Day 1 - Toast, Coast and Monuments
The day got off to a classic VCGH start with our pathfinder squadron arriving at the Hotel in time for a late breakfast. The second wave arrived to find the fire alarm sounding courtesy of an episode involving Heinz and a Toaster. As we enjoyed a pre-ride coffee
We enjoyed a lumpy 48k ride to the Hive Beach café near Burton Bradstock for lunch before a ride along the coast towards Portland and then over the downs past the Hardy Monument. A short obligatory off-road section popped up (well you can't get it right all the time) before we climbed over the downs to Cerne where all but a few managed to miss the aroused Giant carved in the hill.
Day 2 - Cows and the Dorset Nymph
Saturday dawned under cloudy skies. We entered the breakfast room with the Hotel staff clearly adopting a man-marking strategy around the buffet area to head-off any further bread-fuelled arson attempts. We headed out East with a nice tail wind over Bulbarrow (the highest point in Dorset) then down onto the flat roads near Bovington before arriving in Swanage for lunch. Paul J sniffed out a good café (you can't have too much tea you know) and we then headed Westwards along the coast. As we crested the ridge at Lulworth the weather cleared to give us clear sunshine for the route back. We stopped for coffee at the excellent Moreton Tea Rooms before riding back (again not spotting the Cerne Giant) via 3 fairly epic ridge climbs. As with Day 1 the route did include a short off-road section and for those that braved it I gather that the Cows found them very interesting.
Dinner in the nearby Fox and Hounds was a lively affair capped off by our meeting with a fabulous local (I think we imagine she was probably fabulous in about 1955) who made valiant efforts to be-friend us convinced that we were clearly a long way from home and longing for some female company. A rare chance to meet men with support stockings perhaps!
Day 3 - Lyme Bay
Sunday brought unbroken sunshine as we headed out to Lyme Regis through the back lanes almost totally avoiding traffic before some tough climbing and then the drop down into the town. We basked in the sun over coffee and cakes before tackling the long drag back out of town before meandering back across country to the hotel - Heinz, Paul H and Alastair tackling the brutal climb out of Beaminster while the rest of us took a slightly easier route with many macho attempts to outpace Marco to the top of the last few hills.
Summary of what seemed to work well;
Things to improve