Phil J went on this ride organised by James and writes:
Eight cyclists assembled at Moulton for James’ Queen of the Mountains ride of two halves on a glorious sunny morning. Moderate or brisk? The choice was yours. The sides were quickly picked and gave us four riders in each group. We set off on the long road out towards Holcot and the groups splintered as expected. Our moderate group set into a nice steady pace which included Elspeth once again.
The sun shone but a gentle breeze cooled us sufficiently and made it one of the best days for cycling so far this year. The pace quickened for the moderate group but with still no sign of the faster riders in the brisk group ahead. We meandered through picturesque villages without much traffic to hold us up and it wasn’t long before we were entering the wonderful Cottesbrooke estate with its steep climb at the end. But we skirted round this and soon headed for Naseby with a number of testing hills there instead. Cyclists passed us as we regrouped but we managed to rein one or two of them in on the climbs as they lost power much to our satisfaction.
Some miles on after a short stretch along the busy Market Harborough road we approached the tea stop at the Waterloo Farm Café and a welcome break for us all. The brisk group hadn’t arrived yet as they were still out covering the extra miles and climbs on their own particular route but the “moderates” were ahead of time according to our leader.
We settled onto an outside table and it wasn’t long before the “brisks” arrived and joined us. The location was baked in sunshine and we all enjoyed teas and coffees whilst some got stuck into tasty fayre.
On the move again we all set off together before two became one after the first rise. The route continued through familiar territory including the long haul up Harrington Hill, the final QoM stage, ending at the Tollemache Arms which seemed rather tempting on a hot day but we continued without succumbing to a swift pint or two!
Towards Foxhall a police roadblock was in place and a helicopter circled overhead where a stolen car had been abandoned in the nearby field. Further on Old and Walgrave tested the weary legs of the group before we met up again with the brisk group just outside Holcot.
The final stretch into Moulton was the last couple of miles of the day and we blazed down the road whatever group you were in. James and I had a bunch sprint to the finish which of course he won and punched the air in delight. A great days riding with a choice of ways to do it.
Thanks to James for devising the QoM route. James lead the brisk group at a challenging pace leaving Brian, Phil and Co to enjoy a more steady pace.