Although the day started out wet and windy, by the afternoon, the rain stopped and the wind continued to blow. Not that we’re fair-weathered riders only, quite the oposite; we’d prefer to ride hard and tactfully rather than pushing and dragging our bikes through ankle deep squidgy mud and horse poo - totally not cool!! Although, they do say mud is good for the skin, but ‘mudpoo’ hmmm!!.
As always, we started out on our route up a couple of hills which always gets the group prepared and motivated for the ride. It’s a casual start and not taxing for any new rider. We breezed our way down and into Longleat and though the nature walk. We stopped here for a moment to discuss our next route. We chose an alternate route out of Longleat instead of heading to Huntly’s Gate. As we exited Longleat, we entered Horningsham – a scenic tucked away hamlet (I believe this is what you call a hamlet). From there, the group headed up the long incline and winding road down into Shearwater passing its café where, Marjory informed, great cakes can be found– yummy!! We didn’t stop – honest – the open trails beckoned and we peddled.
Great, now we’re hitting the stone and gravel paths, but that’s wasn’t enough. Caroline spots a perfect trail leading down into what has to be another Boggy Bay full of challenges. Wahoo!!, a challenge we were all up to taking. Marjory lead the way strong and in control – even after riding thirty miles around the Cheddar trails the day before - you go girl!! I followed in an easy gear ducking under low branches and squelching my way through the mud; splashing through the sludge and skimming the rim of huge holes to a perfectly set steep incline. That was fun!! Rachel followed close behind without a hitch, as usual; she just keeps getting better and better. Caroline our mentor and leader, what would we do without her, followed behind with Helen to guide her through the more challenging area of our route.
We followed the trail to the security gates at Centre Parcs and up through a fast winding trail to Longleat entrance and down in to Black Canon Collective allotment to take a moment to watch our talented downhill riders practice their riding skills.
As you can see from the photo, this is where we took a five minute rest. Shortly after, we carried on riding down through the allotment leading to a rather rocky trail and on to a smooth open road. This road is nothing more than a preparation for the steep and bumpy hill before us. All in unison, we clicked into an easy gear and peddled hard. Caroline and Marjory sailed up the hill as I followed closely behind while attempting to clear the path in front of me by shouting at Rachel to move. SORRY Rachel - me and hills - I get a little possessed!! Nearing the end of our route, we tactfully weaved and bumped our way down to meet the ford giving a prime photo op. We all made it across safe and dry except for Helen who made a fabulous attempt of making it more than half way across the ford before taking a paddle – good effort Helen. We hit the last hill and whizzed down to the Horse and Groom for a well earned wine, cider or a wee coffee. Yet again, a great ride.