Yes, the event was MONTHS ago (17th of May to be precise) but you know how busy life gets!
We'd been keenly planning our attack on the South Cotswolds, getting the bike in fine running order, and had overcome the issue of 'how to get the bike ACTUALLY to Gloucester'...
As we pulled into the field where the event camping was held, we saw James' big red van, and headed over there and unpacked the tent.
The campsite was slowly filling up, and it was a great opportunity to run/ride around the field like an excited schoolboy and jump on other people's bike,..you know..for a laff.. (they were consenting! It was a great chance to try out some of the on-one fat bikes!)
The tandem was striking up some interest, and a few of the big bike bash chaps even had a little scoot around on it!
Come the morning it looked like it was going to be a scorcher of a day - the sun was out, and we all latherd up in the factor 30!
Every rider we passed, and every rider who passed us, gave a little complimentary cheer along the lines of "On a tandem? Nutters!".
After a few more miles the hills began to become a bit more 'obvious', and those that I'd have steamed up on the SS suddenly became a real 'sit down and pedal' challenge!
We were only 6 or so miles in, and I was already streaming with sweat and very grateful for the numerous water bottles, and the thicker rubber on the wheels!
Once we had got to the 'dividing point' it had felt like we'd ridden for 25 miles - to look at the GPS and realise we'd only covered 10 yet I was feeling like this, was 'concerning' to say the least..
We both filled up the water bottles and grabbed some much needed food, and made the decision to attempt the 75km route - it would have been the furthest Bex has ridden in years, but she seemed keen to "give it a go as we'd come this far"!
It's fair to say that none of the hills were too 'technical' to manage on the tandem, but the South Cotswolds is a rather hilly place, and we were both feeling the constant undulations in our legs (although, it did make for some awesome scenery photos!)
As such, we made the concious decision to divert from the route slightly, and head to a local pub for a much deserved chilled pop and fish+chips!
We were both knackered, but had enjoyed a strenuous, rewarding, and really well organised ride in a lovely part of the country! Yes we didn't manage the whole 75km but our total ride was a tad under 51km, and for a "pair of nutters on a tandem" we were both proud of each other!
Here's another shot of the bike - no punctures or mechanicals despite some serious abuse on some of the trails.
It's definitely an event that we would all be keen to do again - I'm not sure if Bex would be roped along again to ride as my stoker, but I've the best part of a year to allow her to forget it!
...Oh, and what's with the title "HOTS - A bicycle made for three..." all about? Well, it seemed we had a stowaway on board!! Exciting times eh!