So after much planning it was finally upon us, Shifnal Cycling Society's inaugural Tour de Shropshire. It was an idea I'd had for a while, a two day tour of some of the best roads the county has to offer. From the rolling hills of the southern part of the county, to the fast and flat north. A ride to showcase the beauty of road cycling in this most under rated part of England.
After a late drop out due to injury, four of us mustered at HQ for the mandatatory pre ride faffage, Johhny 'Rocket' Saunders, Mr Sims, and our one man lead out train, Martyn. Oh and of course, me. I'd even remembered to put my shorts on outside in!
Pre ride espresso(see Rule #56) consumed, it was time to get moving.
Day 1 - Shifnal to Oswestry
Although our destination was Oswestry on the welsh border, our plan was to take the scenic route. Heading for Ludlow, Shropshire's highest peak, Brown Clee Hill, was our initial target. Once we'd dragged ourselves up its eastern flank, we descended towards Ludlow, before turning east and heading for our Lunchtime desination of Craven Arms.
We had lunch in The Craven Arms, and it was soon time to get moving again. Unfortuneately our departure was much to the disappointment of the hen do that had arrived just as we were preparing to leave. It's a good job that Mart had saved the white shorts for day 2!
From Craven Arms we headed up towards Pontesbury, before the long run off the hills and towards our destination for Day 1, The Premier Inn in Oswestry. It was time for Beer. An excellent meal followed, before it was time for some rest.
Full stats, courtesy of Garmin Connect below. Not too shabby all things considered.
Day 2 - Oswestry to Shifnal
After breakfast it was time to say goodbye to Oswestry, and we set off along the northern border of Shropshire.
The fast flat roads were too much for Rocket to resist and before long we were strung out struggling to hold his wheel. Ellesmere and Wem passed in a flash, and after a quick stop in Stanton we were back heading back towards the hard earned, and very welcoming Enville Ale in the White Hart.
A further impromtu stop in Edgmond allowed Johhny to adminster some physio to Mr Sims. Although he soon stopped when he realised he's layed on top of his beloved new iPhone 4S!
Lilleshall and then Sheriffhales came and went, and after just a little over 3 hours riding time we arrived at the 'club house' - The White Hart. I don't think the Envill Ale has ever tasted so nice. The perfect ending to a fantastic weekend's cycling.
Stats below. As you can see, the flatter terrain of day 2 made for a significantly quicker ride.
The planning paid off, and the Tour de Shropshire was a resounding success. Everything i'd hoped for, and more.
We're planning on venturing out of the county for our next 'tour'. I'm already working on a suitable route.
Lastly, a big thanks to our other halfs, without whom this event wouldn't have been possible!