Tom Trip to Malvern.
Three intrepid explorers braved my first attempt at leading a club ride. Clearly trusting that I would not throw in some extra hills we departed in the sun for what had not been billed as a chance to top up your tan.
Sara, Claire and I were joined by Ali in Lydbrook although he had to tag onto the back as we went sailing on past! The four of us continued out towards Ross turning off at Coughton to pick up the lanes. We soon caught up with a group from Ross CC who were clearly not in a hurry.
The first of our climbs - up to Upton Bishop - passed with ease and we picked up the usually quiet lanes to Dymock. Today however wave upon wave of Gloucestershire cycling clubs were headed the other way. We arrived in Ledbury and began the long slog up to British Camp and the Malvern Hills. This was the main event for our climbing and proved a good test of stamina. The reward - cake and fine views at the Kettle Sings tearoom - was welcome, but interupted by an unforecast rain shower.
Onwards and some fine downhill sections from Wych cutting and from Little Malvern to Welland boasted our average speed momentarily only for a persistent headwind to come into play. Firmly on the homeward leg we navigated Redmarley d’... using Claire’s navigation device. This was the only part of the route I had never ridden and that goes some way to explain why the ‘sunken’ lanes looked like they hadn’t seen a car in years!
Back through Newent and the end was in sight. ‘Just one more climb’ did not pacify Sara but we all got up and through the ‘cutting’ north of Drybrook safely. Back in the Forest The group decided to disperse at Nailbridge. Ali fancied ‘just one more climb’ and so joined me up Ruardean Hill.
Despite the odd shower and a few wet roads this was a thoroughly enjoyable ride in good company.