On Sunday 7th July, which was a very warm day, I did my second mini challenge in the run up to Death Valley. This was a 77 mile route from Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham to Oxpens Meadows in Oxford. There were 400 other people on this ride, which started at 7.15am in the morning.
It was 7.50am before I was ready to start and the route ran south out of Birmingham via Walkers Heath before heading towards Earlswood, Lapworth and Shrewley. After crossing the M40 (the only motorway we would see on the trip), we headed across country to Wellesbourne, Lower Brailles, Hook Norton and Enslow before making a north-easterly approach into Oxford. The traffic in Oxford was awful, but then it was almost 2:30pm before I got there.
The event was organised by Bike Events who did a sterling job in signposting the ride.
In the end, it was 79 miles as recorded by Strava, but the extra couple of miles didn't matter - it was absolutely valuable training for November. The only downside was one of the hills which I couldn't get up without getting off my bike. Everytime this happens I worry about the 5% for 25 miles climb in Death Valley. Fortunately the bike I'll use there will have some lower gears, but it's still concerning.
With less than 4 months to go, I realise there is still time to do more, so I plan on adding a couple of extra organised rides to my schedule for September and October (perhaps Cannock Chase or the Brecon Beacons). Please continue to support the sponsorship with the link on the right hand side of the page - I've been touched by the generosity so far, but still have £845 to go!
Some stats about the ride are below. The time denotes moving time only. I took 6 hours 38 minutes including stops. The average temperature was 81F (27C).