DAY 1: We all depart from the Memorial Stadium in Bristol early on Saturday morning and cycle south east out of the City through the suburbs, avoiding the major routes. Soon we are in open countryside following quiet roads.
The back roads lead us through a series of pretty villages, including Bitton and Kelston, that make up the south-westerly tip of the Cotswolds. Bath is within our sights. We pick up the River Avon and, with a couple of hills already under our belts, we head into this historic city. With 20 miles already completed, the Recreation Ground is a good point to re-fuel.
We leave the Rugby Club and head north out of the city. We head towards the picturesque village of Batheaston and pick up the ancient Fosse Way. The 100 kilometre riders leave us now as we reach the outskirts of Sherston. The gradient increases as we cross the county boundary into Gloucestershire, but the descents make the climbs worthwhile!
We stop for another quick refreshment break in Tetbury – the showcase Cotswold town. The next section sees the biggest hills of our challenge. Crossing the Cotswold Way, we head into Gloucester; beautiful views accompany us due to the height we have climbed to! Once in the city, we make for the Kingsholm Stadium – our second Rugby Club stop – where a warm welcome and lunch awaits us.
We are now on our final leg back to Bristol, and we steer a course parallel to the M5, which crosses Brunel’s Railway several times. With the sense that it’s downhill all the way we feel rejuvenated and triumphant as we approach the outskirts of Bristol. We reach Filton and take the applause as we return to the Memorial Stadium, where we fully celebrate our fine achievements.