After Jan and I had a brilliant Somerset Sportive from Street a couple of years ago we decided to enter another one, this time organised by Beyond Events and leaving from Glastonbury Football Club. The date had been rearranged and it was now taking place on Saturday 4th September, the day before the Tour of Britain, just 2 days before my trip to Wales and a few days before Jan is to enter a half ironman in Holland. All of the above made a difference to the weekend.
We had had ‘conversations’ with both Beyond Events and Glastonbury Football Club regarding whether we could park our vans in the football club car park. Beyond Events said No, the football club said Yes and seeing as it is their club they said they had the upper hand on the decision. Jan arrived at the club, gates open and all ok. I arrived a short time after Jan and we set off in my van to have something to eat at Brewers Fayre. We ordered and after quite a wait a girl who seriously needs some training plonked a plate of food down with the word ‘Chicken’ attached. No sign of the other order nor was this what we had ordered. We eventually attracted the attention of someone else and after getting the correct order and extra sweet potato fries and salad all was good. We then realised that we could have had 25% off for being NHS staff. Luckily I was able to negotiate a free pudding for us both. I think they were glad to see the back of us.
We arrived back at the football club only to find the gates CLOSED with Jan’s van locked inside. My only thought was that Jan and I would sleep outside the club in my van. But No! Jan says I’ll climb over the fence. Hopefully I will be able to add a photo of the fence but if not it is a high Security fence with very large spikes on the top. Amazingly, to our luck, the catering man who had just parked up, and couldn’t quite believe the plan that we had, pulled a set of steps from his van. This enabled Jan to climb onto one of the fence posts but the drop down was too far to jump. ( I still can’t believe I’m recalling this). The catering man dropped a plastic chair over the other side and we manoeuvred this in to place but that was still too risky. It was then suggested that she move along a bit and put her feet into where the gate openings were and with a blanket draped over the spikes this was much better. Jan put her feet in the gaps and being the super woman that she is managed to climb down to reach the chair. Relief that she was all in one piece doesn’t really express it. The catering man certainly won’t forget this in a hurry either.
At 6.00am on the dot the lady from the football club comes and opens the gates with a smile and a chat to the catering man. I’m just about to drive in when the Beyond Events man arrives asking if ‘he can help me’. I explain the situation and that I am just going to use the facilities. He quite bluntly tells me that we will have to leave immediately after. Shortly after he made another point of shouting loudly at us that we had to leave. I do find that you can get the same message across but in a much more pleasant manner. We did eventually leave the club and made our way to the parking field which didn’t open until 7.00am.
Now for the ride. After all of the previous evenings adventures and both of us having things we needed to get back for we decided to drop down from the 100 mile to the 67 mile route and just have a lovely day out. It was a lovely day too with not a hill in sight for the first 15 miles, unheard of at home and perfect weather. The feed stations were well placed at 23 miles and 49 miles. The route took us down quiet lanes and picturesque villages, very little traffic and only a small amount of main road. We met some really nice people on the way and chatted when we stopped for refreshments. Cheddar Gorge came at mile 52 and was just the same as I remember it from last time so no surprises there. I settled in to climb the steep section at the start of the climb and after not long after Jan came past and that was the last I saw of her until the top. I kept thinking that she would be just round the next bend but no she flew up. There was then a hair raising very narrow downhill section and with a couple of undulations we were back on the flat heading back to Glastonbury. We received a very nice medal, buff and a packet of energy sweets.
We are now confident that we can organise a super day out for a Wheelers away weekend next year. I promise that we won’t eat at the Brewers Fayre nor stay at Glastonbury Football Club.
Just short of 70 miles for the ride.
Kath and Jan.