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The Castle Challenge.

Old 04-26-09, 02:26 PM
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The Castle Challenge.

I do this ride for charity each year and it is a "Family" event. Not for me as I use it as my first organised ride of the year. On that family side- There are 2 rides in one. A straight out and back of 25 miles that is almost completely flat along roads that are well signposted to warn cars of the bike ride- and cars don't use this road much in any case. All the junctions are marshalled aswell on this section as you get a lot of youngsters out doing the first big ride of their life,. And I am talking 8 year old upwards and you can see one of the lads warming up in the car park before he sets off. And just to prove that I have one- The 50+ jersey with an older person inside it. And while we are on jerseys- Met this one at the one of the local country pads that abound in this area.

The country pad is Herstmonciex Castle which is on the 40 mile route. It is in fact a rebuilt castle and is just a "Pretty" one that is now owned by a Canadian Company that charge a fortune for you to look round it. Still- it does add a bit of glamour to this part of the ride. The route out to the castle took in the out section of the 25 miler and a slope up to the castle of about 8% for a mile or so. Can't call it a hill but it does give a few a bit of a shock the first time they tackle it as they have just done about 15 miles of flat and suddenly the road goes upwards. From the castle comes the nasty bit round the marshes. Always windy here and lots of 90 degree bends round the dykes so lots of slowing and getting back up to speed into a headwind. Doesn't last long but with the potholes you can lose a wheel down (12" deep and 3ft across) It does take it out of me. But not long before you join the return leg of the 25mile route and that is where you realise that those youngsters you saw at the start- Have made it at least to the halfway mark. Along with lots of BMXer's- Families with tag alongs and trailers And lots of tandems. Didn't get a pic- but I caught one tandem on the flat- Now that should not happen- but The stoker had her feet up on the bottom tube. Had to remark that "She's not pedalling" and that I also ride a Tandem. Turns out that the stoker suffers from Acute Fatigue Syndrome and this was the ideal way for them to get out in the country side and enjoy doing something together. Her pilot was enjoying the ride and he does reckon that since they have been "Riding" together- he has gained a lot of fitness. Apparantly- he used to be 180lbs of Flab- but he is now 200lbs of muscle- all in his legs and it looked it

So I finished the Ride and met one of the Regulars on this ride. Last year he was- with a mate- Batman and Robin- but he had to admit that this was a hard ride this year. The clothing made it just a bit warm and the skirt kept catching on the saddle. Finished the ride in 2hours 35 minutes so 5 minutes longer than my target. I must be getting old or something but have to admit that I have not been out as much as I like this year.

And finally the reward for once again dipping my hand into my pocket for a good cause. No pie here but it must be the best bacon sarnie- this side of The truckers stop on the A5 in birmingham.
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Old 04-26-09, 04:54 PM
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Looks like you all had a great day. Yes, that is a pretty castle...I wouldn't mind seeing that kind of scenery once in a while.

Super pics and report (as always).
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Old 04-26-09, 05:37 PM
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Looks like a great ride, but a sandwich is poor substitute for pie.
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Old 04-27-09, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by byte_speed View Post
Looks like a great ride, but a sandwich is poor substitute for pie.
After 40 miles with no Breakfast- A Sarnie this good is welcome.

But have to agree- no substitute for PIE.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:38 PM
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I would like to get over there some day to see some of the castles. It looks like you had a good day.That nun reminds me of some of the ones I had at school.
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Old 04-27-09, 11:24 PM
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Fun ride. Charity rides are almost always fun. There's little pressure to be fast.
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Old 04-27-09, 11:54 PM
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Geez a historic castle, nonetheless. Nothin' like that on my rides. Anyone want a picture of a cow?
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Old 04-28-09, 12:26 PM
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Now on those castles- Lots of them about in the south- but many were not "Working" castles. They were built too late to see any "Active" service but most seem to have an association with and Old family tie or were rebuilt on a previous "Castle".

Just like this pic but this was a "Norman" Castle from about 1100 that was built on a Roman castle dating from about 0050. But that is the trouble with the Normans- They never built anything to last as major renovation work is now required.
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