Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Day 4 - Cheddar Gorge & Wales - Bridgwater to Monmouth

From Bridgwater, the day seemed set to be fine and the Somerset Levels lull you into a false sense of security, but soon Cheddar looms on the horizon. I have been through the Cheddar Gorge many times before, but the speed on a bike really helps with appreciating the view. Not being enclosed in a metal box, the real sense of towering cliffs hits you cycling from the valley. A fabulous morning's cycling.

The Cheddar Gorge

Passing by Bristol, I am tempted to add a few miles to take in the Suspension Bridge, but decide to focus on the job in hand - a great decision. Within half an hour, the sky has changed shape and I am cycling through a swimming pool. After a change of clothes, it's still pouring, my distance computer has malfunctioned and I've lost the route. As I grew up in these parts, I'm pretty sure I can find my way to the Severn bridge and pick up the route from there.

And so I set off along the marked cycle routes, and end up ... at the wrong Severn Bridge!!! Nearly an hour of backtracking later and I'm on my way to Wales, having recently passed a "Welcome to England" sign going the wrong way. Continuing through Severn Beach and I reach the right bridge to cross the huge Severn estuary. And on the other side, avoiding the main routes towards Monmouth means taking the hills through the valleys, so I finally stumble into the campsite tired and cold after 9 hours cycling with no significant breaks. 80 miles in a day - and to think I was struggling with 40 a few weeks ago.

Chew Magna reservoir Pill, near Bristol Monmouth
Chew Magna reservoir Pill, near Bristol Monmouth

Some people have commented to Olivia on how well I am doing having only trained for 5 weeks. I guess a lot of it is down to personal attitude and belief in what you are doing and being focused. All good material for the goal-setting book I am planning.

Route planner from Google maps
Tour summary: 75 miles planned, 80 miles actual, 277 miles total so far

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