This year fourteen revellers made the trip to Crudwell (nr Malmesbury) to enjoy a weekend of carefully blended training and socialising.
These are always challenging but inclusive weekends for members and ‘significant others’ to get to spend some time together. If you have ever thought about joining in, but not quite done it yet, then read on and get a flavour of how these weekends provide a fun, friendly & rewarding contrast to the weekly routine.
The group arrived with heavy baggage and light bikes at the Best Western hotel in Crudwell; a tiny village boasting 2 pubs and 2 hotels (good research, Colin!). The remote setting had been preceded by a misleading route that passed by the Cotswold Airfield just a mile or so prior to arrival. A field full of decommissioned aircraft, not quite a parallel for the aviation graveyards in the Mojave desert, but nevertheless a surprising vista.
Shortly after arrival, the group congregated in the Potting Shed Pub to sample the local ales and a last supper.
A hearty breakfast for all except our Chairman, who is still awaiting his order of “quivering” poached eggs. Then straight to the Cotswolds water park, a series of some 130 gravel pits close to Cirencester. We picked just one, the romantically titled “Lake 34”, which is home to the popular 113 series triathlons held throughout the summer www.113events.com
Many MVH athletes have previously raced in and around the lake in recent years, a firm favourite, especially for half distance PB hunters!
The swimming was tremendous. No fuss. Pay £5 and jump in. A 500 metre circuit around huge race buoys for half the group. The other half headed out around a less obvious but “legitimate” 1500m course close to the lake’s perimeter. Clear water and a rare opportunity to swim in a large lake in relative isolation for those on the perimeter route. Not quite wild swimming in the lakes/lochs of the north, but a really rewarding compromise.
Next up – BIKE TIME!
Cycling directly out of the lake grounds and a few miles off to Cirencester to weave through the one-way system and out the other side on to quiet country lanes. The route was around 60 miles and undulating. Nothing unbearable but some very steep sections of climbing to test the legs! Some of the villages really are the quintessential, chocolate box images you get on the post cards. Passing through Bourton on the Water, the tourist paparazzi were frenetic in their bid to capture an image of the peloton screaming through (“can we stop for an ice-cream”, “Is that the last hill”, “are we nearly there yet” etc…).
Slaughter provided the picturesque setting for lunch by the water. Another stunning village and a daredevil approach by the waters edge! Athletes at their best…..eating and drinking in the sunshine!
Fantastic ride planned out by Jonathon and enjoyed by all. Colin was seen to “provide a wheel” to one fuel-deprived athlete….. a sight unseen before and since! Great teamwork.
Run for Some
Yours truly “planned” a short run loop to be enjoyed by just three hardy souls! As promised it was “almost exactly 5km”…….to the middle of the run route!
5 miles later, and having taken in a portion of the Fosse Way Roman road, we returned from our brick effort with just enough time for a shower before the pub. My argument for this innocent miscalculation being that the Romans may have had Centurions, but to my knowledge, were not marching in metric.
The social meet began in the Potting Shed once more and then back to the hotel for food and drinks until the heavy eyelids and whisky sent us all off to bed. A great night with fantastic people.
Another bike ride of 37 miles taking in a 2 mile climb of some note. Utterly brilliant route and terrain which left everyone gasping for one last pub stop before home.
Another year to wait to do it all again but everyone is hoping for a bigger group of keen members to join in the fun and hard work next time. These weekends always include challenges for everyone but are intended to be inclusive and will always have some flexibility for the strength and ability of those taking part.
Any suggestions for next year!?!?