Ffion woke at 4:30, after many failed attempts for more sleep, Emyr & I embraced the early morning heading for breakfast just before 7.
Breakfast eaten, bikes packed we rolled out of Winchester not really knowing what the day would bring, hoping to make Amberley, 46 miles away in time for dinner at 6pm. After an exciting morning Ffion was asleep before we left the car park…
Leaving Winchester behind we climbed up Cheesefoot head and then onto Beacon hill, it was slow going mainly because of all the uphill, but there were a few faffing stops too! Going ahead of Emyr down Beacon Hill to get a good shot of him riding down the inevitable happened and he got a puncture. Worm inserted and a quick nappy change and we were back on the road.
We had been planning to go round Old Winchester Hill as the climb up is steep and rutted, however the Meon Valley trail is such a lovely bit of singletrack we decided to give it a go. Old Winchester Hill conquered we continued to Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QE). Looking out over the views from the top of Butser Hill over the rolling hills of the downs I was very impressed with what we had achieved so far, however we still had along way to go!
We stopped at QE for a brief refuel for us & a run around for Ffion leaving QE with our sights set on the Cadence Cafe at Cocking for lunch. As the miles ticked by, we couldn’t believe how amazing our tiny human was being, but a 4:30 wake up and random morning snoozes had really thrown her rhythm and she became a slightly disgruntled toddler as we edged closer to the cafe stop. Luckily Ffion’s favourite thing is running and so on stopping Ffion ran from inside to outside of the cafe for the duration of our visit with both Emyr and I taking a bite of food before trying to heard our little whirlwind. As you can imagine getting back in the trailer was not a popular choice! Thanks to Nanny for the sticker book which saved the day!
Cocking hill was climb 8 of 9 according to the Garmin, which I have to say was deeply wrong. I counted at least 4 if not 5 more climbs before our descent down to Amberley began!! From cocking hill, we continued along the South Downs Way all the way to Amberley, this is a part of the South Downs Way I love, as red kites circled above us, baby lambs jumped around in the fields and cows grazed happily as we rolled by the scenery made all the climbing worth it! With views out to the sea on one side and rolling hills on the other I thought how lucky we were to be able to call this our local riding spot.
After crossing the last busy road we dropped down a super descent into the village of Amberley, the valley was so different from the South Downs Way, flat and we followed the river Arun past reed beds and horses grazing.
Within the last 2 miles I decided to have a quick lay down in the grass, Emyr had told me about a step up onto the bridge but failed to mention the gate, as he stopped for the gate I just happened to be filming and couldn’t film, break and unclip at the same time. My foot decided it liked being in my pedal, refused to unclip sending both bike, phone and I to a soft landing in the grass just moments from the grasp of the River Arun. Which is the second fastest river in the UK (every day is a school day).
Cycling through the pretty village of Amberley to our Air BNB I was really impressed we had made it with 30 minutes to get ready before dinner at the Black Horse a pub I would recommend but maybe leave your toddlers at home!
Well done team what an epic day!