Originally the weather forecast said dry and sunny and the plan had been a road trip to the Forest of Dean. the forecast then changed to drizzle so i wasn't keen on the 1.5hr drive to ride around in the wet so i suggested a bit of a mad ride and route to Henley to Henley ice cream.
Dan and Vegan Ian were mad enough to sign up for the ride and we all paced (read suffered) up the steep slopes of weatheroak hill, always a shock to the system at the very start of a ride and on towards Earlswood resevoir and the lanes to Hockley Heath where we joined the grand union canal and made good progress to Kingswood junction and the turn for the North Stratford canal. it was this stretch of towpath that quickly got muddy, traction was difficult and sections were a real slog. funnily enough this bit came soon after the guys said how good the route was.
just before the end of the canal section we stopped to let some walkers past on a bridge and this act of politeness somehow set off Vegan Ian's garmin emergency alarm! it wailed away and the screen informed him a notification of his accident had been sent to all his designated contacts on his phone! thankfully no one gives a shit about Ian and the Tracy boys and International Rescue didn't appear over head in thunderbird 2 or surfaced from the canal in thinderbird 4 and we carried on.
Henley was it's usual sleepy Sunday self with only a few spots for a coffee open for business and we made full use of the outside chairs in the weak sun.
a route back through Tanworth and Beoley made sure we got a decent amount of climbing in before heading home.
My longest ride of the year so far and i was feeling the pace by the end. it was a good route though.