There was much less wind today and it was bit warmer. It was quite overcast but no rain. 70 miles and about 3,400′ of ascent. It felt like a rest day after the headwinds and hills of the first two days.
Our overnight accommodation at Tiverton Parkway Travel Lodge worked very well and we were both well rested and ready to leave at 0700. We had arranged to meet my daughter Kathryn and her boyfriend, also called Steve, off the train from Bristol, at Taunton at 0820.
We crossed the border into Somerset and whizzed along at an easy pace taking the A38 which was very quiet at this time on a Sunday morning.
I suppose the route undulated a little but from our perspective it was flat and we completed the 16 miles to Taunton in just over an hour.
The original plan was to keep on the A38 to Highbridge but as we were feeling surprisingly OK after the first 2 days, we decided to take a more interesting route across the Somerset Levels. LeJog Steve knows this area well and he led us on a delightful – dare I say – flat course. Boyfriend Steve on his racing bike made his outing worthwhile by sprinting ahead occasionally.
We caught up with him as he was helping another cyclist whose head set had come loose. Adrian lives locally and was out on his fixie. I can see the attraction of a fixie on the levels. Adrian was able to accompany us to a really good cafe called Sweets where we had breakfast. Just after we arrived lots of local cyclists turned up for a pit stop.
We rolled on to Wedmore where we picked up our original route. The first proper hill of the day followed taking us over the Mendips to Shipham. Our route went through Congresbury and then on some delightful lanes before rejoining the busy A370 until Flax Bourton when we went up Ashton Hill and on to Aston Court.
After riding on a gravelly road my rear tyre punctured.
We fixed this and carried on out under the impressive archway of Ashton Court and across the Clifton Suspension Bridge. As we were going along Ladies Mile on the Downs my rear tyre exploded with a loud bang. I am not sure why this happened to a fairly new Schwalabe Marathon tyre but, if it had to happen, we were in a good spot. It was only 500m from the nearest bike shop. So I bought a new, new tyre and 3 new tubes – to be on the safe side.
We have also decided that a folding tyre will be a useful addition to our armoury before we get to the remoter parts of our journey.
It was only another mile to Kathryn’s flat where we are staying tonight. Kathryn knows how to feed endurance athletes – being one herself. So no milk and bananas for us – double chocolate cheesecake was our recovery food!
We are much less tired after the 70 mile ride today. Having a few miles less, half the ascent and light winds made it feel like a gentle day.
Tomorrow we are off across the Severn Bridge then on up the Wye Valley to Monmouth and on to Kington where we will stay the night in the Youth Hostel.
The GPX file for today can be found here.