Past Ride

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Sat Jun 16th 2018
CUK Oxfordshire 125 miles - Follow the Thames 3*
Leader:
Robin Tucker
Start Time:
8:00 am
Start Location:
Wallingford Market Place
Description:
Follow the Thames from its source all the way to Wallingford. At 125 miles 200km, this is a great way to stretch beyond the regular Century distance and set a new benchmark.

We will ride from Wallingford, upriver through Abingdon, Oxford, Eynsham (25 miles/coffee) and Lechlade (50 miles/lunch) to the source of the Thames near Cirencester.  Ideally, we'll have time stroll the few hundred metres of footpath off the road to the official source - at about our 75 mile point.

Then, after taking some more refreshments in Kemble or nearby we'll head East towards the Ridgeway and roughly follow the spring line.  We'll stop for a meal at the Fox & Hounds at Uffington before returning to Wallingford.  In theory it's all downhill - in practice, there may be a few small undulations, but the route overall is quite flat.

We'll stop every 25 miles for refreshment and ride at a moderate pace, similar to the Century rides. So this will be a long day - 10pm even if everything goes exactly to plan.  The late finish is also why it's on a Saturday. We will finish in the dark so bring lights and money for food & drink.

Please let me know you are coming so I can book the main food stops for the right number of people.

NOTE it is the day of Wallingford Carnival. Please do not park in Wallingford on the carnival route: http://www.wallingfordcarnival.org.uk/about.html
Report:
The Follow the Thames 125-mile ride in June was a strange beast. With 9 of us riding, I’d booked lunch and dinner venues, and had a schedule for us to follow. We started at 8am in Wallingford and the first section aimed to follow the Thames as closely as possible, including riverside paths in Abingdon and Oxford. This inevitably slowed us down a bit and we were a bit later than planned to our first coffee stop in Eynsham.

From there the time pressure seemed to be on us, or on me, and I was conscious of driving the group on at ‘a fair old pace’ for most of the day – maybe what you would think of as a 3* pace for a 50-mile ride, rather than a typical Century pace. I’m glad to say that the group was in very good shape and responded well. We were helped by the largely flat route and various helpers on the front.

That gave us time for some sightseeing to see ‘Old Father Thames’ (a statue just outside Lechlade), and a half-mile walk to see the official (but very dry) source of the Thames near Kemble. The railway café at Kemble turned out not to be open so we rode at pace to the Cotswold Water Park café, catching it just before it closed, but just after it stopped serving hot drinks. That made a proper break and a hot dinner at the 100-mile point in the Fox and Hounds at Uffington even more welcome. After that, the final 25 miles to Wallingford, arriving just before 10pm, weren’t too bad.

The ride was hard work, but we all felt good for having kept up such a pace. Picking the target had constrained the route, so we sometimes were on busier roads then you would otherwise choose. But overall it was a ride we’ll all remember whether it was the peak of our 2018 or just ‘training’ for the next one…
(the 200 mile County Boundary ride in July).
Distance:
203.26 km (126.30 mi)
Ride Details:
http://cyclingukoxfordshire.org/rides-and-events/follow-the-thames-125-mile-ride/
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Ride Filter
Start Locations
WMP
Wantage Market Place
OMH
Old Mill Hall, Grove
Categories
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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