DAY 1 – Hereford and Back
The day has finally arrived. The plan was to meet at “our house” about 1pm and have a short local ride before returning around 4pm. Route selected, loaded onto Garmin and off we go! “Oh wait a minute, my garmin is not giving directions” wailed Pugwash. “Never mind” said Heather “I have it on mine and it’s this way” as we turned left onto a gentle climb. No sooner than we’d set off a loud “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP” was heard coming from our car park. “That sounds like my car” thought Pugwash. “I’ll head back and check” while the rest continued the climb. “We’ll wait for you at the top” they all assured me.
After regrouping we soon realised that we were on the correct route but heading in the opposite direction as the Garmin kept telling us to “make u-turn”. “Never mind” we thought “we’ll just continue in the opposite direction”. The undulating terrain continued as we rode along quiet single track country roads. The downside was that there was little opportunity to gain speed heading downhill due to state of the road surface, blind bends and virtually no passing places.
On reaching Hoarwithy we crossed the river Wye and were immediately faced with our first big climb of the day up to Little Dewchurch. A 2.4km hill averaging 5% but with a tough kick to the first 0.6km hitting 15% before easing to 7-8%. After recovering from that effort, Neil assured us that it would be “All downhill into Hereford”. “I’ve looked at the map” he added. He was nearly right, except for one final little climb peaking at around 8%.
Arriving into Hereford we tried to find the town centre and a suitable cafe to have lunch. Negotiating our way through the busy traffic proved somewhat difficult with some decent cycle paths spoiled when coming to a sudden end with no obvious way to go next. With the help of one local we found out way to the De Koffie Pot cafe where we ordered our drinks via an phone app. As we waited and waited with nothing appearing at the table, it was time to head inside to see if they had received our order. When eventually our drinks arrived, the owner came out to apologise for the delay and offered us a free cake 🍰each as compensation. Well, how could we refuse. Mark, having already eyed up the goodies on offer opted for the Lemon Drizzle cake. “That sounds nice” we all decided except for Heather. “We’ll have yours” suggested Neil, so the extra portion was shared out, even if you didn’t want it!
Shortly after we set off for the return journey, we hit another problem. The trouble with following routes in the reverse direction is that it doesn’t account for one-way streets. Thus we ended up pushing/scooting along the pavement against the flow of traffic. “You cyclists should be on the road!” shouted one irate woman as we tried to find our way out of town.
Eventually we escaped the melee heading downhill to Hampton Bishop and Mordiford. The “fun” was soon over as we hit the first of the climbs on the way home. Haugh Wood Hill climb averages 6.8% over 2km hitting 21% briefly near the bottom and frequently touching 15%. This was quickly followed by another similar but shorter climb up Nurdens. The final 0.2km kick up near the end averaged 15%.
The sight of our house at the end of a tough ride was very welcome as was the beer that greeted our arrival. The general consensus seemed to be that we did want to return to Hereford.