Ludlow to Haydock
As I set off at 7 am the sun peeked above the Ludlow hills. A flock of geese in perfect V formation lead the way. Most of the first 4 hours were spent winding through Shropshire’s country lanes in different pelotons depending upon whether or not I was able to keep up with the other cyclists particularly on the hills.
On top of the Shropshire hills, an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), I stopped to talk to a local farmer who pointed out the local hills and Shrewsbury in the distance. He enjoys the annual influx of RAB’ers.
A 100 yards later I stopped to say hello to Maddie, a long-legged Jack Russell Terrier who had recently given birth to 6 puppies. I resisted the urge to adopt one.
Down the steep hill into the vale and over the tranquil River Severn with views of The Wrekin, the summit of which is 680 million years old and of volcanic origin.
I skirted Telford and saw a signpost to Edgmond and Newport where I spent some of my childhood. This is the beauty of the RAB, to see new places as well as familiar ones through new eyes - even if mine are nearly 60 years old and I am wearing wraparound Oakley sunglasses. It was 45 miles to the first pit stop followed by another 30 miles. It was a relaxing ride at a steady pace of c.15 mph. There was still time to stop to watch the canal boats.
The highlight of my day was a 45 minute pit stop at The Bell Inn in Lower Peover, to have a pint of lemonade shandy and a catch up with Vicki and my parents. It’s all part of the journey, pausing to connect and enjoy.
Then the final 25 miles up and over the Manchester Ship Canal in light drizzle arriving at Haydock Racecourse at 5 pm. After 108 relaxing miles and 4,249 ft of hills I was greeted by thunder and lightning.