For my recent trip to Dorset I had prepared three rides of just over 30-35 miles in different directions and loaded them on my Garmin.
I only actually managed to do one of them as we seemed to be quite busy with trips to various places. Another governing factor was that because of the high temperatures mornings were the preferred time for me to ride as it was pretty hot after midday.
I randomly selected the route that took me in the direction of Dorchester and down to the coast near Abbotsbury a few miles west of Weymouth. I had planned the route without any terrain or profile information. I was aiming for quieter country roads as much as possible. It turned out to be quite hilly though with plenty of ups and downs. It always seemed to be one or the other with not much flat to be found if any.
I set off on the Colnago in the cool of the morning and headed north for a while before turning off onto a country lane in a north westerly direction towards Puddletown. (Dorset seems to be full of towns and villages with strange sounding names). I soon found myself following one of those huge tractors with big wheels and towing an enormous trailer and that travel at quite a good speed. As the road was so narrow he was frequently stopping in wider passing places to allow the occasional oncoming traffic to get by. He obviously knew I was there and very kindly pulled over to the left hand side of the road in a slightly wider part of the road and waved me past. I was very grateful and the sound of his engine gradually faded away as I pulled away from him passing oncoming traffic with no hindrance now.
I found my way across country to Dorchester and rode up the hill that is the High Street and escaped the hustle bustle at the top of the hill and struck out across country again towards Martinstown, a quaint little village. There followed more hills and valleys until I started the climb up by Blackdown towards the Thomas Hardy Monument, the classic west country author.
It was quite some climb that went on and on via three stages, the last two of which contained sections that my Garmin told me were 15%+. I was eventually on the smallest chainring (34 teeth) and biggest rear sprocket (28 teeth) and could only just turn it over but I was determined not to dismount and eventually found myself at the top with a magnificent view to the not too distant coastline.
The reward for every climb is the following descent or is it that the price to pay for every descent is the following climb? What goes up comes down and vice versa.
I eventually emerged on the main coast road towards Weymouth just before Abbotsbury and instead of heading towards the ‘Swannery’I carried on along the more rolling kind of up and down road towards Weymouth.
At Chickerell just before Weymouth I took a detour to the left to miss a lot of the town and wound around the narrow country roads on the outskirts of the town as much as possible. I emerged at the eastern side of Weymouth on the seafront and I was on the homeward stretch by then. One more long climb out of town and soon I was beginning to see Crossways mentioned on signposts. ’Home’ was not far away now and it was also considerably warmer by now and I was beginning to feel a bit over dressed. I very soon arrived back at the caravan after the hardest 37 miles I have ridden for a long time, but very rewarding at the same time.