Instead of spending saturday pretending to revise and watching the Giro d’italia on Eurosport instead, I took up the invitation to go ride on the mendips. Rather than the normal Cycling club crew, this group was a lot more Biology oriented and the atmosphere was more ‘Eat cake’ than ‘Heart rate.’ Trouble was, I was the only person to bring cake, and seeing as the ride had taken priority over dinner it meant that Sarah was starving before we had even got to the top of the first climb!
Its fun riding with new people, and fun riding with people who are only just getting into Mountain Biking. I did a quick 30 seconds of ‘how to ride down a hill safely’ and after that Jamie the local boy showed us around a 2 hour loop of The Mendips and Cheddar Gorge.
I’m not sure whether its time of the year, or the huge ash cloud which is supposedly sitting over the UK right now, but the sunsets recently have been phenominal. The light would have been a photographers dream, unfortunately even a new camera can only do so much for my limited photo taking ability. It helps when you have a subject like Sarah giving out some pretty awesome facial expressions!
Climbing up onto Beacon Batch gave a great view over the Bristol channel, Bristol itself, Bath and the coast of South wales. (standard ‘standing on top of the hill’ photo below)
From the top we managed to take a bit of a wrong turn, and thus ensued a good 5 minutes of bog trotting. I found it quite enjoyable to see how far you could pedal through a bog before going over the handlebars, however in hindsight perhaps the singletrack would have been a better option! After that we headed down into the woods for a really cracking singletrack descent; a footpath ran almost parallel to the Bridleway, so I made everyone follow me down a really fun steep and twisty path that landed us pretty much in Cheddar. was pretty relieved when everyone got to the bottom still smiling; I’m sure Matt, Katie and Jamie will get bitten by the mountain bike bug and never look back!
After that followed the climb back out of Cheddar to the top. Jamie chose a really cool climb that started off on grass before finishing with a good 5 minutes of loose rocks to pick your way up through. Nice challenge to go with the workout… again Sarah deciding that the camera needed more than a smile
The sunset at the top was worth doing the climb 10 times.
By the time we got back to the car, everyone was severly under nourished. A Chip shop stop was called, but to my (and Jamies) dismay there wasn’t a single chip shop for the entire 40 minute drive home! What has England come to?! Then when we got into Bath, our first chip choice was closed, and we ended up getting chips and burgers from a place in Bath called ‘American Hamburgers’… How very british!
All in, it was a pretty good way to spend a Saturday night. Looking forward to spending a little bit more time exploring the Mendips in the future.