We awarded two prizes yesterday at dinner. The first was the ‘Illuminated Glasses of Awesomness’ a special award given to those who are showing true determination. Speed Rebel and Sarah were both nominated by people in the group as they are digging deep and really impressing every one with the effort they are putting in. Well done both, Sarah was awarded the trophy…
Also awarded was the nightly Outil D’Or award. It was a busy day with lots of people being nominated however George won it for breaking his chain half a mile from the hotel and not knowing the DA number to call for help!
After a quick pray at our improvised shrine to Jenny Agutter we set off to Cheddar Gorge.
The first ten or fifteen miles were on the A38 which is a horrid road to cycle on unfortunately the DA routes date from when people did not ride with a GPS so had to be kept simple. Not great, as it involved lives riding some very busy roads.
A group of us therefore departed from the approved route and went up Cheddar Gorge and crossed the Avon via Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. The route we took is below.
Cheddar Gorge is a fabulous limestone gorge in the Mendips and where the oldest complete skeleton (estimated 9000 years old) was found in 1903. Other remains found are up to 12,000 years old.
It’s big for cheese there, sadly I can’t buy some to take home! Cheddar Gorge is of course most famous for having a game named after it on I’m sorry I haven’t a clue on Radio Four. It’s also named as the second best natural wonder in the uk.
We rode to Cheddar village quite swiftly – much more pleasant once we left the main road and we had a fabulous tailwind for most of the way. After Dartmoor the route was delightfully flat and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
We had the usual fabulous lunch provided by DA early and we took the opportunity to have a look in the shops of downtown Cheddar. Ten minutes later we were back! Cheddar is pretty small!
The cycle up the gorge looked steep but for those of us who have ridden Dartmoor we laughed at the gradient…the gorge is fabulous though – truly spectacular and definitely lived up to its reputation, truly it’s stunning, my pictures do not do it justice.
Sticking to our non sanctioned unofficial route we pressed on through country lanes with occasional spectacular views of the Avon estuary, a gorgeous days cycling.
We hit a second Century milestone – that’s 20% of the overall distance covered already along with the two hardest days done. Mind you there are some long days ahead (tomorrow is over a hundred miles and day eleven look brutal!)
Eventually we hit Bristol and the Clifton suspension bridge. The Clifton bridge is an icon and was great to pass over, the views up and down the Avon are amazing.
As the son of a structural engineer and a builder at heart bridges hold a special fascination for me.
The chains roll independently over the top of the bridge towers as the load crosses the bridge, apparently the chains came from the Hungerford bridge in London. The whole thing is grade one listed and rightly so.
In 1885 Sarah Anne Henley who had just been jolted jumped from the bridge, however her attempt at suicide failed. Her crinoline skirts billowed out like a parachute and moved her away from the water and into the mud on the banks. She survived into her eighties.
Fun fact – a cabbie refused to take her to hospital because he’d just had his cab cleaned – somethings never change!
Finally crossing Bristol I was very tired! Think yesterday started to catch up with me… Bristol is very hilly and we were really struggling at the end of the day as we crossed into Gloucestershire.
Long day planned tomorrow!
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