Uptonogood mountain bike event 2014

Last year my son and I had a very wet ride at Uptonogood, our local mountain bike event. This year the event followed on from one of the hottest days of the year. The organisers bravely sent an email stating the weather gods were smiling on us.

You can guess what happened. Overnight we had the most spectacular thunderstorm I’ve seen in years accompanied by the type of torrential rain you only ever see in films. The previously dry ground turned into puddle fest.

uptonogood20147The rain had stopped by early morning but I did wonder whether the day had been jinxed as our son’s bike had sprung a puncture overnight. A quick tyre swap and we were ready to battle the puddles.

Our arrival at Uptonogood coincided with the departure of the 25 mile route riders. I’d loved to have taken a before and after photo because the next time we saw them they were all caked in mud.

The 25 milers set off
The 25 milers set off

We’d signed up for the 12 mile family ride. After registering we stopped to listen to some rousing tunes from the local brass band before lining up for the mass start at 10.30am. It’s not a timed race so we lingered at the back to avoid getting caught up in the scrum of handlebars and wheels.

Off to a rousing start with Blewbury Brass Band
Blewbury Brass Band

I was glad to see a lead vehicle holding up all the traffic on the main road for us to cross; it was rather enjoyable to ride down the middle of a usually busy road. Thereafter the family route was almost all off road, apart from a few short stretches on quiet lanes.

Just starting out
Just starting out

The first part of the course is an uphill stony track. There was a bit of a bottleneck with riders stopping for a breather and a few people wobbling into others. However, I was impressed by some of the youngest kids who pedalled all the way up.

A bit of a puddle
A bit of a puddle

Despite my worries the course wasn’t too wet. Some stretches were muddy, and there were large puddles to negotiate but I had expected worse. My son gained great pleasure from riding through the middle of them so he did end up with a wet and muddy back.

Time for a break
Time for a break

It took us a mile or two to thin out from everyone else. The course initially follows bridleways and a Sustrans route that we often ride along. After a while though it headed into new family cycling territory. This involved an uphill stretch at which point most family riders got off and walked. The fit 25 milers briefly joined us here and they all whizzed up the hill without a breather.

Downhill, the easy bit
Downhill, the easy bit

It wasn’t happy families the whole way round. Eldest daughter has an old heavy bike which meant she hard to work harder to keep up. This resulted in a bit of a strop, which was compounded when she somehow managed to fall off it too. I had to suppress an incredulous ‘how did you manage to fall off there’ comment, even though it was going through my head at the time!

Uphill, lots of walking
Uphill, lots of walking

My favourite part of the course was the stretch along the Ridgeway. It’s made from fast draining chalk so the ground was pretty dry and easy to cycle along. We passed several groups of teenagers who looked like they were undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh award, it always amazes me how heavy their rucksacks are. The views here were predominately rural apart from the landmarks of Didcot Power Station and the Diamond Light Source. We could see for miles!

Heading off the Ridgeway the rest of our route was fast and downhill. The clouds were becoming ever more ominous and a few heavy drops fell but we were only a mile from the finish at this point so it wasn’t too bad.

There was plenty of cheering from the onlookers as we cycled back into the village recreation ground. The kids got a certificate, badge and lollipop at the finish tent. Hats off to the organisers, from our perspective everything ran smoothly and I’m hoping all participants had a good ride.

So what was the best bit? I’m sorry but it wasn’t the ride. It was the cake afterwards! I sent the kids into the hall with £1 each and wondered why they took so long. Turns out they couldn’t make a decision between the sheer variety of baked goodies on offer. Fruit cake, brownies, flapjacks, cupcakes, lemon drizzle, how to choose from so many options?

Too many cakes to choose from.
Too many cakes to choose from.

We stayed a little longer as there was live music and a BBQ. I resisted the lure of a (third) visit to the cake stand but even now as I write this I’m wondering what cake I’d have gone for……

More info:

  • Uptonogood is a mountain bike event that takes place in Upton, Oxfordshire each June. It’s a family friendly day out with 5 and 12 mile rides for the kids and 25 or 45 mile rides for the more serious adult cyclists. Keep an eye on their website for details of next years event.

25 thoughts on “Uptonogood mountain bike event 2014”

  1. Sounds like a good fun event. Not sure I’d have been able to do 12 miles, but am looking forward to future getting out on the bike with N.

  2. Great family bike ride. It sounds like a wonderful event to get everyone together, despite one of you falling off 😉
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  3. This sounds like fun – well i can’t ride a bike so not something I could do myself but am in awe of people who do! Its refreshing to hear there was a strop in there! My 6 year old has just gone stabiliser-free and there were multiple strops whilst she was doing that! And nice looking cakes too!xx #MMWBH

    1. Thanks Lindsey, my daughter is 5 years older than your daughter so should know better. I blame hormones setting in.

  4. A lovely account of what turned out to be a successful day! Our family did something similar in our little corner of Aberdeenshire last year, although we were (amazingly) blessed with good weather. Must suggest cake at the end to our own local organisers 😉 #PoCoLo

    1. Thanks Clare. Cake is a great motivator! I didn’t mention it in the post but we also had some of the way round too…..

  5. Sounds like fun-my daughter might have had the odd ‘moment’ too if it involved a lot of hills! We’ve just been to Lanhydrock cycle trains and really enjoyed them-I might check this out for next year as we could manage it I think if my youngest is riding by then.

    1. Yes some of the puddles were huge. I always faffed around trying to go round the side and not get wet.

  6. I love the event name and what a wonderful family adventure for you all. Well done to your children for completing and you all definitely earned some of those delicious looking cakes. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

  7. What a really fun event to be a part of! And whats a little mud! Personally I think mud makes things fun! lol! Those cakes look like a great reward for completing the course too. Well done to you all!! Thanks so much for linking up with #MMWBH xx

    1. Thank you. There was a real family feel to the event which was great, and yes, the cakes were a big incentive.

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