suspicions about the wind were immediately noticeable as all the riders were pounded relentlessly across the open terrain. Turns in direction seemed to have no effect as the wind continued to pay us back for the journey out. Mile after mile came stronger and stronger gusts especially on exposed locations. Wind turbines that we passed were a clear indicator of what we were riding through.
There was very little respite until the final welcoming stop at Poddington where we all enjoyed a well earned break before the final push home.
The hill at Cogenhoe proved to be the only real obstacle left. When all the team reached the top we regrouped and talked tactics about the routes each of us would take home. We split on the cycle paths alongside the A45 leaving just Iain D and Phil J to return to the Canoe Centre and to a much brighter setting than we had seen that morning.
A longer and tougher ride than I think any of us had expected. Well done all!
Milton went on this ride, led by Iain D, and writes:
With most of the club seemingly in London for the big weekend (RideLondon FreeCycle & London-Surrey 100), there were only four intrepid souls ready on Saturday afternoon to enjoy a leisure ride from the Canoe Centre through Brafield-on-the-Green down to Horton and on to the cafe at Salcey Forest for the usual excess of cake and drinks.
We returned to the Canoe Centre via Quinton and Wootton by 4.15 p.m. having covered no more than 20 miles.
A lovely fresh breezy and warm day, perfect for cycling, and a well-led trip which the four of us much enjoyed. Many thanks to Iain D for a quality ride.