Phil J led this ride to Draycote Water and writes:
Just three riders decided to brave the biting cold on this day ride to Draycote Water which looked promising initially as the sun was shining early on. We plummeted down into the valley and the temperatures followed as the sun went behind gloomy skies.
We spun across Pineham’s smooth cycle paths, aware of the ground frost on the excellent surfaces. Harpole presented the first real road riding culminating in a heart thumping climb out of the village and onto the Roman road.
We levelled off for a while through Harlestone and the Firs before a combination of climbing and fast descending around Althorp.
Heading towards Whilton we toyed with the idea of having an impromptu café stop at Whilton Locks just to warm us up in the difficult conditions but we decided to stick to the plan and head for Barby instead. The gated roads at Norton posed no problems and were traffic-free as we looked forward to the comfort of the cafe at The Willows.
Once inside the options were given to carry on riding or return home. Phil L who had been struggling with the cold, sensibly decided to return home. Dave and I decided to continue on to Draycote.
On leaving the cafe the sun came out lifting the mood of the group as did the “4 miles to Dunchurch” sign shortly after. Crossing the border into Warwickshire we were greeted with freshly laid tarmac which helped our progress towards the reservoir. At the A426 we used the designated cycle paths to keep us safe with hardly anybody else using them.
The main road through Dunchurch seemed easy as was the last mile or two into Draycote Water using the busy A426.
We were greeted with a busy reservoir and had to wait to be seated at the restaurant. So we opted for bracing balcony seating giving us a table straight away.
Hot soup and tea warmed us up as well as eating the biggest jam and cream scones we had ever seen.
Ride. Eat cake. Sleep. Repeat.
Suitably refuelled we retraced our steps back towards the town and the route back to Barby. On the way the inevitable happened. I hit a patch of ice and briefly slewed before righting myself again without falling. A close call.
With the sun still shining the route back seemed better but it was still very cold and difficult to feel any benefit.
We continued past Whilton Locks to the last real climb of the day to the top of the Roman road and we both climbed admirably.
At Harpole Dave continued on to Duston whilst I followed the same route back over Pineham and Hunsbury Meadows, calling it a day there and cleverly avoiding the need to climb “Mount Tesco” back to the official start.
This was a tough challenge today due to the cold conditions but we did superbly whatever our distance.