Phil J led this ride and writes:
Four riders undeterred by the prospect of a testing loop through Naseby joined me on an overcast morning at East Hunsbury. Alex and Andrew joined regulars Brian and Ian M to make the foursome. All of us were unaware of the drama to unfold later that afternoon.
Upton and St Crispin’s provided the urban backdrop to the start of the ride before reaching familiar ground through Harlestone and the Bramptons. The climb through Church Brampton was the first real test for the group but we all pretty much arrived at the summit in unison.
Onwards at a leisurely pace we passed Sedgebrook Hall before reaching the A508 followed by another steep climb into Brixworth Country Park for a well-earned tea stop. Milton was already there in the Spring sunshine and we duly joined him whilst one or two of the group looked in at Pitsford Cycles adjacent to the cafe.
On the move again, now six strong, we blazed down the steep gradient at the back of Brixworth where a slight breeze kept our speed down just a little. It wasn’t long before we were in low gears again though as we grinded up the long haul to Spratton which splintered the group a bit. Regrouping at the top we headed for another fast descent skirting Teeton before hitting another rise on the way to Guilsborough. The roads then flattened out for a while and we all enjoyed the scenic views as we cruised along the quiet country lanes in the now glorious sunshine.
Once through Guilsborough we turned for Cold Ashby on more scenic roads and another fast downhill to enjoy. Andrew headed the group and soon reported that he had hit a pothole that he was unable to see. The rest of us avoided it. A pinch puncture was the inevitable result and we all came to a stop although there are worse places to have a puncture than our picturesque location and nobody was in any rush to carry on! The change of inner tube didn’t go as straightforwardly as it should have but with one or two tubes and a number of pumps to hand we finally got on our way again.
We reached Cold Ashby and the road to Naseby. Or so we thought! As we reached the main A road we spotted a large sign pointing us back a mile or two for Naseby and the battle site. Having ridden the route before, I was sure we were going the right way despite the sign but, convinced by the group that I had taken a wrong turn, we headed back to the last junction and beyond only to see another sign to Naseby pointing in the opposite direction! We headed back the way we had gone initially and Andrew realised that the large sign on the crossing had indeed been hit by something and was spinning freely. He dismounted and pointed it in the right direction. Puzzle solved!
A couple of miles later we arrived in Naseby at the Old Vicarage right opposite All Saints Church. Eleanor had already arrived and was relaxing in the lovely grounds. We all sat down and enjoyed lunch together in the open air.
Andrew decided after lunch to make a beeline for home on a direct route whilst Eleanor joined us for the planned ride back. Through Cottesbrooke we avoided riders and runners on a local triathlon event and made our way through lovely surroundings and onto the gated road for Brixworth. The inevitable climb back was next before six became one as everyone except me headed for Holcot and their own way home!
I pushed on through one or two more climbs and continued on the route back home. I called it a day at Hunsbury Meadows and avoided the last climb of the day back to the start. A dramatic day – what with one thing and another – with plenty of climbs and impressive descending from all the riders.
Well done everyone!