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off road cycling at the Cotswold Water Park


Last Sunday we once again loaded the car up with bikes for another ride in the early Autumn sunshine.  We went to the Cotswold Water Park to do the first route in this book.  I've done this ride (or something about 90% similar) before, but not for a couple of years.

Cycling around the water park is very different to riding in the Forest of Dean because it's almost entirely flat - Strava claims 10m of elevation over 18km...

The scenery is quite different too.  Less forest, more lakes (now there's a surprise!)

reflections on a lake

It's not difficult riding, although certain places were rather muddy!  A section of bridleway across a field led to clogged up tyres, and there were plenty of muddy puddles and potholes along the way too.  I am not complaining, because I got to watch Jon sliding all over the place haha.

We parked at the Gateway centre because the suggested start point car park was closed (and had a height barrier anyway), so that added a bit of extra road/cycle path.  We accidentally added a bit more road later when we missed a turning onto the old railway line (now part of NCN45), but nevermind!  Still got back in time for tea and cake at the café.

And just in case you're worried because this is a post about biking without any pictures of bikes... of course I stopped to take a pic of my bike leaning against something.  In this case what I think might be an old railway bridge.  Certainly an interesting structure, whatever it is.

Highnam Court 10k


Last year I ran the inaugural Great Highnam Court 10k, and last Saturday I went back for the second.

I've love to say my time improved, but it actually turned out to be a minute and a bit slower.  However, I'm much happier with how the actual running went - last year I remember needing several walk breaks towards the end, but this year barely any walking was required.

Apart from the first few hundred metres, that is.  148 runners starting off and almost immediately reaching a narrow bit of footpath was only ever going to turn into a bottleneck!  I'm blaming this for my relatively slow time - when we reached the 1km marker my fitbit said 7min 38...

medal and race number
yay bling

Apart from that it was relatively plain sailing, other than needing to avoid a few large dumps of horse manure on the paths.  After we finished the first lap I did sort of abandon Jem, who finished four minutes behind me, so I could carry on at my own pace (and she at hers).

This year we also had the added entertainment/distraction of a herd of sheep running around.  Luckily they were kept out of our way!

Will I be back for a third go next year?  Probably.  It's such a lovely setting for a run.

24 hours in Brighton


I think if I was forced to live in a big city in the South East of England, I'd probably choose Brighton.  It has hills, seaside, quirky shops, lots of rainbows, and it's not too far to escape to the countryside. (Obviously I would still prefer to live in actual countryside, sorry big cities!)

I hadn't visited for over a decade (!!), but last weekend I popped down to meet up with a few friends. The drive down on Saturday was horrible.  So much rain, spray, and generally bad visibility.  Yet still there are far too many drivers who don't think to put their lights on!

brighton pier sign

Aisling and I had a brief wander around North Laine while waiting for Amelie and Jem to arrive, then we retreated to her nice dry flat and stuffed our faces with cake and pizza while being gently terrorised by an excited puppy.

Sunday's weather was the complete opposite to Saturday - clear blue skies!  I may have even acquired a touch of sunburn as we walked around.

I can't say I'm massively taken with the new i360.  It's basically just an ugly tower spoiling the skyline, and you can pay to go up in the observation donut thing.  We did not.  Plus it keeps getting stuck...

However, I do like how reflective it is.  That's the sad remains of the West Pier in the water, and I was standing next to the green 'park' bit you can just about see to take the photo.


We did the standard touristy wander along the seafront and Palace pier, including spending some amount of time/money on the 2p machines.

After a wander around the Lanes, a bit of shopping (basically just beer and chocolate), and a ridiculously thick avocado based smoothie, I returned to my car with 23hr 50min on the clock.  Happy to report that the drive home was a lot better.