Ride report, Saturday 16th April

PhilJ led this ride and writes:

As luck would have it, my alternative venue at the Solstice Café in Dunchurch turned out to be the right decision in the end. Six riders were more than I was expecting on an Easter weekend ride, and this included several who you’re more than likely to see on a brisk ride on a Saturday. Most of us were on our first ride in shorts and short sleeved tops this season and we had nothing to worry about weather wise.

Clearing Duston high street made way for the country roads towards Althorp and Brington whereupon the ‘brisks’ opened up a gap on the ‘steadies’ towards the village of Whilton before regrouping at the summit above Whilton Locks. Norton successfully navigated, through the gated road, the highest point on the ride then provided a swift drop towards Welton amidst stunning vistas. Alex had his eye on the clock for elevenses at the Solstice and with another increase in pace towards Dunchurch we weren’t far off. Garmin’s were soon showing us as being off route and some clearly doubted my sense of direction to our new destination! But just outside the village of Thurlaston is the unassuming café and garden centre. It’s not much to look at but it provides excellent coffee and a great selection of cakes.

Two outside tables in the sunshine are as good as it gets and we enjoyed a relaxed time in good company thrashing out ideas for new rides in the Summer.

As expected on leaving the café various Garmin’s expressed further dissatisfaction at my choice of route as we made our way off road to the perimeter path around Draycote Water. A solitary marshal at our entry point indicated an event was probably in progress around the reservoir.

It was the Draycote Water Running Festival no less and we were now mixing with the competitors on the course. Two parallel paths towards the visitor centre provided ample room for us to wind our way to the finish of the 5 and 10k races. The café would have been busy today although it might have been a great event to watch from the balcony area if we could have got in.

Returning home, Grandborough provides an opportunity for some flat riding in glorious surroundings, although Philip was on his way to Southam in full aero position before we all called him back. A hillier and breezier ride back towards Norton inevitably slowed the pace of the group. Approaching the A5 opposite the Heart of The Shires, Philip suggested a better route than the short stretch down to Brockhall that I had planned on the fast carriageway. It was safer and traffic free. It was also a mountain bikers delight. Tarmac content – zero. But we made it to Brockhall intact, including Alex on his new shiny Bianchi.

Back on terra firma familiar roads got us back to Bugbrooke, Kislingbury and Sixfields where our ride ended.

Thanks to everyone for coming out today. 
Hope you enjoyed the new café.


Solstice Cafe outside
Solstice Cafe inside
Solstice Cafe Easter

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