Mendips Muni

This being my first free weekend when it’s not chucked it down this year, a proper muni ride was called for. So I trekked up to Cheddar, to have a poke around the Mendip hills and have a look at the Gorge, which I’ve always wanted to see.

I was trying to find the route for the Cheddar Challenge, which Joe Marshall mentioned a while back; a race from Cheddar to the triangulation point on top of the Mendips and back 29 times. I was hoping I’d found the route down as I walked upwards; the path was so steep and rocky I don’t think I could have done it on a bike, let alone a unicycle, and definitely not 29 times! I passed a chap on a bike going downwards like a bat out of hell; if he’d have come off he wouldn’t have stopped bouncing until the bottom of the hill…

The top was flatter and much easier going, and included a very nice detour around a forest on the side of the hill. Here I met another chap on a bike who had done the Cheddar Challenge, and was planning to do it again this year, who confirmed that the route I’d walked up was indeed the way up… which was quite scary. Apparently they are trying to make it progressively harder each year, so I dread to think what the actual course will be like.

He asked whether I’d ever been to Ashton Court in Bristol… it turns out he was there when Sam (Redwelly) and I went for a ride there the day after BOB, back in December…

The path to the top of the Mendips from there was straight and only a shallow incline, so would have been a nice cruise were it not for the sogginess of the ground. It made it quite challenging trying to pick a good line and not plunging into deceptively deep, slimey quagmires… :slight_smile:

I took a different way back to get the gorge into my route; the way down varied between riding along paths that were marked on the map but didn’t seem to actually exist, and very fast, wide downhill trails which were great fun.

It eventually came out at the east end of the gorge; riding through back to Cheddar was amazing. It’s a pity there isn’t a path along the bottom; the road wasn’t particularly busy but it’s difficult to look at the cliffs on either side when trying to make sure you don’t wind up as roadside decoration.

The gorge was spectacular, very narrow with sheer cliffs on both sides for much of the length. At some points the gorge opened out a bit, with piles of rocks strewn about at the bottom; I made a mental note to return at some point with the trials uni!

Unfortunately I don’t know how exactly how far I went because the new batteries in the GPS appear to be duff. Meh. However far it was, that’s the longest ride I’ve been on in a long time, especially with having ridden very little over the winter. My legs are going to ache something chronic tomorrow… :slight_smile:

Phil