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Today was too nice not to go out for a bike ride, I wanted to do around 80km (50miles).   Seeking inspiration I looked through the various routes I have created in Garmin Connect, they call them courses though.  I elected to go on this wide rural loop around the outside of Milton Keynes.  I knew the route so there was no need to load the route on my Garmin, just get it fixed in my head off I go.

Clothing wise it was a tough choice, the temperature when I started was around 10c but expected to get up to around 17c later.  I decided on short sleeves with arm warmers that I could take off later and 3/4 length bib tights, still intent on keeping my knees warm.

The first stretch was into the south west wind so I was going to have a head wind for almost the first half of the ride.  Its quite an undulating route though so it wasn’t going to be easy anyway.  I set off on the familiar route to Stony Stratford, the venue for club ride starts, this time I took the country route option instead of the easier but not so nice route through Newport Pagnell.

At Stony Stratford I veered toward a southerly direction so still with a headwind.  After I reached Stewkley I turned left and headed east, a tail wind at last.  It was then that I came across this field of rape in full flower, the first big block of yellow I have seen this year.

Panoramic view, its not really a corner just the effect of the camera  rotating

Panoramic view, its not really a corner just the effect of the camera rotating

Rape Seed Field

Rape Seed Fields

The road ahead and you can see another field of yellow away in the distance

There is a lot of rape grown around here so it is quite prolific for a month or so.  Its then followed by the blue of Linseed although that isn’t quite so prolific in these parts.  Then even later there are big splashes of red around the countryside from the wild poppies.

After leaving the fields behind I carried on down into the valley to The Three Locks pub where I crossed the canal over the old bridge from where I took these photos.

This canal side  pub is called 'The Three Locks', but I count more.. ?

This canal side pub is called ‘The Three Locks’, but I count more.. ?

Closer view of The Three Locks

Closer view of The Three Locks

After this the going gets tough as its straight into a big hill up to Great and Little Brickhill.  I had barely started when a cyclist came past me when i was about 200 meters into the climb on a 10% gradient.  he came past so fast that his tyres were making that ‘whooshing’ sound you get ties are pumped to high pressure and going very fast.  I reckon he must have been going at least 30kph (19 mph’ish) he was soon out of sight as I wound my way up the hill.  I think he might have been after a Strava personal best for the climb.  There is a level bit before you get to Great Brickhill then its up again, down a bit and then up some more to Little Brickhill.

After passing the corner of Woburn Golf Club there is a long descent of a mile or so down into the town of Woburn.  On leaving the town a cattle grid is crossed as the road passes through some big wrought iron gates into the ground of Woburn Abbey, the family home of the Duke of Bedford.  After passing through the trees you come out into the parkland where I espied these handsome fellows with their new antlers.

Deer roaming in Woburn Abbey park, open to the road that runs through the estate, motorists beware !!

Deer roaming in Woburn Abbey park, open to the road that runs through the estate, motorists beware !!


20140409-IMG_1171I was into the last third of my ride now with a mostly following wind as I headed back up across country to home.  The ride was a shade over the 80km but I was still feeling pretty good anyway.  Ride details can be found here if you are interested