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Todays ride was to Ivinghoe Beacon.  The last time I rode up it was 50 years ago, I was 20 years old, a second category amateur rider and at the head of the peloton (it was called the ‘the bunch’ in those days) and the finish of the race was at the top of the hill.  It was so hard and my imagination has increased my fear of the climb ever since then.

Hertforshires Mont Ventoux

Hertforshires Mont Ventoux

Today I decided to break the hoodoo and take a bike ride down there and ride it.  Actually it didn’t seem so bad at all even after a 30 mile ride down and the prospect of my return route making a total ride of just under 70 miles.  Being apprehensive I took it quite easy and, unusually for me I also stopped to take some pictures on the way up for this blog.  I think I will have to have another go at some time in the future, (Not another 50 years though!!) and see how fast I can get up it when I attack it with more confidence.  Maybe riding in the Alps has scaled it down (see later in this post).

The climb actually starts back down in the village of Ivinghoe Aston, rises up to and along the B489 road a bit and then up the rest of the climb.  The total climb is just on 3 miles.

Looking Down..

Looking Down..

Looking Up..

After conquering the Beacon I rode on to Ringshall village and then along to Ashridge National Trust Cafe and the Bridgewater monument.  The monument is in memory of the Third Duke of Bridgewater (1736–1803) the father of inland navigation (canals!).  I just realised as I type that there could be a link to yesterdays post – A boat up a hill and a canal monument at the top of a hill ?? hmmmm

As I was riding up the approach road to the monument and cafe I noticed one of the parking areas had been taken over by a film crew as their base to park their trucks and all the accompanying stuff.  There is a lot of location filming goes on around the Chiltern Hills due to the quaintness of the villages and thatched, chiltern flint cottages, Midsomer Murders and The Vicar of Dibley being only two.  I don’t know what was being filmed in the area today though.

Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge.

Bridgewater Monument at Ashridge.

Monument with N.T. Cafe on the left, Ashridge

After a substantial cup of coffee and an equally substantial piece of fruity flapjack I was on my way again to complete a 69 mile round trip.  I did have another hold up but nothing to compare with Mondays.

As I was coming out of Toddington I turned down a little lane, ignoring the ‘Road Closed’ sign as I usually do when riding my bike.  A nice long twisting descent down a little lane ensued.  However at the bottom I came across a barrier, 3 men in Hi-Vis suits and a van.  They waved me down and said I had to dismount and walk across the little bridge they were repairing.  Apparently although the lane looked perfectly good and safe it was officially a ‘work site’ and one of the men had to escort me across the bridge.  Although it was officially a bridge the road surface was level, the water course was below road level.  Who am I to argue with Health & Safety?  I said well of course me and my bike are going to weigh less if I am not on it and walking beside it.  We laughed!

I was on my way again, having lost all my impetus from the downhill I then had to ride up the other side and then down again where I came across more road works.  This time a digger was right across the lane clearing some drainage ditches at the side.  As the banks at the side of the road were high, there was no way through so I just had to wait until it was convenient.  I probably waited about 10 minutes and was chatting with the other two people there, the workmen who were also watching the digger.  A three man job, one working, two watching.. and I made it three 🙂

I was in no hurry, as I hadn’t been all day prior to that either. it was too hot for hurrying as can be seen from the ride stats..

Click On Image For Ride Stats

Click On Image For Ride Stats

I was home in time to see the Tour de France mountain time trial.  It was taking place on roads a route I have ridden frequently when we have parked our caravan at a site right on the edge of Lac de Serre Poncon near to Embrun.  Starting in Embrun then up along the ridge overlooking the beautiful turquoise lake below.  Made that colour because of the limestone washed down from the mountains.

Its becoming like my Tour de France.  The other day they rode up Mont Ventoux, as did I in 2011, todays time trial route and then tomorrow they ride up Alpe d’Huez which I rode in 2010.  On Friday they ride up the Col du Tamie, Col de la Croix Fry and Grand Bornand which I rode up last year and on Saturday they ride up 2 climbs around Annecy, Semnoz and Leschaux which I rode up in 2011 and 2012.

Small world isn’t it !!

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