Camping in July with the usual gang of friends from uni. That'll be nice - most likely warm(ish) and hopefully dry.
Or not. After a ridiculously slow drive (thanks M5 roadworks and 'start of school holidays' traffic) I arrived at a very wet Ruehill campsite to find Jo having a major tent disaster - she'd left the flysheet at home! I quickly popped my tent up, then retreated to the car to wait for the others to arrive while she went and bought an emergency new tent from a local halfords. (Fun fact: 'showerproof' £10 tents very definitely can't cope with rainy Staffordshire moorlands. Fun fact #2: when we moved her original tent the next morning, it turned out the flysheet was underneath it all along....!)
The rain was clearly not planning on stopping so we drove to a local fish and chip shop, ate in the cars then drove to the pub just down the road.
Thankfully, Saturday was much drier. At about 11am, we got the firepit going - as we obviously hadn't been able to the night before - and toasted far too many marshmallows.
Me playing with fire. Photo by Lucy
We thought about finding a local attraction to visit, or going for a walk, or even just finding somewhere for tea and cake, but in the end it was just nice to sit around the fire catching up. In the afternoon we wandered down the road to Yewstock music and beer festival, where I drank too much cider too quickly for that early on in the day!
We headed back to the other pub for dinner, once again taking shelter from the rain.
On Sunday morning tents were packed up, and most of us stopped off for a lovely breakfast at the Cottage Kitchen, before heading our separate ways back to families, dogs, children, etc.
As I drove over to Moreton-in-Marsh, the rain got heavier and heavier... to the point where I was almost considering turning round and going home. I usually avoid cycling in the rain, and it was looking very much like my first sportive was going to be Type 2 Fun.
Luckily by the time I arrived the weather had upgraded to 'light drizzle'. I optimistically stuffed my waterproof into a jersey pocket, where it stayed for at least 20 minutes before I caved in and put it on.
At the food stop I stuffed myself with flapjack and banana, refilled my water and grabbed a large handful of sweets for future hills. The rain jacket went back into my pocket at this point, and stayed there until the end. Phew.
The hill out of Chipping Campden (on the B4081) seemed to go on forever, but I made it all the way up without getting off and walking, and even overtook some people. I guess I'm finally getting better at hills, yay. A marshall at the A44 road crossing: "are you enjoying the hill?" me: "urgh, is it over yet?" "no! enjoy!". And he was right, it kept going up towards Snowshill. I stopped at the top for a well earned drinks break.
Apparently soon afterwards I cycled right past a trig point without noticing it - how does that even happen?! I'm a bit annoyed about this and am considering logging it anyway... However I did stop to take photos of lavender fields, along with several other riders.
not the lavender fields
I managed to use my full range of gears on this ride - from crawling up the never ending hill to swooshing down a lovely descent - which I'd probably have gone quicker on if it had been drier, but that's ok.
I crossed the finish line at around 3hr15, having done the 'short' 60km route. I'd hoped for closer to three hours and think I'd probably have managed if it had been dry.
Treated myself to a short sports massage afterwards, as my shoulders and upper left arm were feeling rather tight. I'd lasted about 2.5hrs before my fingers started tingling, which is an improvement on earlier rides
Despite my whinging about the rain, I really enjoyed my first sportive and will definitely be signing up for more in future! I'm determined to build up to longer distances too.
I lived a two minute walk from this for three years when I first moved to Gloucester, but hadn't ever considered visiting. It's a big building, but it turns out only two floors have museum stuff, which is a bit disappointing. We managed to spend an hour here, and what was there was good - but I think if I'd paid £8.50 for an adult ticket I'd be feeling a bit put out (instead we paid £10 for a pass for all four of Gloucester's museums, so it'll be fine as long as we get round to visiting at least one other in the next 12 months.. watch this space.)