Past Ride

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Sun Jun 17th 2018
Solstice Ride 3*
Katherine Boyce
Start Time:
4:00 am
Start Location:
Wantage Market Place
So as promised here's this years solstice ride. This years ride is slightly longer (130km) but slightly less hilly (1100metres) and in particular the ending is less tough :).

We'll start by wending our way up to the Ridgeway via Chainhill to watch the sunrise before heading off to Great Shefford via Brightwalton and then on to Ashbury, Fox Hill and Chisledon. Here we'll use the 24 hour garage for a first breakfast stop - coffee and pastries! Then on to Avebury and Devises before returning via Hungerford (second breakfast at Tutti Pole) and then returning to Wantage via Lambourn and the Letcombes.

This is a tough ride but well worth the effort - some exceptional views and because we are going so early we get to take roads not usually suitable for group rides. Please make sure you have lights and snacks. It would be great if you could let me know you are coming, so if necessary I can let the Tutti Pole know we are coming.
8 of us were up before the larks and gathered in the Market Place, where only one group of revellers were still waiting for a taxi. As we crested the first of the hills and were in open country for the first time, all the clouds were tinged with pink in the pre-dawn. With so much cloud we skipped the Ridgeway viewing as we expected no sunrise spectacle. Our loss, as we approached Great Shefford we paused to admire what we could of the rapidly disappearing sunrise. As we crossed and recrossed the Ridgeway on a number of occasions we all tried to ignore the moisture in the air, the strong headwind and the dark clouds over Wiltshire.

By our first breakfast we had raced with deer (they gave up first ;) ), admired a barn owl, not run over a fox, watched numerous hares haring away and seen a buzzard starting its first flight of the day. The facilities at the 24 hour garage were not as good as previously but we all welcomed the coffee as we gradually warmed up. Onward to Avebury, passing the white horse on the other Hackpen Hill and eventually remembering to pause in Avebury to admire the central stones.

Once we had climbed out of Avebury and dropped into the Vale of Pewsey, we stopped to see another white horse behind us - this one in need of TLC. After negotiating Pewsey, it seemed no time at all before we were in Crofton and back on familiar territory. The Tuti Pole in Hungerford, were quiet - well it was only 9.30 - and produced hearty breakfasts for us all. Jerry and Eddie had mechanicals in the final stretch but it did not stop them from completing the ride.

A fantastic mornings riding. Despite my lack of speed on the hills, everyone was very patient and good natured. Whilst the rest of us went home to put our feet up, Andy carried on for another 90kms (clap)
130.40 km (81.03 mi)
Ride Details:
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Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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