To celebrate the club reaching 50 lady members this past month and to join the 2015 Women’s Rapha 100 challenge, Bath CC decided to organise an exclusively female Club Run on the 26th July. After much precise planning and advertising the great day arrived but so did the wind and the rain!
The ladies convened in an orderly fashion under one of the canopies on Cleveland Bridge. Each secretly hoping, at the time, we would be the only one to turn up and we could just go home to bed. But no – a brave 11 made it under the shelter with only 2 of the ‘less fair sex’ who had turned up for the Sunday club run and Andy (Stewart) who dropped by on his way to marshalling another event.
After Liz had left her waterproof trousers in a bush on Cleveland Bridge, following a serious assault from the fashion police, we were ready for the obligatory photo. Photo taken by Andy Stewart who risked his life in the middle of the road to get the shot (but probably all he could do after refusing to pack Liz’s wet trousers in his backpack).
‘ The Brave Ladies (from left to right) Lisa, Fran, Amanda, Michelle, Aileen, Alison, Claire, Theresa, Fiona, Liz and Julia’
We got to somewhere between Bitton and Warmley when the first puncture struck. The rain was still pelting down and we were already thoroughly soaked. Co-leader Aileen was the first casualty turning for home with early onset hypothermia. Puncture fixed and onward to just past Pucklechurch before the second puncture struck and our second casualty Lisa who headed for home without being able to feel her feet.
Making progress we met up with Philippa close to Frampton Cotterell. Philippa had come properly dressed – but this time the fashion police kept quiet and looked on jealously at the layers of totally impermeable clothing – Liz felt it was very unfair!
After the loss of Aileen (who knew what she was doing) Philippa marshalled the crowd until just after Tortworth. There was another puncture at some stage but by then we had stopped counting!
We finally arrived at the Berkeley Tea Rooms. We parked our bikes and made ourselves ‘respectable’ – shook off the excess water, wrung out our gloves and wiped (or was it smeared?) the mud off our faces. We entered a lovely warm room, scanning quickly for the impermeable chairs without cushions! We still managed to drip all over the floor and the poor Manager had to activate the mop. The welcome was warm, the food and drink delicious and we stayed we don’t know how long!
We started off again – another puncture. We got going again, through Olbury on Severn past the power station and it continued to rain and rain and rain and there was another puncture and another and another. However, whatever we were given in our drinks at Berkeley, it worked, as spirits remained high as we headed home. Somewhere between Berkeley and the power station we found ‘an unwelcome steep hill‘. We stopped at the top to regroup opposite a house. Such a bedraggled and forlorn site we must have been that the owner of the house came out and offered us a cup of tea and shelter in her garage. ‘Thank you’ we said ‘but really we are having a lovely time’! We completed the 100km some time after 4 O’clock. We vow to do it again when the sun is shining and the roads clean and dry. The route as recommended by Brian would have been stunning!
Even with pelting rain and 7 punctures (absolutely not the norm!) we proved you can still have an amazing time on a bike!