Yesterday I took part in the ABF Soldiers Charity Ride along with my mate Mitch. This involved a 66 mile ride starting and finishing in Stanbridge a small picturesque village between Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable. The route headed out across rolling countryside dissecting Leighton Buzzard and Aylesbury before reaching the first proper climb of the ride Aston Hill near Wendover woods. After this an enjoyable gradual descent followed before a further steep descent it was on this section down Hastoe Hill that a pesky wasp got stuck in my cycling helmet and stung me on my head. Plenty of expletives, some sharp braking and a rapid removal of the helmet ensued, man that hurt!!! We then continued back up a hill past Champneys through Wigginton and down through Tring and onto Mentmore for the feed stop.
Now if Carlsberg did feed stops then this was it. A hot cup of tea (or coffee) warm sausage rolls, pasties and pie. Custard cream biscuits, I do like custard creams and have been known to munch a whole packet as they are so moreish. It was like the feed stop was sponsored by Greggs. We managed to pull ourselves away and set off again along a short flat section which involved going under the bridge made famous for the Great Train Robbery before we hit the hills again, this time heading up and over Ivinghoe Beacon. This is the start or finish depending on your route of the Ridgeway National Trail and from the top of the Beacon it affords some fantastic views over the Vale of Aylesbury. When we got to Ringshall the road was closed due to resurfacing so a 4 mile detour looping back round to Dagnall, when we got to Dagnell we noticed cyclists coming down the ‘correct’ route, it so happens not long after we went past they reopened the road! Typical!!
Next on the agenda was Bison Hill which is the road that goes up past Whipsnade Zoo, I have never liked this hill and today was no exception although I got a PB I still did not enjoy the climb partly because it is hard and also because I had to go around a few people who were off the bikes and walking up, (This is not a moan at them) on a steep hill with plenty of traffic also vying to get past it was a bit hairy at times. Another climb followed shortly after, this time a gradual one up past the Dunstable Down café and some nice far reaching views. Then a fast descent and before long we were back out on the flat lanes heading for the finish at Stanbridge where a pint and hog roast was waiting for us and very nice it was too! A top ride our total distance was 70 miles due to the detour the weather certainly helped as we had clear blue skies all the way round.