Wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail… oh and lots of sun… all the weathers, it must be spring. Sunday the 17th March can certainly be counted as an incredible early spring day and ticked all the boxes for an event in the ‘Classics’ season. Whilst the pros were taking a well earned rest from the cobbles and crosswinds of Flanders, I joined over 300 brave riders on the quickly growing flandarian styled Cotswold Cyclo - a spectacular event which shows off, I believe, some of England's best cycling roads (come at me Yorkshire).
Climbing like a mountain goat? Or a Cotswold sheep...
Having signed my father up for the Langste - 143km route for his 62nd birthday ‘treat’, I was of course inclined to come along and act as windshield and super domestique. Talking of inclines… the advertised route listed 1,700m of ascent, a nice leg sapping amount of vert especially for an early spring ride. But after just over 6 hours in the saddle and 143km in the legs the garmin showed a total of 2,150m of ascent and we felt every metre of that. The cotswolds which is renowned for thatched medieval villages, churches and stately homes built of distinctive local yellow limestone also has beautiful rolling hills with some severe gradients which always seem to go on a little longer than one would like.
By the 110km mark most of the climbing is done and a food and water stop at Costwolds Cycles in Morton-in-Marsh was very welcomed. Faces and pockets were stuffed with a selection of snacks before the tailwind assisted run for home. By this point we had rejoined the sensible, wise and slightly fresher looking riders who had opted for the Midden -102km and Kort - 60km routes. Finishing back at The Old Shed cafe in Charlbury we were greeted by coffee, cake and an open fire pit. Whilst the sun had been trying its best for most of the day the warmth from the fire was definitely appreciated. All in all an excellent day on the bike. A very well run event on some stunning car free roads.
- James Beechey