After some pretty foul weather for the last couple of weeks, today was dry and bright at times, if a little windy. Almost perfect weather for the Essex Castle bike ride, one of a series of organised rides by Bike Events (website).
I’d done the 50mile option at the Tour de Tendring ride a couple of months ago (link), and today there were options fro a 25mile route, a 50mile route, and a 75mile route. My companion and I decided 50mile was the sensible option!
The ride started at King’s Head Meadow near Colchester Castle, and around 1000 people took part from the look of the numbers on people’s backs. The routes headed out north west of Colchester, up through West Bergholt to Bures, where the 25milers headed back through Fordham. The 50milers and 75 milers headed up through Lamarsh to the outskirts of Sudbury and then down through Castle Hedingham for a refreshment stop at Sible Hedingham. The 75milers continued up to Stanbourne, down through Finchingfield and Saltaire Green and back up through Wethersfield to Sible Hedingham.
There were cyclists of all ages, all shapes and sizes (and I do mean all sizes!). Some excellent views were to be had.
The first half of the race was into a headwind a lot of the time, with a few hills, but the second half of the race had some tricky climbs. The final refuelling stop was The Thatcher’s Arms, and we treated ourself to a pint, my choice being the Micawber’s mild from just up the road at Sudbury.
The final stretch had two vicious hills – Fiddler’s Hill at Fordham, and Newbridge Hill running up from the bottom of Chitt’s Hill into West Bergholt. Fortunately, the final mile or two were downhill!
A great day out, with an opportunity to raise money for charity – in this case the Marie Curie charity. Kudos to those doing it for charity, such as the St. Neot’s Saddlers, decked out in spangly pink!