Over the past few weeks I’ve traded some of my typical long canal runs for some runs on the Ridgeway and the Thames Path.
Initially I just wanted to to check out some of the route for this years Autumn 100 race, but after a couple of efforts on them it’s clear that the terrain is vastly different and I’ll be better spending more time on them as more effective training, rather than just more miles on the canal.
One of the routes was pretty good, so I thought I’d share them it here.
It was the western leg of the Autumn 100, which leaves Streatley and heads West on the Ridgeway for 12.5 miles (to the car park / layby on Chain Hill) before turning back. I left work one evening and drove to Streatley, parked the car up and headed off on the Ridgeway. It follows a (quiet) road for a couple of miles before turning into tracks/paths. At this time of year, with high hedges it’s difficult to see much for the first few miles, but when you get up onto the top of the Ridgeway it’s a lovely panoramic view. The route is well marked and brings you through enclosed lanes, tracks and wide grassy paths passing alongside horse gallops and eventually down under the A34, before heading up again to a car park at about 8.5 miles. I pushed on a bit from there, this stage being mostly undulating and a touch easier, to a small copse at the 10 mile point. I turned around there and headed back, racing the sun and hoping to finish before it disappeared below the horizon.
The route back was just as enjoyable, and actually a little faster. I especially loved the last couple of miles, downhill on a decent track, which let me open up the pace a little.
I arrived back in Streatley a bit after 10pm, just as the light was disappearing.
Overall, an excellent route, and very specific training for the Autumn 100 course. Highly recommended!!