Today was tougher than I had expected. Partly because a couple of hills were higher than I had anticipated and partly because of a two-hour downpour in the middle of the day. Still, given the weather forecast, I was lucky to escape with just those two, soaking, hours - plus some lighter showers later on.
I was woken by thunder and lightening and a downpour which happily ended before I left Wheddon Cross at 8.28. There was some rain on the way east across Exmoor but it was then dry for the descent to Elworthy and the picturesque road going south parallel with the Quantocks to the east. Having learnt my lesson yesterday, I attempted no more 'shortcuts', and used the CTC route up from Bishops Lydeard over the Quantocks. It was as I struggled up this long hill that the serious rain began, continuing all the way through Bridgewater and a fair way north. It was a good chance to try my Goretex waterproofs and spats (shoe covers), which all did their job well.
After Bridgewater there was some flat, featureless countryside, but it was hard to make fast progress because of the rain and bulky clothing. It eventually stopped around 1.25 and I was able to shed all the waterproofs. So much easier to cycle without them.
Eventually reached Cheddar and started up the famous Gorge - it seemed to take forever though in fact it was about 45 minutes to the top of the Mendip Hills above the Gorge - over 800ft high. Then another steep run down the other side and along a bit to Chew Magna where I asked an estate agent the best route to Bristol. Over the Dundry hill seemed most straightforward, "not very high," she said. She was obviously not a cyclist! That final hill, reaching about 700 ft, almost finished me off, but eventually I was freewheeling down into Bristol, and made it to my friend Phoebe's place at 6pm.
Total miles: 73. If you want more statistics, click here.